Quick Bio: Jill is both a performer and writer. On Broadway she’s appeared in Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella, 9 to 5, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and the upcoming Beetlejuice. She has also written four musicals, including Martha Speaks, which toured nationally, and had a song in Broadway’s It Shoulda Been You. You can also catch her in TV and commercials, including most recently as Stevie, the Catskills desk clerk, in season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Beyond the bio: “Somewhere along the line I acquired the view that it was cute to belittle myself. I was either doing it to endear myself to people or to make the people around me feel better by comparison. But in middle age (I use that term kicking and screaming. It reminds me of “geriatric pregnancy.”), I’m realizing that disrespecting myself doesn’t make me likable or cute. It sets a bad example for my kid. It feels like a coping strategy for the privileged and, in fact, like another form of narcissism — “Look, just look, at how shitty I am! See?!” So I’m changing it. It can be adjusting my apologetic tone when I ask a question. Or not insulting myself to be “funny.” Or learning how to accept a compliment. How many men do you know who have that problem? A friend recently suggested taking the word “just” out of all emails: “I’m just writing to say…I just wanted to let you know…I’m just following up…” All that self-minimizing stuff—I’m noticing how ingrained it’s become and I’m trying to un-grain it.”
1. On the nightstand: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea. I truly do intend to finish reading all of those books, as well as the 47 New Yorkers next to them, but usually wind up going down a Trump shit-show rabbit hole on my phone until I fall asleep.
2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Stand-snacking all day. It’s not in my nature to sit down and have a proper meal.
4. Thing I miss: The mountains, hiking, not needing reading glasses, really good bagels with cream cheese on the daily, the discontinued cucumber seltzer at Prêt a Manger, first crushes, being in a choir, my son reaching his arms up to me when he was two. Now I have to beg him to let me pick him up and he’s so heavy I can barely do it.
5. 80s crush: Jason Bateman
6. Current crush: Jason Bateman (I went out of town for work recently and binged Ozark. Now that I’m home, I’m re-binging it with my husband who knows all about my Bateman obsession.)
7. Will whine about: Waking up early — it’s hell. I thought that having a kid would turn me into a morning person, but no. When I wake my son up for school I’m deliberately gentle with him because my otherwise soft-spoken mother used to come in and sing “It’s time to get up, it’s time to get up, it’s time to get up in the morning!” at the top of her lungs and it put me in a rotten mood. (I love you Mom.)
8. Will wine about: Meeting a deadline, booking a job, that moment when a playdate veers into 5 PM and the other parent comes a few minutes early. It feels wrong not to open wine at 4:42. I like parties but I LOVE gatherings. Just a few friends over, wine, snacks on every surface, catching up on each other’s lives and playing games. That’s my social sweet spot.
9. Best thing that happened recently: Superb weekend attending two Bat Mitzvahs. It was deeply special to honor the passage of time with people I love. To see my friends’ kids making dignified, adult-y speeches while a video montage played in my brain: I remember meeting your mom, I remember being at her wedding, I remember when you were born.To see the timeline of relationships extending in both directions, past and future, and pausing at this beautiful moment here in the present. It moved me more than I ever would have expected. There were a lot of waterworks. Plus I love a good hora.
10. Looking forward to: Everything Mueller. And going to a writer’s retreat in February with my two writing partners (Erik Forrest Jackson and Brad Alexander, my husband) to develop our new show, a dysfunctional dramedy with an unlikable protagonist. After that, I start rehearsals for Beetlejuice on Broadway and I’m outrageously excited about it.