INTERVIEW: Janine Brito Discusses ‘Bubble,’ the Gig Economy, Tweed Lightsabers, and More
Janine Brito is a stand up comedian and television writer. In 2009, she won the “SF Women’s Comedy Competition,” and in 2011 was named the “Best Comedian with a Message” by the East Bay Express. She was an on-air correspondent for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. She currently writes for One Day at a Time, the upcoming animated series Bless the Harts, and the popular scripted podcast Bubble. She sat down to discuss her experience writing on Bubble, surviving the gig economy, and the results are, of course, hilarious!
Nerds and Beyond: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Janine Brito: I’m an IceCube (half-Icelandic, half-Cuban) lesbian. I started out in standup and now am also a writer and actor. I wrote on One Day At a Time on Netflix and am currently working on Bless The Harts, a new animated show coming to Fox this fall. I’m also the proud father of 4 dogs and 3 cats (adoptive father, though my partner and I haven’t sat down and had the official talk with them).
Nerds and Beyond: How did you come to be a part of Bubble?
Janine: I love Jordan Morris, he’s a sweet baby angel man. We met in the comedy world and I’ve done stuff with MaxFun (maximumfun.org), so when he reached out asking me to write for this series, I was onboard before I even finished his email. Then I read it and was REALLY onboard.
Nerds and Beyond: For our readers that are unfamiliar with Bubble, how would you describe it?
Janine: It’s like if Buffy lived in the current “sharing economy,” a.k.a. poverty wages with no benefits that us millennials and Gen Z get to look forward to after college.
Nerds and Beyond: What was the process of writing on a scripted podcast like?
Janine: It was pretty easy; the podcast meant we didn’t have any limits like money or the laws of physics so we were really able to let our freak flags fly.
Nerds and Beyond: There’s a lot of commentary and jokes in the show about gentrified (or gentrifying) “hipster” communities and our gig economy. Was there a scene or moment that resonated the most with you, or that was based on a real experience?
Janine: I was a dog walker for Wag when I first moved to LA. I remember a lot of weeks being touch-and-go when I didn’t get enough money on the app. So I really felt Morgan’s dilemma of not wanting to work for Bubble and, you know, rent (although Wag was a dream because dogs… and not killing creatures for an awful evil monopoly).
Nerds and Beyond: Why do you think horror (both in the existential sense and the monsters that will kill you sense) resonates so strongly in our current social climate?
Janine: I actually HATE horror. I grew up very religious and so the idea of anything supernatural scares the bejeezus out of me. (You can’t fight the devil!) But I love Buffy, Firefly, and Shaun of the Dead. I think because those series are more about the interpersonal relationships that we can all relate to, just against the backdrops of vampires, space, and zombies, and space zombies.
Nerds and Beyond: What are your favorite moments from the first season?
Janine: There was a moment in my episode where I realized we didn’t yet know why Morgan and Annie (who are kind of polar opposites) were still roommates, so I wrote a scene where they really break down why they feel so connected to each other. I loved adding that dynamic to the series because I feel like that’s why we return to so many shows we love, no matter the genre. We just wanna love and be loved, y’all!
Also, Squirmp, forever and always anything Squirmp.
Nerds and Beyond: You also write for One Day at a Time (Netflix) and Bless The Harts (Fox). What were those experiences like?
Janine: There’s actually a lot more crossover than I expected. They’re both shows that focus on families struggling to get by and feature three different generations of women. I also feel very at home in both: the Cuban side of my family helped me understand the Alvarezes and my Icelandic side ended up in rural Alabama so I feel like I know the Harts too.
Nerds and Beyond: How does writing for a sitcom compare to an animated show? And writing for a Netflix show as opposed to a network? How does the process differ?
Janine: Animated’s a little more free than sitcom logistics-wise since, again, we’re less limited by physics. But both shows have the most talented cast and both rooms are full of sweethearts so both are a dream workplace. Because One Day at a Time’s a multi-cam, we get to see how things go over in the live tapings, which really feeds my stand-up itch, but the table reads for Bless The Harts have also been a lot of fun.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any upcoming projects that you want to share? Any upcoming stand up specials?
Janine: I’m on Season 2 Episode 1 of 2 Dope Queens, now available On Demand and on HBO Go.
Nerds and Beyond: We have a few nerdy quick questions…. Favorite movie?
Janine: A lot of people who didn’t see it as children say it’s TERRIBLE, but I saw it in my youth and so it forever holds a very very special place in my heart – Goonies.
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite Book?
Janine: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite Band?
Janine: This is a hard one to answer, so I’m going to bend this definition and say most of the VH1 Divas roster: Mariah, Aretha, Cher, Shania, Whitney, Tina Turner, Chaka Kahn, Mary J Blige, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, Miss Patti LaBelle, etc.
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite Word?
Janine: “Cocotazo” – It’s Cuban slang for a smack across the head, not a fun thing to be on the receiving end of but a REALLY fun word to say.
Nerds and Beyond: Finally, we have a tradition at Nerds and Beyond that our last question is always: If you existed as a Jedi in the Star Wars universe, what color would your lightsaber be?
Janine: I know it’s never been seen before but probably tweed? And I’d also only fight to protect my Senior Fathier And Porg Rescue Farm.