By Jacob Wheeler
Chicago native, and Glen Arbor summer native, Sarah Haskins is all the rage with web-savvy young women these days. Her hilarious, and smart, satirical show “Target: Women” airs at 7 and 10 p.m. on Thursdays (Eastern Standard Time) as part of infoMania on Current TV and www.Current.com — an independent media company started by former Vice President Al Gore. Haskins has been featured in Mother Jones; Salon.com predicts she’ll soon land on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”; and a Huffington Post reader likened her to the next Samantha Bee. Personally, I’ve scored brownie points with female friends when I tell them I actually know Sarah Haskins — we used to work together at the Pine Cone ice cream shop in Glen Arbor in the mid-90s. That was before she got big.
Haskins spoke to the Glen Arbor Sun about “Target: Women,” being funny, being famous, and what she’ll do first when she visits Glen Arbor later this summer.
How did you end up in Los Angeles, and how did you get hooked up with Current TV?
Current TV is actually the reason I came to Los Angeles. I was living in Chicago and touring with the Second City. I’d been touring for about two and half years and was wondering what I’d do next when — and this is when it gets a little crazy — my next door neighbor from childhood told me about a job opening up at Current (where she used to work). So, I applied and had a weeklong freelancing tryout and was accepted.
Speaking of L.A., is it a real place? How does one go about living there?
It is a real place. It’s actually very nice if you can find the right spot. My neighborhood has a lot of trees. This is important to me. The L.A. that we see in “The Hills” or movies about Hollywood — that’s a very particular part of this city, but certainly doesn’t encompass the day-to-day existence here. Or at least mine. I still think “clubbing” is something you do when you’re hunting.
How was your show “Target: Women” born? And what is its mission (other than to make us laugh)?
Born, as many things are, by accident — I’d been working at Current about six months as a writer and wanted to do an on-air piece. In the course of watching TV to find something to satirize, I watched dozens of annoying ads about women and yogurt. “Hey,” I thought, “This is a thing.” And then we made that thing.
Its mission is to make you laugh first, and, hopefully those laughs provoke some thought about how advertising speaks to us and makes us feel about ourselves — men and women alike.
The episode parodying women’s relationship with yogurt seems to be the most popular. What brand of yogurt do you eat, Sarah?
None! I hate calcium. (To my Mom: that’s a joke.)
What’s the greatest compliment you’ve received for “Target: Women”? How about the strangest comment?
The greatest — a 15 year old in Massachusetts wrote me a letter — a real letter — and said that I was her and her best friend’s favorite comic and they were inspired by the clips. I was touched.
The strangest … well, you don’t have to go far on the Internet to find strange things. Several people have declared that they would like to marry me. I would like to dissuade them: no, do not marry me. I can’t cook and I snore. Unless you will take care of the taxes. Then, I’ll think about it.
Also, in real life I am engaged, so, that makes it somewhat difficult.
Does your mom watch “Target: Women”? How about other women in your family who precede the Internet generation?
Mom does. I think she likes it. She’s gets the Internet.
What makes you funny? Did you read a book about being funny when you were a kid?
I think being funny comes from a profound desire not to be embarrassed, something that happens to me fairly regularly. I am a clutz. (Ask Ann (Derrick) and Brendan (Burrows) at the Good Harbor Grill, where I worked for about seven summers.) So, you can laugh or drive yourself insane. I do remember, very clearly, reading a box set of Erma Bombeck that my Grammy had in Michigan — sitting on her couch, looking at the lake and laughing hysterically. I thought that the power to do that was so great and that laughing is a great feeling. So, it became part of the way I express myself.
You grew up in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and vacationed at the family cottage on Big Glen Lake. What do you miss most about the Midwest? What don’t you miss about the Midwest?
I miss Fall. And I miss the sense of community that is so important in so many Midwestern places — be it Chicago or Leelanau County. And the Cubs. I miss the Cubs.
I do not miss April, which pretends to be a spring month, but is a horrible tease and a liar.
Will you visit Glen Arbor this summer? What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get up north?
Absolutely. I will swim. And then I will go to the Good Harbor Grill and eat and catch up with Ann and Brendan. And then I will go to Art’s and have a (Bells) Oberon. Oh — I miss Oberon too. No Oberon out west.
Any chance you’ll include a reference to Glen Arbor in an upcoming episode of “Target Women?” We’re kind of funny up here, right?
I’ll try. How’s that Narrows bridge going? There’s humor in that, right?
Is it true that you and I worked together as 15 year olds at the Pine Cone ice cream shop next to the Good Harbor Grill, and that I accidentally dumped soft serve syrup all over the floors once?
This is true. Jacob, I will say, you were not meant for a life of ice cream. I am very happy you are a journalist. Because I love you. But you were bad, bad, bad at serving ice cream.