Nancy Giles Returns

Nancy Giles Returns

A return appearance for the wonderfully refreshing, no-holds barred actress/voice-over artist/commentator Nancy Giles…who, since 2002 has been sharing her views, comedic and cutting, on CBS Sunday Morning. Sit back and enjoy another fascinating, provocative, and entertaining conversation with the irrepressible Nancy Giles.

Transcript

Sandi:                       Welcome to another edition of Conversations with Creative Women. I’m Sandi Klein. You, know, it was just over a year ago, that Nancy Giles agreed to join me for a conversation and I couldn’t be more excited and honored to welcome her back today. I relate too, appreciate, and respect her take on life. How she thinks, what irks and drives her crazy. What’s wrong with the status quo? Nancy’s not afraid to tackle any topic.

                                 Since 2002, she’s been sharing her views, comedic and cutting, on CBS Sunday Morning. It may be 2015, but she remains the only black female commentator on Network TV paid to do so. For her efforts, Nancy won an Emmy and a pair of Gracie Awards. She doesn’t confine her opinions to just one network. Nancy’s a frequent guest on MSNBC, The Melissa Harris Perry Show, Hardball with Chris Mathews, All In with Chris Hays, and UP with Steve Kornacki. Nancy a ubiquitous voiceover artist began her career as an actress with the famed Second City Comedy Troup. She toured for three years. She won a theatre world award for Mayor, the musical off Broadway. Wrote and performed several solo pieces including Black Comedy: The Whacky Side of Racism. She was part of the casts of China Beach and Delta, Both shows on ABC TV, appeared in a bunch of movies including Working Girl, Big, and New York Stories and on radio, was the sidekick on the Jay Thomas Morning Show.

Nancy, it’s so good to have you back.

Nancy:                      Thank you.

Sandi:                       I bet you have a lot on your mind, so what’s on your mind?

Nancy:                      Today?

Sandi:                       Yea. In general.

Nancy:                      Right now, it’s just, like a media journalism frenzy with Brian Williams exit. The sad death of Bob Simon who was such a wonderful reporter on 60 Minutes. John Stewart leaving The Daily Show. It’s an interesting confluence of events.

Sandi:                       So what do you think about it all.

Nancy:                      I’m really sad about Bob Simon’s death. I just watched him do this incredible interview with Ava DuVernay who was not nominated for an Oscar as she should have been, or a Director’s Guild Award for Selma. African American director who was so poised and so funny and thoughtful in this interview with Bob Simon. It was great. He’s done so much, he was almost a fifty year journalist.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      He was only seventy-three, so he was somebody that started really pretty young.

Sandi:                       The refreshing part of that is that he was still working.

Nancy:                      And still working.

Sandi:                       I don’t mean to go this way.

Nancy:                      No, he shouldn’t.

Sandi:                       If he was a seventy-three year old woman would he still be working?

Nancy:                      I know.

Sandi:                       I know.

Nancy:                      Sandi, you’re absolutely right. I tell you, the double standard is just not fair because I. We, as women, as human beings, we have so much more to offer the older we get. So much more thoughtful perspective to add to any kind of news story. Or acting, or any kind of art. It’s really disheartening to see, especially how women just get marginalized and feel like they have to Botox or tighten their faces or dye their hair or try to look a certain indeterminate age to stay a player in the game. I just saw the Matisse Cut-Outs.

Sandi:                       At the Museum of Modern Art.

Nancy:                      I was so stunned by what I saw, and he started doing these, I think he was in his eighties when he started doing these cut-outs.

Sandi:                       Cut-Outs.

Nancy:                      A lot of the other artists put him down. That’s not painting, that’s just crap, that’s so and so. These were amazing, amazing pieces of art. Again, he started this segment of his artistic career when he was eighty. Hey, women, we have a lot to offer at age, fifty.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      Sixty, seventy. Even beyond.

Sandi:                       Doesn’t this sort of blow your mind? It’s 2015 and we’re still talking about it.

Nancy:                      Yea.

Sandi:                       I don’t mean let’s stop talking about it.

Nancy:                      No.

Sandi:                       Go back to Selma. Why wasn’t she nominated? Is this truly our cross to bear? Is this just the way it’s going to be?

Nancy:                      Oh wow.

Sandi:                       Till we leave these mortal coils?

Nancy:                      I think that one question is going to take us through the entire segment.

Sandi:                       Go for it.

Nancy:                      A couple things. There’s a woman, a black woman named Ruth Simmons. She

Sandi:                       President of Brown

Nancy:                      Brown.

Sandi:                       Can I interrupt

Nancy:                      Yes

Sandi:                       Tell you how I know this. Because when my older son graduated Washington University in St. Louis in 2002, she was the

Nancy:                      Commencement speaker.

Sandi:                       The commencement speaker.

Nancy:                      Was she a good speaker?

Sandi:                       From what I can remember.

Nancy:                      I saw her on Charlie Rose and on a couple other things and then I was on a panel with her and got a chance to basically stare and fawn at her. I felt, like, why am I on this panel.

Sandi:                       Hmm

Nancy:                      I’m never going to get this right, but she said something along the line of these big struggles with civil rights and gender rights and what not. It’s not something to be achieved, like we’re going to be over them. She said that the struggle itself and the continued work on it is something to just deal with. There’s an art and a beauty to that. I’m not getting it right, but it was very encouraging whatever it was. I think I lowered my dosage on whatever antidepressant I was on.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] Meaning, but does that also

Nancy:                      It’s not going to be over. I think we’re also going to haggle with it.

Sandi:                       This is, is it?

Nancy:                      This is the cross we bear, however, I didn’t think I would live to see a black president. I certainly didn’t. As I get older, it’s funny about race and gender. They’re both very tough, but in some ways, I think the gender struggle is, see I’m a black woman to I can’t really separate the two, but I think the gender struggle is pretty intense. I think when you look at, let’s just say, for Ava DuVernay

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      The make-up of the motion picture academy, it’s mostly older white guys.

Sandi:                       Right.

Nancy:                      Which is just, what gets me is how in art, so many of the decisions and so much of the measuring and critical notice is done by older white guys. There’re are not enough women critics, there are not enough critics of color. I mean, when you look at some of the ten bests lists and things like that and the kind of art and the kind of books that are considered the best. It, these are things being decided by a small pool of mostly men.

Sandi:                       Right

Nancy:                      That mostly look the same.

Sandi:                       Maybe it’s just one person. One guy.

Nancy:                      Wouldn’t that be amazing. Wouldn’t that be horrifying?

Sandi:                       He must be exhausted.

Nancy:                      If it had just been Brantley for instance. Who I met once in the green room of some show and I went right up to him said I thought that your review of Scottsboro Boys Stunk and blah, blah, blah. I just kind of went off.

Sandi:                       What did he do? Smack you?

Nancy:                      No, he just kind of backed off.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      I was taller than him.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      Mostly when I yell spit comes out. So that’s not good.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] So at least he got soaked.

Nancy:                      But, there’s a big problem with the gender and the racial make-up of a lot of decisions that are made. With regard to culture, in fact, I wasn’t really that surprised at those nasty emails that what’s-her-name who just fired, well, she wasn’t really fired from Sony.

Sandi:                       Oh, you mean from Sony.

Nancy:                      Yea.

Sandi:                       Amy Pascal

Nancy:                      Amy Pascal

Sandi:                       Oh, good for me.

Nancy:                      and disgusting Scott Rudin

Sandi:                       Right.

Nancy:                      Who strangely enough I was also at an off-Broadway show years ago and I knew who he was because he had a lot of articles about him. He sat next to me, and was on his cellphone for the entire first half of the show and then left. I’m shooting him looks going shh, shh

Sandi:                       Yea.

Nancy:                      Just a

Sandi:                       He was because he could.

Nancy:                      Yea. To see emails that they exchanged, and yes, I’ve said ratty things on emails, I have. But, to be that glib and “I guess the president probably likes the Tyler Perry movies

Sandi:                       Right. Right.

Nancy:                      They were two like high school

Sandi:

Nancy:                      Then to see that kind of mentally and then take a little look at the movies that they green lit and

Sandi:                       Yes.

Nancy:                      And the kind of things that probably get passed up. I’m looking at that series of emails and thinking, boy a black filmmaker that has something that that maybe is out of the box, they don’t stand a chance with these two bozos. There’s all this brouhaha about the interview. When I finally saw some of it, I just thought this is really stupid.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      Although the guy who played Kim Jong-Il is an actor that I know, and I was so happy for him. Aside from that though, what a dopey movie.

Sandi:                       Right. Right. It wasn’t even worth it all, right.

Nancy:                      No.

Sandi:                       I want to go back to this. I don’t know what to do, as I’m in sort of this second half of my life, it’s this sort of derigueur. I hate this cliché, but I guess it applies. It is what it is.

Nancy:                      I know, I hate that one too. Do you know another one I hate? It’s all good. No it’s not.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      A lot of it stinks.

Sandi:                       You’re right.

Nancy:                      Don’t say that.

Sandi:                       That’s exactly right.

Nancy:                      It’s not fair. I mean, that’s, I would go with that as opposed to it is what it is because I think that’s why I’ve been in therapy for more than half of my life. Because I’m like, it’s not fair! Of course, why am I in entertainment where it really isn’t fair? Where Kim Kardashian can basically take her pants off and have more pull when it comes to attention and notoriety or what not than someone with great talent. Someone doing something that’s really important. Like what you’re doing. Like what we’re doing right here. If it was Kim Kardashian talks to women who pull their pants down, that would be like a show on Sirius or something.

Sandi:                       Uhhh

Nancy:                      It’ll probably have its own network.

Sandi:                       Oh, God.

Nancy:                      I’m sorry.

Sandi:                       No, no. I feel the frustration.

Nancy:                      It’s so frustrating.

Sandi:                       Exactly. But, do you sort of straddle both sides of the fence in a way?

Nancy:                      That’s funny. That we’re just talking about Kim Kardashian and you use the word straddling.

Sandi:                       And straddling. Yea, well.

Nancy:                      What sides of the fence do you mean? Do you mean?

Sandi:                       You’re

Nancy:                      Do you mean acting and other stuff?

Sandi:                       Yes. You’re a force to be reckoned with.

Nancy:                      You’re so

Sandi:                       It’s not that I’ve come to praises, it’s true. You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re talented. You’ve done a lot of things. Now, maybe in your, when you’re lying in bed at night, you might think. I don’t know, we’re all sometimes our own worst enemies.

Nancy:                      I know, that’s true. I know that a lot of what my motor was when I was early, a lot of what pushed me was [Laughing] anger and revenge.

Sandi:                       Aint nothing wrong with that combo.

Nancy:                      [Laughing] I know. I went to a group in Queens. I went to public schools. I went to Jamaica High School. My graduating class had 1107 kids in it. I remember graduation day, nudging my two friends Roselyn and Violet going where was he? I never saw him? Where were they?

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      I was also kind of shy, funny with my little group.

Sandi:                       Right.

Nancy:                      But, couldn’t get in school plays and was in the pit orchestra of Anything Goes. I can remember looking at the actors and kind of sawing away at my veal. Like AGGRR, I hate you. I know that there was a little bit of a motive there that made me determined when I went to college to be known and sort of act. Even though I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Sandi:                       You wanted notoriety? That’s what I wanted. I didn’t have the look. You were going to get to know my based on my mouth.

Nancy:                      That’s why it’s radio. You’re looks are, we have the same kind of looks. Let’s just both be good to each other. Okay, we look great. We look fine, but I was not one of the kids that was tap dancing on the top of a table when I was young.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      Wanted to be an actor, or anything like that.

Sandi:                       Just knew you were destined for something other than being

Nancy:                      I wanted to communicate in some ways.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      I knew I wanted to

Sandi:                       That you had something to say.

Nancy:                      I wanted to write a book. I had dreams about that. I think the first time I was able to sort of connect what I thought I wanted to do with how to do it, was when I saw a touring company from Second City that came to Overland. I remember. This is very telling. There was a group of either four of five guys and two women. I remember afterwards thinking I don’t remember anything the women did. I’m just as good as they. Well, I didn’t realize that part of why I didn’t remember the women was because they were outnumbered by the guys. They didn’t get that much to say, but I sort of thought, in improve I could find something. Even though I didn’t go as far as I would have liked to at Second City, that really opened the door to me to want to in some way communicate and do it in a funny way. I love laughs and the audience and stuff.

Sandi:                       So, you believed in yourself. As opposed to

Nancy:                      Yes.

Sandi:                       Putting yourself down.

Nancy:                      Yea.

Sandi:                       Because if you just fantasized about.

Nancy:                      Well, but it was a combination. There’s always that, well I can’t say always, but I think the insecurity that’s there and the doubt also helps in a weird way, I can. Can I? I can.

Sandi:                       Yea.

Nancy:                      There is kind of a ying and yang to it.

Sandi:                       If you’re just joining us my guest today is repeat offender Nancy Giles. [Laughing]

Nancy:                      [Laughing] Proud

Sandi:                       Who has been sharing you views on CBS Sunday Morning since 2002. She’s a ubiquitous, as I said earlier, voice over artist and an actress. And, a woman who has a lot to say.

Nancy:                      I don’t even feel like we finished the first thing about gender. Because, I

Sandi:                       Go. Go.

Nancy:                      No, I’m just realizing, it’s not fair and it’s really hard and there should be more opportunities for women as we get older and have so much more to say and so much more to reflect on. I mean, you know, I did a solo. I think I did my first solo show when I was like thirty five or something like that. I thought, I’ve lived, I’ve got all this to say. I can remember a few years before, I think Leann Rimes, who I think at that point might have been sixteen, she had an autobiography.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      I remember yucking it up like Leann Rimes, so far. I am like what?

Sandi:                       Right at sixteen, right.

Nancy:                      It was as stupid as Christina Aguilera singing “At Last” at eighteen.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      Huh? But, I’m doing this solo show thinking I’ve lived, I’ve done some things. When I look back, both my parents were still alive. I still thought I was going to meet somebody and have kids and what not. Somewhere between the first and second solo show, I saw Elaine Stritch

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      At Liberty. And Beatrice Arthur also had a solo show. They were both in their eighties or maybe Elaine Stritch was just eighty or so. I thought, okay. I don’t need to do solo shows for another thirty years.

Sandi:                       Yea. I’m safe.

Nancy:                      These are people who have stuff to say.

Sandi:                       But they’re anomalies.

Nancy:                      Yea. But, it’s funny. I think now, if I wanted to act now, I think I’d be so much better than I was when I was on China Beach. I’d have so much more to bring to certain things. The parts are, I don’t really even care about the acting as much anymore. I really like this communicating better because just on an ego level, it means so much more to me if someone says I like how you think.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      Than I like how you interpreted that part where you were a police officer.

Sandi:                       That’s a really good point because you’ve got a lot to say. Which is very different than performing in a script. In performing a script, I mean. Based on your commentaries, you had a radio show there in Moriarty.

Nancy:                      Oh. Yes.

Sandi:                       All these others. You’ve got a different kind of platform.

Nancy:                      It was completely accidental. Again, I think a lot of it started with Second City. With the idea that improvisation in its way, was writing. I never, I always thought, I feel like I said this to you before, but I always had this concept of writing looked like. It went something like this. Jane Fonda playing Lillian Hellman in the movie Julia. Where she’s chain-smoking and typing on a typewriter.

Sandi:                       Right.

Nancy:                      Dragging on a cigarette and then walking along with Jason Robards as Dashiell Hammett

Sandi:                       Hammett. Yea.

Nancy:                      They’re like walking on the beach and then she’s in a phone booth calling and going “Dash, I just wrote a play, I think going to call it the Little Foxes.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      [Laughing] That’s what I thought writing was.

Sandi:                       Right. Right.

Nancy:                      Not realizing that getting up on stage and sort of having an idea and working it out with a partner or just lathering and taping it and transcribing it was writing. I am so grateful that I had that experience because it was the frustration of not getting some of the acting work that I wanted. This was post China Beach mostly because I was really lucky with that. It was that frustration that made me get up on stage and start talking through things. Working on the radio show with Jay, one of the jobs I had was this thing called Nancy Sings the News. Made me go through the newspapers to find news headlines.

Sandi:                       Did you come up with that?

Nancy:                      Well, my friend Mike Brawn, who was the producer of the show and I and Kandi Roth, who did traffic and weather sometimes.

Sandi:                       I worked with Kandi Roth a million years.

Nancy:                      She sang back up.

Sandi:                       In those days it was

Nancy:                      Those were like salad days.

Sandi:                       Kandi, Sandi, and Randy.

Nancy:                      Oh my gosh!

Sandi:                       He was the DJ, I did the news and she was the traffic person,

Nancy:                      Oh, that’s so funny.

Sandi:                       But anyway.

Nancy:                      But anyway, because I had to read newspapers that got me a little more aware of aware of what was going on in the world.

Sandi:                       Sure, sure.

Nancy:                      Then, one thing led to another and I started doing comedy with the hippie friends of mine who were really political. I was realizing, especially during the Bush administration, no offense, but there was comedy every time you opened up the newspaper.

Sandi:                       Duh. Um Hmm. You had your work cut out for you.

Nancy:                      Yea. So, that kind of snowballed into Aaron Moriarty happening to be in the audience of this group of comedian friends of mine. We had a show called Boomer Humor I think. She liked what she saw and called me a year later. We started working on the radio and she was friends with the exec producer of Sunday Morning.

Sandi:                       Is that how you got the gig?

Nancy:                      Yes. I loved Sunday Morning. It was my mother’s favorite show, but when Aaron said, I think you could stuff on the show. I was like, like what? I had no idea what she meant. The show sent me a VHS of commentaries and I watched them. I thought, I’m not smart enough to do that. It was like Calvin Trillin.

Sandi:                       Sure. Sure.

Nancy:                      It was very ariadite. Dry, type of stuff. I couldn’t even conceptualize what I could do, but I had an idea that I pitched to Ran Morrison, is the executive producer. I said, I’ve had this idea that high heels are a conspiracy against women.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      Thank you for laughing. You know how hard it is to try to explain why something’s funny to somebody who’s just, not that Ran’s not funny, but to talk about what’s funny is not funny. It like sucks the air out of the room.

Sandi:                       Sure, and if you just don’t get it.

Nancy:                      So, I’m saying this and he’s just kind of nodding and thinking. I’m thinking, I’m dying here. I said, well, okay, it was great to meet you. Then went away. Three months later they said, I got a call saying, yeah. You’re on the docket for this thing about high heels for this week. I was like, [screaming]

Sandi:                       Are you kidding? Just out of nowhere?

Nancy:                      I sat at the computer and was `[00:18:01 ] then lost a whole document, then found, `[00:18:03 ] . Then, just went in and they gave me some cuts, I just emailed stuff in, I couldn’t think of the word email. Then I went in and taped it and it went over really, really well and the rest is kind of history.

Sandi:                       But, you come up with your own topics.

Nancy:                      It’s, it goes both ways. I’ll come up with an idea, or they’ll come up with an idea and say what do you think about it. When I first started on the show, after I’d done my first piece which went well. I believe they called and said what do you think about topic x. I can’t remember what it was. At the time, I didn’t really have much to think about. So, I said, well, not much. Then their like, okay, bye. Then, a week later I realized, wait a minute. You have to, yes. Yes. Anything about anything. I had some ideas about wealthy politicians. How if they’re elected they should write checks and help their constituents.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] Or shouldn’t take a salary.

Nancy:                     Yea. I was. I love to resent them. That’s a lot of the stuff. You know the cast of Friends making 32 million dollars their last year. All kinds of things. Fox News and

Sandi:                       You never run out of material.

Nancy:                      I Know. I know. Then sometimes they would, they had some great ones. Hilary Clinton’s first book came out and they said what do you think of that. I was like, Oh, okay. Wrote a piece about that. Most recently, I’ve branched out from just doing commentaries to sometimes doing feature pieces. I’ve got a piece coming up about mattresses. I don’t know if you’re aware that there is a mattress, a bed that is $108,000 that exists in the world here in New York.

Sandi:                       Because? Because why?

Nancy:                      You tell me.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      I had no idea. I’m not going to, I laid on it, I’m like, and. Because some people can spend that kind of money.

Sandi:                       Exactly. Exactly.

Nancy:                      Greed’s another thing that’s on my mind. Anyway, the ideas come back and forth and I very rarely been flat out rejected.

Sandi:                       From them.

Nancy:                      Yes.

Sandi:                       We hate this.

Nancy:                      Very rarely. They don’t hate it. Sometimes it’s

Sandi:                       They don’t get it.

Nancy:                      No, sometimes it can be a little too, not Sunday morning. Yea, we can’t really find an angle on talking about the former education secretary William Bennett saying that if you abort black children there’ll be less crime.

Sandi:                       Ah Ha. Yea, I remember that.

Nancy:                      We can’t figure out how that’s going to work. I was, I guess I understand. What’s nice now, is they have an online presence. If a topic might not quite, quite, quite work on air, I can put it online, which I love. I’m happy about that.

Sandi:                       You can do as many as you want?

Nancy:                      No, I’m contracted to a certain amount.

Sandi;                       Okay.

Nancy:                      If they want more, if they ask for more, I’ll get paid for more, which is nice.

Sandi:                       If you’re just joining us, my guest today is Nancy Giles. Voiceover artist, actress and commentator since 2002 on CBS Sunday Morning. So, go back to the fact that it’s 2015 and you are still the only

Nancy:                      Well, I’m proud of that. I mean, I won’t lie. If there was some other chick

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      that was like the black network opinion person, I’d be a little sad. Because I like being it.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      [Laughing] I like being the only one. It just hasn’t translated into bucks or something.

Sandi:                       Yes. Yes. Right.

Nancy:                      Notoriety. I’m pitching myself for stories with that angle and nothing seems to have worked so far. However, on cable, we’ve got Melissa Harris Perry who’s got a show. Joy Reed. Wonderful, wonderful thoughtful women that are, either lead their own shows or are contributors or what not.

Sandi:                       Would you like your own show?

Nancy:                      Oh! Hell, yeah. Oh. Yeah.

Sandi:                       So, why haven’t you? Why don’t you have one?

Nancy:                      I’m working on it.

Sandi:                       Oh!

Nancy:                      I’m working on it. That’s all I can say, is I’m working on it.

Sandi:                       Oh.

Nancy:                      I have a producing partner and we’re working on different angles. Yeah, I would love it.

Sandi:                       To have a political show?

Nancy:                      It would be like what we’re doing. To be talking about,

Sandi:                       Whatever.

Nancy:                      The perfect combination I think would be smart women, and maybe live phone calls

Sandi:                       Mm

Nancy:                      Guests and talk and stream of consciousness stuff. Also, maybe, like, I can’t decide if it would be radio or TV or both. I also love the idea of getting a strange string of songs and just getting dedications.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      Real dedications. You know what hated when I was on radio, was I didn’t realize how much of it was preprogramed. They focus group test all these songs and decide what’s going to be played. I was stunned by that.

Sandi:                       Sad.

Nancy:                      I couldn’t believe it. Yea.

Sandi:                       I want to go back to this about a women’s show.

Nancy:                      Because we have so much to offer.

Sandi:                       That’s my point.

Nancy:                      It’s not against men, I love men.

Sandi:                       Why is that?

Nancy:                      Men are fabulous.

Sandi:                       Now, how would men. Yea, okay, fine. I’m married to a man, but the fact is

Nancy:                      They get so big, they have hogged the airways. It’s the same kind of blithering and then the women who sometimes get a chance to be on air. Uhhh.

Sandi:                       Snore. Or diabetes producing.

Nancy:                      Yea. I know.

Sandi:                       Here’s the thing that I don’t understand about this. We’re fifty one percent of the population. Here comes this play and I spit this stuff out. Why do I feel so disenfranchised? I have.

Nancy:                      Because you are.

Sandi:                       I have disposable income.

Nancy:                      I don’t get it.

Sandi:                       I can buy a car. I can go on a plane.

Nancy:                      I know.

Sandi:                       I don’t exist. I can’t stand it.

Nancy:                      Sandi, I know. I don’t get it. I feel, I mean, I’m a larger size than I’d like to be. I’m wearing size 16 pants. That’s true, 1 6, but I think it’s 65% of American women are a size 14 and above.

Sandi:                       Um Hmm

Nancy:                      Even with that statistic. I was working on the radio show with Erin and I did an interview with Cynthia Rowley.

Sandi:                       Sure.

Nancy:                      Who is one of the snottiest people I spoke to ever; I said to her, there are a lot of women who like your designs but your clothing line stops at a 12. She couldn’t have gotten snottier about how well, if we go larger than that, it’s a whole different pattern. We’d have to redraw the…

Sandi:                       Huh.

Nancy:                      I said, I’m not talking about throwing something over a piano,

Sandi:                       [Laughing] Jeez

Nancy:                      I’m talking about clothing. I gave her the same statistic and I said, what size are you? She was very coy, well I’m one digit. I said, well, what size is it? Well, it’s the same size I was in high school. Well, what size is it? I said, I’m a 14, what are you? She said, Well, I’m a zero. I said, on the radio, I said, I’m sorry, I don’t believe, you can’t be the same size as you were in high school because zero didn’t exist then. But, it was so snotty. We recognize that there’s a huge audience. A huge pool of money we could be making, and we don’t want it.

Sandi:                       That’s why there a sisterhood.

Nancy:                      It’s dopey to think there’s the women’s community and it’s all one thing. As it is to say, I remember I was at an affiliate lunch at CBS, I was the only black person at the table. These guys, once they got comfortable, started saying all kinds of stuff that was like, whoa.

Sandi:                       Shhhh

Nancy:                      Throwing me questions like why is it the blacks don’t support Clarence Thomas and stuff. The blacks. Oh yea, yea, yea. I said to this one guy. What makes you think that there is one way of thinking in the black community?

Sandi:                       Right.

Nancy:                      I said, let me say three words to you and see what you think. The white community. What do you think? It got deathly silent.

Sandi:                       Hmm

Nancy:                      These guys were like, [whoo]. We’re not, even though we’re all women, even though we’re all of one color. There’s not going to be, I wish there were.

Sandi:                       I don’t believe there should be a universal

Nancy:                      but in some ways, you wish that we could close ranks and all agree that [fill in the blank]. On my end, I just tried to find like-minded people and do the kind of projects that I want. Try to get in there where I can. Yea, I know. There is a sisterhood, but I think you have to look at it in a more strategic way. I don’t know.

Sandi:                       I have to tell you, that most of the time that I interview people, women for this show, who I don’t know.

Nancy;                      Uh Huh

Sandi:                       I’m very flattered, and I’m not being self-effacing that they say yes. They don’t know me from a hole in the wall.

Nancy:                      How can they not know you?

Sandi:                       Well, but, no, listen.

Nancy:                      Okay

Sandi:                       So, somebody comes in and there’s a little kind of nervousness in the beginning and then when they see, and I’m not patting myself on the back, but when I don’t have an axe to grind. I interview you because I want to know about you.

Nancy:                      Wait a minute. What’s the nervousness about? Are they nervous that it’s going to be a feminist show?

Sandi:                       No, I mean

Nancy:                      Are they nervous about being on radio or what?

Sandi:                       Maybe I have an agenda. Maybe I

Nancy:                      What’s wrong with having an agenda? What’s the definition of agenda? I wonder to these people.

Sandi:                       It’s not that I want to ask you, what went on in Benghazi, Hilary? I just want to know, how did you get to where you are?

Nancy:                      I know, that’s interesting.

Sandi:                       The joy of this show is that women are so fabulous.

Nancy:                      I know.

Sandi:                       Almost to a person, I’ve really liked who I’ve met.

Nancy:                      What about the ones you don’t like?

Sandi:                       Oh, well, I’ll talk to you later.

Nancy:                      Okay. [Laughing]

Sandi:                       That’s just been so wonderful. That’s not the sisterhood BS that I’m talking about, it’s too broad a topic.

Nancy:                      I know. With interesting stories about work and relationships and

Sandi:                       and life.

Nancy:                      I’m not a parent. I could talk about all that. About not having kids and the kind of people say and the assumptions and blah, blah, blah.

Sandi:                       Right.

Nancy:                      There’s so much really rich stuff to be discussed and I cannot understand why something as good as this isn’t on free radio where you can turn it on and be listening to it while you drive. I don’t know why time after time, I’ve got to hear these guys blowing off steam about crap.

Sandi:                       Uhhh

Nancy:                      I don’t want to hear Rush.

Sandi:                       It’s just that there’s room for everybody.

Nancy:                      I don’t want to hear Geraldo. What I hear more than anything is the same kind of guys doing the same kind of stuff. What kills me is, I had an interview at a radio station about a possible job, and the station claimed that they were trying to do different things and wanted to hear new voices. No, they didn’t. I don’t know why they say that. No, they didn’t. They ended up just replicating what had been on before.

Sandi:                       Back to it is what it is, it’s the same old same old. It really is sort of stunning.

Nancy:                      I know.

Sandi:                       No, we don’t have much more time left.

Nancy:                      Ohhhh

Sandi:                       So, what I need you to do is to just briefly tell me what’s on the fire for you.

Nancy:                      To that end, to what we’re talking about. I have a lot of talented friends. A lot of talented women friends who don’t get a chance to perform the way that they would like. We are funny people, comedians, singers, and what not, but we’re not comedy club material.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      There’s not going to be punch lines. We’re story tellers, but we might not be hip enough to be part of the Moth.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      I thought, I’ll do my own show, and I can name a show after an insect like them.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      [Laughing]

Sandi:                       The Gnat.

Nancy:                      Yea. Right. I had this show called the Mosquito. Comedy with Bite. [Ho, HO, Ho]

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      It’s at my dear friend Ellie Covan’s theatre Dixon Place. Dixonplace.org. So, once a month, I’ve had this little gathering of friends. Some comedians, some storytellers. My friend Kate McIntyre’s got a gorgeous voice. She put some music to poetry, we’ve got musicians, I’m hoping maybe to even do some like short films. We do an hour, hour ten minutes show once a month. The one thing that I have a hard time doing is the advertising. Just letting people know about it.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Nancy:                      I did make a Facebook page, but I’m inept with that stuff.

Sandi:                       Yea. Me too. Me too.

Nancy:                      If one more person says, it’s so easy.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Nancy:                      You can just hit send all. I’m going to kill someone.

Sandi:                       You can kill all.

Nancy:                      Yes. Anyway, it’s called The Mosquito. Like us on Facebook. Whatever. It’s just fun. What I like to do is give women of a certain age a shot at doing this. It’s hard for a lot of us to get booked at a comedy club or something like that. There aren’t places that are that, so it’s kind of the reverse of the way a comedy club is. I shouldn’t say this, but this is my little secret thing. It’s kind of the reverse. It’s an evening of mostly all women and maybe one guy.

Sandi:                       I like that.

Nancy:                      We’ve got a lot of different people doing stuff, and I love doing it.

Sandi:                       Dynamite. Sounds dynamite.

Nancy:                      Yea.

Sandi:                       Nancy.

Nancy:                      Oh, it always go by too fast.

Sandi:                       It sure does. So, you’ll come back again?

Nancy:                      I’d love to.

Sandi:                       Oh, that would be excellent.

Nancy:                      You rock.

Sandi:                       Join us for another edition of Conversations with Creative Women. I’m Sandi Klein.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandi Klein
Sandi Klein
Veteran radio newscaster, Sandi Klein, has been “in the business” for 30 years; 20 as an anchor at 1010 WINS in New York City. In addition to hosting several public affairs programs, she was the co-host of “Arts Alive from the Algonquin,” a 52-week series broadcast Sunday afternoon from Manhattan’s famous Algonquin Hotel.
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