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Still Doing It!

Holy shit you guys it’s less than 12 hours (technically it’s more than 12 hours) since my last blog post and here I am again, continuing the hot streak I started yesterday but doubted I would be able to keep up. At this rate I will have all the success I mentioned in my last blog post AND MORE in fewer than 5 years. I will likely be blond Doreen with her smug sassy aprons in approx 3.5 years. Where will Alison go once I’ve fully transformed into Doreen the Successful Mommy Blogger? I don’t know but I’ll keep you posted.

In all seriousness I’m having trouble being serious. One of these days I will fix that because the truth is I’m in A LOT of thera$$$py (unfortunately that word doesn’t have an S and so I just had to cram those $$$ in wily nily) and spending a fair amount of time working through thorny issues surrounding my identity now and the transition to motherhood and what kind of mom I am versus what I grew up thinking a good mom is (for example I didn’t become fully aware of this until recently but I think I grew up believing the only way to be a good mother is to stay at home with your kids and not have childcare because to have childcare is somehow selfish and a sign you don’t want to take care of your own kids. So fast forward to right now, when I have childcare because I work and there’s no way to get work done while simultaneously taking care of a baby, and it’s creating a whole blooming onion (particularly an awesome blossom) of guilt. But somehow I never considered how this was going to work before I had Elliot. I figured I would just keep going with my career, in fact maybe my career would even pick up steam because that’s what’s supposed to happen after you have a baby because culture loves mothers or something and also I would stay at home with Elliot and would do both seamlessly and perfectly which is like thinking while 2+2 has always equaled 4, somehow after having a baby it will equal 5 and I’m not sure how or why but it just will.

Should I go back to inconsequential word play? Also what should I do about the fact I never closed the parenthesis above? Find out in my next blog post! (Note: You will likely not find out in my next blog post.)

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Oh Hi I’m Back Maybe Or Am I

I’ve decided I will be blogging more which is a decision I make slightly less than annually and of late I don’t execute the hot streak of non-stop blogging that I intend when announcing said decision and so I’m tempted not to even tell you. I’m tempted instead to be all quiet about it until suddenly it’s five years from now and I’m a critically acclaimed mommy blogger with multiple book deals, a merchandise line involving sassy aprons, webinars, Ted talks, 5 kids some of whom are likely multiples, a parrot because why not and more than one home. Also I will be blond at that point and my name will be Doreen. The thing is I don’t think I’m a mommy blogger. I’m a mom now, which is weird, and I have a website which has a tab for “blog” and I used to blog (and also vlog) frequently, so frequently that someone who’s on TV who was once my friend but then that friendship flamed out which is a longer story which I would love to be privy to since one day we were friends and the next we weren’t which apparently is kind of a pattern for this guy BUT ANYWAY we were all out in a group around the time I was really hitting the vlogs hard and I got up to use the bathroom which is my move when I need to pee and apparently he said something about how I’d probably posted 5 vlogs in the time I was gone. Or maybe, actually, he got up to get a drink and then came back and while I was out of earshot asked how many vlogs I’d posted while he was gone? The point is he made a snide comment about my voracious vlogging which was vigorous and vituperative. I’m going to have to look that last one up hold on. Holy shit it means bitter and abusive which totally works in this context although it’s a little more vociferous than intended. Uh-oh, hold again. It means vehement! Yet again I somewhat nailed it! I’m batting 1000 which is a sports reference. Anyway, that was the first whiff of our friendship falling apart and I forget what the next waft was but my point is I was doing Instagram stories and Snapchat when it was just called vlogging and it cost me a friendship.

But back to my blogging hot streak. I just read the above and it’s kind of hard to parse. Would Doreen employ frustrating run on sentences? Also, what kind of omelets would Doreen make? I feel like she does amazing things with farm fresh eggs and she collects egg cups.

Well it’s around that time that I’m going to need to no longer be writing this sentence but let it be known that it’s possible I will write more of them!

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Ode to a Tea Kettle Plus Lupron and Headaches

kettle

 

If you’re looking for an electric kettle because you’re tired of growing old while waiting for water to boil on the stove and/or waiting for it to boil in the microwave, I can’t recommend this one enough. It’s my favorite thing in the morning aside from Daniel and Wendy. It might even be on par with them. I did a lot of research because I find myself unable to buy anything online without making a whole big thing out of it, and what started as an idle thought, “I’d like to get an electric kettle because I’d like to drink a hot beverage in the same calendar year in which I start the process,” turned into a days long spiritual journey. Actually, that’s not true. But fuck it took me a long time. Anyway, fast forward to now and it was the best 30 or so dollars I’ve spent in a long time. There were kettles that were definitely cuter (I almost bought one such number) however this one is super fast and reliable.

Also, it’s weird that I’m writing about a tea kettle when really, I could be telling you all about the experience of shooting my pilot. But no, today is for kettles.

Also it’s for telling you that I’m on daily Lupron injections to suppress the endometriosis before transferring our frozen embryos (they’ll be thawed before transfer, perhaps with a splash of water from my electric kettle) and anyway, the side effects, of which there are many, have settled into a dull painful constant headache. I can handle the moodiness and the hot flashes, the fatigue and the forgetfulness, the lapse in judgment that makes me wax poetic about kettles, but I don’t know how long I can tolerate a constant headache. I’m not really a headache person. I’m more of a “pain in the guts” kind of person, in terms of what I deal with more frequently and my effect on other people. But in general I’m lucky enough not to feel daily pain outside of the endometriosis which I’ve been dealing with for so long, I don’t really notice it unless it’s particularly bad which is usually a few days a month. But not debilitating. Just uncomfortable. But I’m not a daily headache person except now I am. People with constant headaches, what do you do?

And while we’re talking about pain, I think of myself as a person with a healthy fear of pain but a pretty high threshold but the endometrial biopsy which is part of the mock cycle to figure out which day to transfer the embryos was incredibly painful. My doctor told me it would be a 6 or 7 out of 10 which struck me really high on the pain scale but I figured if something is really that painful, they wouldn’t do it without anesthesia. I don’t know why I thought that when she flat out told me how painful it would be. I guess because I’ve had other procedures (HSG test) that are supposed to be painful but they really didn’t bother me.

But back to kettles, here’s the tea I’ve been drinking lately. But I like to switch it up.

(BTW I’m not sponsored by any of the above products but if you buy through my Amazon banner on the right side of this web site or through the above links it throws a few cents my way. Just wanted to explain that because I could imagine people might think I’m on the tea kettle payroll but I am so not.)

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How I Feel at this Point in the IVF Cycle

I’m now at the point of the IVF cycle where I wake up wanting to punch something. It’s like my PMS has PMS only it isn’t PMS it’s a shitload of injectable hormones coursing through my system making me super irritable. I can sense people fidgeting in other rooms and I WOULD LIKE THEM TO STOP RIGHT NOW.

You, with your leg bouncing up and down making that squeaky sound. JUST STOP.

And the clock in my bathroom, ticking. Is it always this loud? It’s all very Edgar Allan Poe.

Someone just honked. I hate that person.

And my dog with her breathing. Actually, she gets a pass.

My stomach just growled or gurgled and it was deafening.

OH THAT INFERNAL TICKING. I have half a mind to march in there and yank out that double AA.

The real kick in the pantaloons is I’m trying to stay calm and relaxed because I think everything works better if you’re calm and relaxed however yesterday my anxiety and frustration began ratcheting up and today it is off the charts.

And the thing with hormones is you can’t be SURE that’s why you’re feeling so easily agitated. Maybe everyone really is being a fucknut and clocks are ticking loudly and nothing’s going right and no one cares and everyone’s ignoring you and THINGS ARE SUPER FUCKED. Probably not, but maybe.

Yesterday I began crying at the fertility clinic and I’m kind of surprised it’s taken me this long to lose my composure there considering the nature of infertility and all the hormones and the clinic’s insistence on early morning appointments and my not being a morning person.

So I trudged in there with my very little buffer yesterday and found out that even though everything looked really promising this month (it varies monthly and if things don’t look promising they will make you come back the following month instead of trying to do a cycle of IVF on a month where it won’t be effective. This has happened to me repeatedly and sometimes it’s a relief because I feel like I need a break and sometimes I just feel disheartened and as if I’m losing time), and even though my labs were excellent, like better than they’ve ever been, and even though I’m now on day 7 of jamming needles full of drugs into my stomach, and even though I’ve been feeling so positive about this cycle and so in tune with my body in a way I never have before to the extent that I thought I’d turned a corner and worked through whatever was holding me back prior to now and here we go, now my body will respond to the medication like most women respond and I can be like everyone else who does IVF and finally I’ll produce a bunch of eggs, enough that they can sort through them and find the good ones and we can create a real family with more than one kid instead of me being this weird outlier who for whatever undetermined reason isn’t pushing out many eggs (one in five eggs are good however I’m producing fewer than 5 eggs a cycle which means the road ahead is long and hard) and isn’t really responding to the drugs, um, this sentence has turned into a word labyrinth and I can’t find my way out.

Or maybe it’s turned into a corn maze of words? I could go either way.

Anyway, I guess it’s kind of silly to think just modifying my lifestyle a bit (working out more, changing my diet, meditating, getting massages which is as close to acupuncture as I can get presently because it scares me) would change something so fundamental inside me. And yet I kind of got into a magical thinking trap.

I’ve seen people close to me do this: blame themselves when their physical ailments or illnesses don’t abate despite a lot of mental work. And it always breaks my heart because it’s like, life is already piling on and now you’re kicking yourself too?

But for the short time when I thought that somehow I’d righted this ship by trying to take control of my mood and thoughts and “energy” and all that, I felt so empowered. And to fall back into what is probably the truth: that it’s capricious and random and out of my control, feels more scary than liberating.

Aaaand I’m realizing I never finished my thought above which is that I found out yesterday that my right ovary is “sleeping,” meaning it isn’t responding to the medications. My left is producing a few eggs which is good and which means all hope for this cycle isn’t lost, I just thought I was clearing the finish line and instead I’m in the dugout. (That’s the correct sports metaphor, right? I AM JOKING.)

And I know I said my goal was to be not tethered to the outcome. To live my life and do everything I can to get pregnant but not to be so hung up on if it’s working because it’s out of my control and etc. But things were looking so good that I allowed myself to really get my hopes up even though I wasn’t aware at the time that’s what I was doing.

But really, if I’m being honest which I am, this is partly about having a baby and partly about feeling like a weirdo outlier like I suggested earlier. It’s about feeling like I’m running in a race with all these swift, able bodied people but I’m lame and misshapen and my body just isn’t working like it’s supposed to. And I realize there are a thousand judgments and distortions in that sentence but it’s kicking around my brain and probably napping on my sleeping ovary.

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Everyone Does IVF

Yesterday Daniel and I were walking Wendy, trying to take her to more heavily populated areas because we’re trying to train her to be less of a maniac around humans who aren’t us and as we were headed home we ran into one of Daniel’s friends. It had been a few years since they’d seen each other and the guy was with his clearly pregnant wife.

We caught up, discussed career and homes and “have you talked to this person?” type-stuff and as it was going on I was thinking that I probably wouldn’t bring up the fact that we’re doing IVF. I just didn’t want to take anything away from her pregnancy and didn’t want to make her feel weird around me and I think there’s just something intrinsic in my female core that knows there’s cultural discomfort around the woman who wants a child but who is having trouble having a child and not only do I not want pity, I just would rather keep the focus on her news which is happy as opposed to mine which is complicated and awkward.

I am very open about our struggle with infertility—too open, many rooms full of men might say—but the one situation where I don’t immediately trot it out is when someone else is pregnant.

As I was thinking this, sure that not bringing it up was the right move, I heard Daniel say, “We just started IVF.”

There are times when marriage truly feels like a commingling of spirits, like you are two halves of the same whole, like you complete each other and are one heart in two bodies (which suggests you each have half a heart. How is that a good thing?) and you wonder how you existed so long without this other person who knows you so intimately it’s as if you communicate without speaking.

And then there are other times where you feel like what you are, two strangers who share a bathroom, use each other as their emergency contact, truly hope the best for one another, respect each other enough to both set an alarm when one has to be up super early which means two people are waking up every ten minutes while one of you hits snooze repeatedly and who often have a hunch about how the other feels but who don’t know for sure until you ask.

“If she guesses Moonrise Kingdom I’ll believe in telepathy,” Daniel told me he thought recently, as I guested on the Doug Loves Movies podcast. The game was to name as many Bruce Willis movies as possible and I was struggling. Daniel was in the live audience thinking the name over and over. Focusing on it, visualizing it, trying to send it to me with the power of his mind.

K-9?” I blurted out.

“The old Jim Belushi movie?” Doug asked incredulously.

“Yep!” I laughed as if maybe I’d been saying it as a joke.

Anyway, back to yesterday, before I had a chance to shoot a look at Daniel I heard the couple say they’d also done IVF. “Oh! What clinic do you go to?” I asked.

Turns out we go to the same clinic.

This is what I meant when I said, on a recent podcast, that ever since I’ve entered into the world of infertility, where I’m open about it and people are open about it with me, I feel as if it’s so much more common than you think. And so, as I explained on the podcast, I was briefly pulled out of this mindset when my good friend and fellow podcaster Jenna Kim Jones announced her pregnancy, which she achieved naturally, and which was a reminder that some people actually get pregnant naturally and easily and without spending enormous amounts of money and time and that also, though it’s become normal to me, there is a problem here and there is something a little broken about my lady bits and it shouldn’t have to be this way.

But then yesterday happened and now I’m thinking maybe I was right all along, that most of the kids in Los Angeles are conceived through IVF and that the reason everyone I know goes to the same clinic is because everyone does IVF, they just aren’t always open about it.

I just hope Jenna doesn’t feel alone. Everyone has their own pregnancy story and her way is just as valid, if a little less talked about.

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I'm twitchy

Ok so earlier today I unveiled some big news about how I want to start blogging again but where to begin? I have so much to say after, well, saying so much all these years. But the thing is I’ve been saying it into a mic and on twitter and in text messages and have gotten away from my one true love: parasailing. (I bet you thought I was going to say blogging. Just when you think I’m going to zig, I snarfle!)

Anyway, fuck where to begin. Let’s just jump into right now and the specifics of right now which is that my face is very twitchy and I can feel a certain crinkling happening circa my left eye, nose, mouth area. If I were to give into it entirely I’d blink the fuck out of my eyes and crinkle up my face like a toothless old man suffering some kind of palsy. Like a caricature of a pirate if that pirate stuck his hook hand into a socket. It’s like I have Tourette’s of my facial muscles. I guess it’s really less of a twitch than a tic except a twitch is so much more socially acceptable. Sort of like the difference between a blister on your toe and foot fungus. A cold sore vs. herpes. A bladder infection vs. a yeast infection (anyone?)

A twitch is involuntary. A tic suggests some kind of mental situation manifesting all over your face. Which is probably what’s going on.

I first became aware of said tics when I was in 2nd grade. The teacher called me up to the front of the room at the end of the day and asked if I was having trouble reading the chalk board. I said I was not. I’ve always had perfect vision which I make a big point of telling people, as if it’s some kind of accomplishment for which I should be lauded. (Ride in the car with me some time when I make out street names from really really far away. 9 times out of 10 I’m wrong but ten percent of the time it’s like magic!)

The teacher was curious, she said, because she noticed I was blinking a lot. I know the kind of blinking she was talking about. It’s less the volume than the intensity. These weren’t the fluttery blinks of someone with something in her eye. They were slow deliberate intense blinks that started in the top of my forehead and bottom of my chin as if my face was trying to fold in on itself. As if with every crashing together of my lids I was hoping to open my eyes to a new reality. I feel sad and Robert Durst-y just thinking about it.

What was really going on in 2nd grade was my home life had taken a big hit in the stability department. My mom’s parents had both died within a few weeks of each other over the summer—I don’t know what age kids normally encounter death but six for me and two for my sister felt awfully young—and we were thrust into a culture of sickness, sadness and then grief and mourning. There were a lot of hushed closed-door conversations, adults worried about things, discussions of wills and lawyers and funerals and belongings. Then my dad turned 50 and had an intense, prolonged mid-life crisis which pushed my parents’ marriage—it seemed to me—to the near breaking point. There was all sorts of fighting and yelling and door slamming and crying and tension and things which I took in stride except I didn’t, because there I was in school, scrunching up my eyes as if to make it all go away. Add to this the fact that the hardwood floors were being done or redone and we were all living in my parents small bedroom. But where did my sister and I sleep? On the living room couches which had been crammed into said smallish space. I actually thought it was fun, I enjoyed walking out my parents sliding glass door, around the perimeter of the house and through the front door to get to the refrigerator which had been moved to the foyer. It was like very early glamping. But my parents were already on edge and the close quarters plus a house full of workers just made them edgier.

Fast forward a great number of years (but not an unattractive number mind you in case you’re some kind of Hollywood casting agent) to 2013 when I was on The Adam Carolla show and once a week the shows were being broadcast in video form on the internet, giving the world a chance to see us instead of just hear us. I was pretty sure I would be great seeing as I’m overwhelmingly photogenic and God’s gift to the small screen. I mean, I’m better on screen than I am in real life. Just ask anyone who knows me.

So imagine my shock when I discover the electrical storm flashing across my face on one particular show and by discover I mean read a bunch of shitty comments talking about the non stop blinking twitchiness. Except the commenters assumed all the blinking was because I must have disliked the guest. If only it were ever that simple and obvious.

After despairing over the manic goblin who’d taken up residence in my face, I chalked it up to what was going on in my life at that exact point which is that Daniel and I had just gotten a puppy which I found, initially, to be much more stressful and overwhelming that I’d ever imagined. I remember, the second or third morning we had Oliver thinking, “Holy shit, I’m never going to be able to relax ever again.” It’s like I felt his survival depended on my being aware of him and his whereabouts one hundred percent of the time—which in a way is accurate when you’re dealing with a puppy—but I didn’t even trust his survival instinct to keep him alive. I remember the first time I left him alone for a couple hours being convinced he’d choke on one of his chew toys while I was out. Why did I leave that toy in his pen, I admonished myself. I was meeting with a producer for lunch and thought numerous times about leaving to go home to remove the toy—which wasn’t truly a danger—but then telling myself I was being ridiculous while also preparing myself to find his lifeless body. (The irony of what ultimately happened with Oliver is too sad and awful to work into this so I’ll just leave it out there, hanging uncomfortably on the edges of this overlong blog post.)

Also whenever I took a shower I felt like it was a race against the clock because while I was in the shower he was being left unattended. The crazy thing is he was in his little pen in a confined space with everythig he needed away from harm and yet I still felt like I was endangering him. I suddenly understood the appeal of the sensible mom bob. I stopped wearing makeup. And my sleep was affected quite a bit at the beginning as we figured out our routine which involved constantly getting up to let him out of his crate with the hopes of potty training him. I felt that whereas childbirth gives you nine months to prepare to be wholly overwhelmed, puppy ownership just ramps up without any warning. Except that’s not quite true because we did do some preparation, the worst kind. We read a bunch of books that only freaked us out more. My head was full of neurotic dog equations. Ok so he has to meet 100 other dogs within the first this many days or else he won’t ever be socialized and if you try to do it once he’s this many weeks it won’t take and he has to be exposed to this during this phase of his life and this during this phase or else all is lost and suddenly you have an ill-tempered feral brute on your hands. We were under such enormous pressure—entirely self-inflicted although I kind of blame those books—to get it right in a very short amount of time. “If all else fails, just play with your puppy when you bring him home. Just enjoy him and get to know him,” a dog trainer at Petco told us as we were buying all the things we’d need before bringing him home. Just play with him? Get to know him? I had half a mind to call the ASPCA on this loon dispensing such irresponsible advice.

So on day one and a half of dog ownership we recorded a show and it all came out on my face. Or at least, more than I was okay with.

I talked to a therapist around that time to find out why my face was betraying me and what I could do to get it under control. What I began to remember, as we talked more and more, was that when I was five and my sister was one we each got pretty sick and had pink eye, as is common in kids. For whatever reason the pediatrician prescribed an eye ointment for me and drops for her. Each night before bed my mom would squeeze a ribbon of ointment into my lower lid and I’d blink a few times and the world would be fuzzy. I’d keep blinking until it became clear again. It was pretty unpleasant and maybe a little scary to have this gunk squeezed into my eye but nothing like what was happening to my sister who got so sick and had such a high fever she stopped talking and began moaning. My parents began to panic, worried her fever was so high it was causing permanent damage which thankfully it didn’t. As I remembered all of this in therapy I began to cry, which is usually how I know I’ve hit upon something big. And I’m not sure why or how but after that, I stopped blinking hard.

Which brings us to earlier this year when I was thrust into a surprise transition which I felt I handled pretty well all things considered, not missing a beat with my own podcast and blah blah blah. The way all the violence of the beginning of the year manifested itself though was across my face once again. When I guested on Jordan Jesse Go, host Jesse Thorn pointed out that when I said the name of my former employer my left eye began twitching. That was a true twitch—involuntary—but the facial tics weren’t far behind. (Meanwhile I should point out that in the last four minutes I think I flexed and relaxed every single muscle in my upper body one-by-one. It’s like I’m doing upper body kegels. Which aren’t a thing.)

The thing about facial tics is you might think you can just squeeze this thing over here and stretch out that thing over there and blink and little and swallow and make a sound and no one will notice but what feels like a tiny little movement to you is actually very, very noticeable. See: Robert Durst whom I see myself in minus the murder and horrible spelling.

What was I saying? I don’t know. It’s weird it all happens on the left side of my face though seeing as how that’s my better side. What a cruel fate. Oh wait, I just crinkled everything on the right side of my face and that felt pretty good except now I have to balance it out by squeezing my left elbow.

I did some TV appearances recently and whereas normally I would feel nothing but ecstatic over the chance to be on camera since I think we’ve established it’s truly where I shine, I was worried that I might do a very particular sort of face scrunching that I was doing a lot of at that time. What is the face scrunching you ask? Wrinkling the top and sides of my nose. Not side to side, like Bewitched (although how cool would that be?) but kind of up and down. It’s not the most unnattractive thing, but still better to NOT do it on camera. I realized there was something I could do to keep the muscles of my face occupied for the duration of my appearance and that was to make sure I was smiling, which is an action, as opposed to trying to NOT do something which is an absence of an action and might result in a weird frozen expression.

As a side note: I also realized that my need to scrunch was much worse when I was applying under eye cream. I’ve gone my whole life eschewing moisturizer since I’m someone who tends to break out and it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve started moisturizing after a series of makeup artists pulled their hands away from my face in horror after brushing up against the crocodile skin handbags I call my cheeks. “You’re really dry!” they’d exclaim before slathering my face with something from France. It was always “from France” and it was always happening faster than I could start to say, “But I tend to breakout,” at which point they would assure me that whatever they just coated me in wouldn’t cause me to break out because it’s from France. I think it was this. It’s only in the last few months that I’ve deigned to put anything other than the lightest most oil-free moisturizer anywhere near my face. Maybe I do need a little something extra around my eyes, I thought. And I liked the results, the skin definitely seemed a little smoother and more youthful except I think I could feel it sitting on my skin, causing me to crinkle. And so, in an effort to be less scrunchy I stopped using it.

I should say that whatever’s causing the stress now is no longer the stuff from earlier in the year but new stuff! Maybe I should Botox my whole face?

P.S. I actually intended to write about IVF, infertility and how I found myself trying to get pregnant later in life but I thought, first, let me alienate you with a story of weird facial tics. Ok bye!

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Big news!

I’ve decided I’m going to start blogging more.

Here are some things I might blog about:

Infertility

IVF

Why I didn’t freeze my eggs

The fact that all three of those are kind of the same but I’m trying to make this list look longer

Pigeons

Balloons

Endometriosis

Fuck, is it only shit involving my lady bits?

How I feel about the events of this year and how I both wish I said more, sooner, and yet also wish I never said anything at all.

But I am a graceful, classy and refined lady.

Farts and poop.

Burps!

Dignified, really.

I really need to pee.

HATERZ

Ok then.

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Story about ARIYNBF in The Modern

The Modern interviewed me for a story that ran in their October issue. Being interviewed is still a pretty new thing for me, as I’m used to being on the other side, and I have a thousand critiques for myself. Instead of listing them, I’ll just present the story. Maybe I’ll list them later. But I really did enjoy talking with them and love what they’re doing with the magazine. Thank you, The Modern!

The Oct cover

pages 18-19 in The Modern

Adam Carolla’s awesome sidekick gets her own podcast — and it’s an instant hit.

By Ronald Sklar (The Modern, Oct 2012)

Keeping up and matching wits with the entertaining hyper vigilance that is Adam Carolla is not a job suited to just anyone. His daily complainfest (available for free on iTunes) is the most downloaded podcast on the planet, and for good reason: it’s funny, it moves fast and it is never, ever boring. That’s thanks to Carolla’s opinionated brilliance, and his willingness to share personal and professional issues (parents, kids, show business, LA, airports, cuisine) with his devoted following of millions of obsessive, devoted Corolladdicts.

Like the boxer he once was, he’s quick on his feet and thinks fast. Between breaths, though, is where Alison Rosen speaks up. She heads Carolla’s news desk (i.e., reading top stories from an iPad).

Reporting the news to Carolla is akin to poking a big bear with a stick. You are going to get a reaction, and it’s often unpredictable, dangerous, and so angry it’s funny. She also puts her two cents in when needed, going the twelve rounds with Adam and making it look effortless (it’s not).

“It doesn’t feel brand-new anymore,” she says of her day job, which she’s had since January 2011, “but it does still feel like I’m learning. I feel like I am a big part of the show, and I know that listeners have a relationship with me as well, but I always want to be there to help Adam make the show that he wants to make.”

The California native is immediately likable; smart, funny, knowledgeable and personable, and balances Carolla like 60 milligrams of Cymbalta. But is he really the man we hear on our iPhone? Or is he just playing Adam to the tenth power?

“He’s the same guy,” she assures us. “It’s not an artificial version of him. It’s just a more amped- up version of him. [Off the mike], he’s all different percentages of the same dynamic.”

With the immense popularity of The Adam Carolla Show, it would only be a matter of time before Rosen was awarded her own podcast, called Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend (available for free on iTunes). In contrast to Carolla’s show, Rosen’s one-on-one talks with guests get deep fast, sometimes even ditching the funny for the serious (not that it’s not ever seriously funny). The gift Rosen has in spades: getting people to let their guard down and open up, even the most superficial and dark people on earth: comedians. Recent guests, who shed some surprising emotional baggage, included comedians Jeff Dye, Andrew W.K., Bobcat Goldthwait, Marc Maron and Chelsea Peretti (it’s still not too late to hear these joints in the archive). Nothing was off-limits in their chit chat (which was more chat than chit), from parental issues to former lovers.

“I have always been very inquisitive and curious about people,” she says. “My tendency, when I am talking to people, is to draw them out. I worked as a journalist for years and I did interviews. So maybe in the course of that, I’ve honed my technique a little more. But people say I am a good listener. And I tend to remember a lot of details about them.”

Part of what charms the snakes out of the basket is Rosen’s willingness to open up about herself as well, with an unabashed look at her own insecurities and shortcomings, of which she claims there are many (she even features a segment of the show entitled “Is it just me, or everyone?” For example: Do you feel pressure to buy the hair products your hair stylist recommends to you?).

“I’m very open with myself,” she says, “and I’m very honest with the things that I struggle with, vulnerabilities or things that confuse me. Because I am that way, I think that it might encourage the guests to be open about what they are struggling with too. I think people can pretty quickly tell from my tone that I like to talk about deep stuff. I’m not judgmental at all, and I think people feel that.”

The show captures a mood, a vibe that couldn’t be matched on terrestrial radio or talk TV, further proving the solid future and increasing logic of podcasting.

“I really think that podcasts have replaced books for a lot of people,” she says, “in the sense that the ideas that you are listening to really get into your head. It’s almost as if these are your own thoughts that you are having, these ideas that are penetrating your brain — as opposed to watching TV or a movie, where you are experiencing it but it is less intimate. It’s the slow unfolding of an idea. It’s just a slower pace and it is more contemplative.”

Her podcast is striking a chord and growing its audience weekly, and Rosen holds the connection together steadfastly.

She says, “Part of the human condition is feeling alone and feeling like a freak. Everyone walks around feeling insecure, feeling like any exchange they just had didn’t go exactly as planned. They could have been smoother; they could have been funnier. But people are so busy pretending that they don’t feel that way or that they shouldn’t feel that way. So that’s what I do on my podcast: that thing that you do that you feel is just you – no, that is everyone. Whatever kind of freak you are, you are much more normal than you realize.”

A friend indeed.

Subscribe for free to Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend on iTunes, or alisonrosen.com Subscribe for free to The Adam Carolla Podcast on iTunes, or www.adamcarolla.com

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