- Beth Delany
Q&A with: Jessie Jolles
Comedian Jessie Jolles is pushing boundaries and paving the way for women in (viral) media. A writer and director for Betches Media, the New York native creates epically funny sketches for the femme-essential brand -- from videos like "If Your Mom Was an Influencer"to "If "Job Interviews Were Honest."
Jolles's quick wit and hilariously candid approach to everyday conundrums that everyday women face made for a perfect match for the YouTube channel, Just for Laughs. Usually drawing in a Millennial male demographic, the comedy conglomerate took a chance on Jolles and launched the "It's a Date!" series (season two coming soon), where the host thoughtfully tackles once-taboo topics like women transitioning into their 30s and the dangers of online dating -- all in good humor of course. And even with an approach that pushes boundaries and transcends gender, Jolles has surprisingly struggled to capture the positive feedback of JFL's male audience.
As she powers through the haters -- as many influencers learn to do -- Jolles is busy curating viral content, sharing the stand-up stage alongside some Real Housewives and popping in to co-host podcasts and radio shows like Betches' Diet Starts Tomorrow and the Taylor Strecker Show.
Here, she chats with me about her career so far and the type of love story she's really shooting for.
How is it hosting your own series"Just for Laughs" YouTube versus your role with Betches on Instagram? It’s been going great. A lot of women have been able to connect with [It's a Date!]. I always find that if I'm getting negative comments, that just means I'm reaching a bigger audience and making them feel a certain way. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. [With] Betches, people know what they’re getting when they come. The videos hit the mark and everyone's very supportive. Just For Laughs took a chance and thought [I] was funny. YouTube is different than Instagram [and] the comments are more aggressive.
You seem to approach the negative comments pragmatically, but how do you personally take it? At first, I would say not great. I was really upset. I’m a sensitive soul. I pretend to have a very hard shell. I don’t even pretend actually. I think I’m sensitive but I would also get messages from women or women who share it [who] really like it. Ultimately, I made the series for them. I need to not care what the guys think and I also think it’s important that I'm making things that are causing a discussion. Whether that means some people are upset about it -- that's okay with me. It’s not my job to educate [men], make them laugh and change their opinion all under three minutes. That’s pretty difficult.
How do you intimately relate to your followers and live audiences? My sort of humor is very much being vulnerable. The JFL series is a form of that too. It’s very honest, all based on truth and very self-deprecating, which is very much me. I love to have a microphone in my hand and I love to have a live audience [where] feel their energy. A lot of times, I’ll change my train of thought and follow what the audience wants or what they're responding to.
You're just getting started. What have you learned about yourself so far? I’ve learned that my biggest truth and goal is to fully love myself and find the love for myself in my comedy. But then [also] being open and transparent about the struggles that go along with it. I have a feeling my greatest love story will be with myself, because it’s been quite a voyage already. The more open I am about [being single], the more people can relate to it. I would love to be someone people go to to laugh and to feel not alone in certain issues and also feel like theyre getting a real person who isn’t pretending that everything is perfect all the time.
Do you want your fans to learn to love themselves too? Yes! Oh my god, that would be my dream!