What I Learned From Samantha Irby by It's All True's Tim Barnes

It's All True is an excellent podcast hosted by Chicago-based writer and comedian Tim Barnes. The show is produced by local comedy news site The Whiskey Journal and is now an officially sanctioned WBEZ podcast. Each week, Tim will be checking in with his thoughts on his most recent show. This week's guest was Chicago-based author Samantha Irby. Here's what Tim learned from his talk with Samantha!

Samantha Irby was one of those names and faces that I’d keep seeing in articles and suggested events in the RedEye. She hosts the popular storytelling event Guts and Glory with Keith Ecker, and writes her blog bitches gotta eat. which is immensely hilarious and has a large following.

I was astounded by how genuine and open Samantha was during the interview, which prompted me to deem her the “Louis C.K. of the blog world.” When I asked her what made her blog so popular, she said:

“I think it’s because I am so honest about things that are hard to be honest about.”

In her work she describes sweating through her clothes, wearing a diaper because of crohn’s disease and number weird social situations either observed or experienced.

Last year Samantha published a collection of essays in a book titled MEATY. “I did not get the ticker tape parade I expected,” she admits. “My life has change not at all. I still have to work 50 hour a week at my same real job.”

I always forget that many of the most talented artists in this city have day jobs. Sometimes horrible day jobs. I tried to point out that this artistic dilemma is a lot like the dilemma of a superhero.

When I really think about that comparison it doesn’t add up. Superman has a pretty decent day job. Same with Batman. At least Peter Parker was pursuing his passion for photography for money. You never see a superhero working at a Dunkin’ Donuts by day and defeating galactic villains by night.

In the comedy scene alone I forget that the night hawks hopping from one open mic to another ‘til 2a.m. have to go to work in the morning.

It’s a grind.

When faced with a $15,000 dental bill, a friend of hers made a GoFundMe account so that her fans could pitch in. And they did.

“In 4 days they raised $16,000…it’s incredible.”

It doesn’t happen for everybody, but if you do it right, the art pays off.

-Tim Barnes