In “I Don’t Know You, But I Play You on the Internet,” comedian Sara Benincasa thanks the woman who got her to where she is today: Sarah Palin. But first, she compares notes on their collective beauty pageant experience…
Dear Sarah Palin:
That seems like a fair enough place to start. You’re a fortysomething failed sports reporter/beauty pageant contestant who recently made it to the top of Alaska politics and almost grabbed a really big Federal gig. I’m a twentysomething failed schoolteacher/former beauty pageant contestant who recently made it to the top of the stairs of my apartment building and almost got inside before puking everywhere (dinner was rough, heavy on the shellfish). Okay, so our victories are different, and yours are surely larger than mine, but I like to think they connect us somehow.
I must clarify something about my beauty pageant experience. I was in seventh grade, a girl who grew up behind thick glasses under a mound of unruly hair. I had just gotten contact lenses and felt pretty for the first time in my entire life. I took up baton twirling, a gateway activity that frequently leads to entrance into the sordid underworld of tweenage beauty pageants. The conclusion of my short career in pageants was this: I placed 86th out of 88 girls at the 1994 Miss Majorette of America (Novice Division, 12- to 15-Year-Olds) competition in South Bend, Indiana. It was a stinging defeat. Which leads me to another thing we have in common: the painful experience of being rejected for a job we know we were born to do.
SARA BENINCASA a comedian, writer, and talk show host on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. She’s written for Nerve.com, The Onion News Network, the Travel Channel, and others. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she created original web video content for the humor site of The Huffington Post, 23/6 (www.236.com). Her Sarah Palin vlogs won the ECNY Award for Best Comedic Short Film and were shortlisted for the Webby Awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Individual Performance. She was also nominated for the ECNY Emerging Comic Award. TV appearances include MTV’s Total Request Live and CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. (She was more psyched about the latter, as she fell in love with Wolf during his sensually arousing Gulf War coverage in ’91, when his Cable ACE award-winning reportage stirred her ten-year-old loins to a spring awakening.) She is currently paying off a graduate degree in teaching from Columbia University by bringing her one-woman show, Agorafabulous!, to reasonably priced venues in a city near you. She’s also writing a hilarious book about living with agoraphobia and panic attacks, also (tentatively) called Agorafabulous! Her website is www.sarabenincasa.com.
Read the rest of Sara’s letter, and 35 others, when PS: What I Didn’t Say comes out October 1!
Note From the Editor: Although I have never met Sara in person, I have developed a fondness for her because not only is she hysterical obviously but she keeps telling me that things are “rad”.