Call Answered: Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood" at The PIT
Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal PearsonIf you are a parent, particularly a mother or mother-figure, this interview is for you! Life is one big adventure and how we react to it varies from person to person. Motherhood is one journey, and while I don't have personal experience with it, I know a lot of woman who handle it with varying degrees. Some are super excited by it and all that has to go with it. Others can barely keep their head above water. And some glide through it, taking it all in stride. How ever you walk through it, one thing is for sure, you are not alone. And that's what Jamie Aderski has discovered in her show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood, which will be coming back to The PIT this fall.
Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood came about because Jamie had a baby. People ask her "How’s it going?" and she’s tired of saying "Great!" Everyone lied to her about birth and beyond, so here’s the raw truth. After this show, people may now ask "Is she ok?" Whether you have a kid, are thinking about having one, or can’t even keep a plant alive, it’s vital you attend.
Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood will play from September 15-November 10 at The PIT's The Striker Theatre (123 East 24th Street).
Jamie Aderski1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress/comedian? I wanted to be an actress since I was a kid. I loved musicals, that was what I wanted to do; acting, dancing and singing. I knew early on that in order to stand out, you needed to create your own material, so I produced a show in my backyard when I was seven. Nobody showed up. Hoping this show goes better.
I got into comedy because I was tired of trying to fit into a box as an actress. I was always drawn to comedy, but didn't think it could really be a thing for me. I grew up watching SNL, SCTV, The State, Upright Citizens Brigade, Mr. Show, and the women seemed like an afterthought. They didn't get to play the meaty bits like the men did. More often than not they were there for the men to play off of, the "straight (wo)man," mom, wife. Looking back, there are many female comedians to look to as inspiration for a career in comedy, but that's not how it felt at the time. I think the late 90's was a turning point, when I started to see females really kicking ass. I'll never forget when I first saw Waiting For Guffman. I was so in awe. These were real (comedic) characters with depth! And the women! Parker Posey, and of course, the brilliant Catherine O'Hara whom I have always admired. Then, Tina Fey, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, these are the woman that I wanted (and still aspire) to be. They were all funny as hell and fearless. They commanded respect.
Designed by Cayla Merrill2. This fall you are returning to The PIT with your show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood. What made now the right to bring this show back? It gets me out of the house, ha! But also, I miss it. There is an endless cycle of people thinking about having kids, having kids, deciding not to have kids. It's a pretty universal topic. Lately, a lot of people I know are recently married or pregnant couples, which I think fired me up to do this show again because I've been talking about it so much. It's a public service, really.
3. Let's go back to the beginning for a moment. When did you decide to write this show? I really didn't decide to. I actively made the decision that I wasn't going to write anything for a while. I was in such a deep hole after having my son. Two-ish months in, I woke up, not because he was crying, but because the title popped into my head. I grabbed pen and paper (I always keep next to my bed, I find I get my best ideas in the middle of the night) and ended up writing a few pages. I woke up and was like, "Well crap, I have to write this show now." And from there, honestly, it was the easiest thing I've ever written, which made me question if this show was just the incoherent ramblings of a sleep deprived, hormonal, postpartum mom. Happy to say I was pleasantly surprised that people dug it so much.
Jamie Aderski in "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood", Photo Credit: No Future Photography4. How did writing/performing this show help you reconcile your feelings of frustration with what others told you or didn't tell you about motherhood? It was/is cathartic. I think that's why I love to perform it so much. I have a real goal and a message I want to get across, well, several. It's an active, living, breathing show. The things I talk about are graphic, raw, and (what I thought was) my experience alone. I didn't expect that so many people would be able to relate to it. Parents and non-parents have thanked me after the show for being so honest. I'm a pretty private person, but it's worth the risk of being so vulnerable if I can put on a show that is healing for me, and empowers other people. (And also if I can make people laugh at this crazy shit. Then it's worth it).
5. Since the show is called Cry Baby, what is one thing you just cried like a baby over about birth or motherhood? My body being destroyed from pushing a human out of it. It was a shock. I read every book, every blog, but nothing was thorough enough, specific enough. I felt like I would never heal. Everything hurt, everything was was bleeding, everything was out of order. And I thought I would pee my pants forever. But it gets better.
Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal Pearson6. I feel the description of your show is like that episode of Sex and The City where "Berger" tells "Miranda," "He's just not that into you" and she has that revelation of truth and then in turn tries to impart that knowledge on others. What one piece of advice you learned from birth or motherhood that you must let people know before they themselves experience it? That you can't really prepare for it. That it's okay to be depressed after what is "supposed" to be the most incredible experience of your life. It doesn't mean you love your child less than someone who isn't. Let go of expectations.
You can't prepare for how you will feel physically or mentally after birth (or in life, like, ever, right?) And ask for help. I don't like to ask for help, I never have, but now, I am humbled. I need to sometimes. Look for the helpers, like "Mister Rogers" said, they are there. Don't be too proud to stand by the subway stairs with your stroller and make eye contact until someone offers to help. I make a point to pay it forward, so that I don't feel bad about needing help from a stranger. Now I look for people who need help, and it feels good. I never saw them before.
7. What has been the worst part of motherhood? What has been the best part? The worst part is having to give up time for yourself. I can't just grab a drink with a friend or wander around Union Square or take a nap. It sounds selfish, but I'm selfish. Aren't we all? Shouldn't we be? The best part is that it's not just you anymore. There is someone more important, and that's oddly freeing. I've realized how most of the shit I worried about doesn't matter. And I'll nap when I'm dead. So there's that to look forward to.
Jamie Aderksi and family, Photo Credit: Jamie Grill photography8. What has been some of your favorite audience reactions to this show? A 20-something said to me: "I thought it was just gonna be about having a baby (eye roll). But it wasn't! I loved it!" - my favorite quote.
A woman who recently had a baby thanked me with tears in her eyes. She felt like she was alone. It's 2017 and the mental health and well-being of new moms is a taboo subject? All the more reason I want to do this show to normalize it and create awareness. Also to make people laugh. I said that already, right?
9. Has your mom seen this show? If so, what did she think of it? She did! She thought it was "so relatable" because she "went through all those things, too!" Naturally, I was pissed, and of course, I asked why she didn't warn me. Her answer: "It (having a baby) is so difficult, but if I told you, I wouldn't have a grandchild." Clearly my Mom is part of the problem, oy!
10. If you could do it all again with the knowledge you gained, would you still become a mother? A thousand times, yes. (But I would go easier on myself).
Jamie Aderski, Photo Credit: Eric Micheal PearsonMore on Jamie:
Jamie is an actress, comedian, and writer, originally from South Jersey. She studied at The Peoples Improv Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and Annoyance Theatre (NYC). She is a graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio conservatory program for acting (NYC), and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in psychology from Fordham University. Jamie has been featured in sketches for Comedy Central, UCB Digital, Elite Daily, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She has appeared in several national commercials, and in print ads with babies and stuff. Inspired by real things and imaginary things in her head, Jamie is the writer and performer of character pieces. Also, her solo show, I Just Disappear, was showcased in the 2016 Boston Comedy Arts Festival and her newest one-woman show, Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood was a part of the 2016 SOLOCOM Festival in NYC. The comedic sitcom pilot she wrote, The F-Factor, most recently won 4th place in FilmMakers.com's TV script writing competition. She performs in repertory at The Peoples Improv Theater (where she also teaches improv,) Wednesdays at 8pm on the Mainstage with improv house team, "Desperado."