An Essay (About Me) By Jenny Donoghue
A few days ago I turned twenty-five. I’ve been busy with my job (more about that here and here), so I ended up throwing a small, last-minute get-together with a few friends at a bar in Brooklyn, bartended by a very generous friend. It was a lot of fun, though if I’d had more time, I definitely would have done what I did last year: for my twenty-fourth birthday, I rented a stage at a bar and threw a kind of open-mic party. Most of my friends are actors, comedians, or musicians, so I thought it was only fair to let them perform their work. They signed up in advance and I got to see some very funny and interesting work from Emma Koenig, Anna Drezen, Jenny Jaffe, and a bunch of other talented friends.
One of my favorite acts of the night was brought to us by Jenny Donoghue. Jenny is something of a legend among my friends: she seems to have been born in a fairytale land full of whimsy and pink-frosted gingerbread houses. (In reality, she was born in Wales.) My friend Andrew says the first time he met her, she was sleeping at the foot of his bed in a fairy costume. She seems to operate on a completely different time frame than anyone else: apparently she once showed up an hour late for a rehearsal, holding a bag of cookies and saying “Sorry I’m late – but I brought biscuits!” For those fluent in TVTropes.org, she’s a Cloudcuckoolander. But she’s also warm, charming, adorable, hilarious, and a good friend.
A regular feature of our friend Danny Jolles‘ show used to be “Jenny Explains”. She would perform an essay about some aspect of her new American/New York life, like baseball (titled “Is It Really A Sport If They Barely Move For An Hour?”) or Judaism (titled “I Know The Name of That Hat!”) Danny and one of his co-hosts, usually David Sidorov or Nick Packard, would sit behind her and raise their hands every time she said something correct. They were so popular that people requested she write essays about them. So, for my birthday last year, she wrote an essay about me, and she has allowed me to share it here.
Some details have been left out to protect privacy. Most of the essay is at least somewhat factually correct, though it’s nearly all hyperbole. I’ll leave you to figure out what’s right and what’s misconception. All in all, it was a great effort and my heart was warmed.
Childhood Hero, Personhood Friend: The Birth and Existence of Mara Wilson
By Jenny Donoghue
Mara Wilson is two things – a real human person and an idea. Like your mom and the theory of relativity, she combines the best of both.
Like many people, I first met Mara via my TV screen in Wales as a character in films such as Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire. Perhaps because she could throw carrots with her mind and I was nine, I always used to think “that girl must be cool, I would like to hang out with her one day. I was right.
In this way, I’ve known Mara the longest of all my American friends. Even though she didn’t know it the time. I mean that in the least creepy and most beautiful universey way.
Today is Mara’s birthday and she would want me to tell you that she evolved from a monkey and was put in her mother’s womb by a penis, not God, because that stuff is very important to her.
Mara is a nice sweet heart wrapped in a shell of science facts and correct grammar. Do not let her fervent atheism make you think she’s one of those “I don’t care” people, for in fact she cares deeply.
Mara is never far from anyone’s mind on a daily basis because of her epic facebook statuses. Her signature move is to post a status then post the first comment herself as an extension of this status. This is a perfect example of the “care a lot” I was talking about. And also something I would probably do more if I had the courage. Mara is a bastion of social networking courage to inspire us all.
As a female human, I am glad that Mara is also a female, because we need more like her.
I imagine the inside of Mara’s head would be a very stimulating place full of explanations for everything and if head visiting technology were a thing and I were to visit I’d know many things.
By day, Mara does something to kids in the Bronx. It’s probably teaching them.
It’s unclear if Mara is an environmental activist or friend to the animals, but it definitely seems like something she’d do.
Mara has a brother or several and possibly also some sisters…
Mara has always been very elusive in the Facebook photo department. We can assume that she’s going for an “international woman of mystery” thing.
With the power of a life alchemist, Mara can make awesome things from sucky experiences. Like her moving show about when her mother died or her open fuck you letter to Ira Glass after he was a sucky dick to her. It’s actually quite badass that she’s in a feud with Ira Glass. Maybe one day they will have a fistfight — with words.
Mara represents hardcore for the modern NYC nerd girl. Also she has a rich creamy womanly voice that wouldn’t be out of place on a 1940s starlet and I don’t think I’ve ever told her that.
Mara is someone who would be compelling on a modern and not annoying version of Sex and the City and/or a legal drama where she plays a sassy no nonsense cop. It may come as a surprise to those of you used to seeing her in modest neutral tones, but Mara is great at playing sassy shiny women in heels… She also wears the hell out of a hat.
Of the two Maras I’ve known–the one in movies and the one in this room–I greatly prefer this one here, because she is not fictional and is my friend. Also she is an awesome person.