Aborn comedian and Saturday Night Live alum, Michaela Watkins can be seen in a slew of movies, includ- ing the Sundance Festival hits In a
World and Afternoon Delight and the upcoming
Just Before I Go. On television, she starred in
Trophy Wife, where her performance as new-agey ex-wife Jackie was a thing of quirky beauty.
Now she’s taking to the other side of the
screen; she co-created and is producing the
series Benched for the USA Network. The comedy, premiering in January, centers on a driven
corporate attorney who has a nervous breakdown and starts working as a public defender.
During a break on the set, Watkins took a
moment to extol the books, music and shows
that keep her going.
Currently, I'm reading Ann Lamott's Traveling
Mercies. It's about how she came to her faith.
I personally ceased worrying about spirituality
and now I simply wonder about it. For the busy
times, I prefer to read essays. I keep a stack next
to my bed, and I'll peruse anything written by
Adam Gopnik and The Best American Essays
edited by Cheryl Strayed. Speaking of, she has
an advice column called "Dear Sugar" and you
should read it if you want to be inspired by
remarkable writing and/or weep your face off.
Next on the stack is The Collected Stories of
Amy Hempel. Gifted to me by one of the funniest women I know, Sarah Haskins, co-creator of
the show Trophy Wife.
There's a song I'm recently obsessed with called
“The John Wayne” by Little Green Cars. It's
going to be in the finale of my show Benched.
The song “Airwaves” by Ray LaMontagne gives
me goosebumps. When I write, I flip on the
Pandora station for Dave Brubeck. When I do
everything else, it's on the Andrew Bird or Bon
I never miss a Wilco concert. I flew to Vancouver
to see them. My then-boyfriend proposed. Jeff
Tweedy announced it to thousands of people.
I died. I love everything about their music. It's
simply pitch perfect.
I never miss Mad Men. It's a beautiful show in
every way. The art direction. The slow narrative,
the characters, the music, all of it. It feels so
meticulous and thought out.
I also love Louie. It's refreshing to have a
comedy that doesn't have people just making
jokes. Comedy + real emotional arc + non-cliché
female character = HEAVEN.
Most looking forward to Jill Soloway's new
show Transparent, on Amazon. I worked with
Jill in her amazing film Afternoon Delight and
she is a filmmaker with quite a vision.
I follow Jezebel, Vulture, The Daily Beast,
BuzzFeed, The Onion, Rob Delaney, Maggie
Furlong, This American Life, Amy Schumer, Jim
Rash, Sarah Silverman, Kelly Oxford, NPR.
— LISA ROSEN
A charmer with energy to burn,
Michaela Watkins shares what she’s reading,
watching and following lately.