March 8, 2021

Enjoying Pho, Harassing Celebrities, Profiting Off Friends, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating Vietnamese soups, spotting celebrities in public, profiting off friends, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Seeing celebrities in public
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: What should I do about a friend who is profiting off of her friends? Is it rude for my mother to do laundry in our house without permission? Is there a polite way to tell someone to wear a bra?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Too many pastries, An inappropriate joke
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Thanks to the neighbors, Making folding tolerable




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


Nick:Do you harass celebrities? Do you profit off of your friends? Do you do laundry without permission? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out.

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better

When we have to live together

We can all use a little help

So people don't ask themselves

Were you raised by wolves?

Nick:Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah:And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick:And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah:Whoa-ho! Let's get in it!

Nick:So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about phở. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Leah:Did you say "Uh?"

Nick:No, I said "Phở."

Leah:The soup?

Nick:Yes, the soup. The famous Vietnamese soup.

Leah:I actually had it yesterday.

Nick:Okay, well, wonderful! So for everybody out there who may not have had phở, it's often spelled p-h-ở on a menu with, like, a little symbol on the O. And so for pronunciation, the correct pronunciation—or as close as I can get—is pho. And Vietnamese is a tonal language. And so it's a low falling and then rising tone, kind of like Mandarin's third tone. So it sounds like you're asking a question. Phở? And if you have trouble remembering, I think about it as "fahget about it!" Like, a very New York ...

Leah: [laughs]I love that.

Nick:So phở. And there's different variations on that, but I think if you pronounce it somewhere in that world, I think you're on the right track. And if you've never had it, it is indeed a soup, and it has noodles and herbs and spices and meat and other things. And it's very popular in Vietnam as a street food. And it's very commonly eaten for breakfast, which, you know, delightful way to start your day. And some people compare it to ramen. And I don't know about that. I mean, it's, like, noodles and meat in a soup but, like, so is Campbell's chicken noodle soup. So I guess it's closer to ramen than it is, like, angel food cake. But, you know, it does definitely feel like its own distinct thing.

Leah:Oh, definitely. It has so many layers of flavors.

Nick:Right? And so there's lots of different ways to do phở, but I think it's all about customization. It's all about making the soup the way you want it. And so this is how I do it. I would love to hear from any enthusiasts out there about how they do it, and if there's any ways for me to step up my game. And so when you get it, a big bowl of soup is gonna arrive, and it's gonna be very hot. And the first thing you want to do is just smell the soup, and then you want to taste the soup. Because the whole name of the game is the broth. Like, the broth is the thing that these places really specialize in. And it's simmering for six hours, 10 hours, 24 hours. Like, they really care about the broth. And there's also gonna be a plate that's gonna come on the side that's gonna have, like, some accouterment, like bean sprouts and Thai basil, chili peppers, cilantro, mint leaves, lime wedges. And then there's also gonna be, like, hoisin and sriracha on the table. So you have your bowl of soup, and now it's time to start customizing. So Leah, how do you customize your phở?

Leah:I think I usually put the leaves, the mint leaves first.

Nick:Okay. You're gonna rip out some mint leaves and, like, sprinkle them all over the soup.

Leah:And the place where I get it here, they have actually slices of jalapeño.

Nick:Okay, yeah.

Leah:And I drop that in, and then I put in my sprouts.

Nick:Your bean sprouts, okay.

Leah:To sort of mush. And then I put it in hot sauce, and then I do lime last.

Nick:Okay. Yeah, I think the general rule, if there is a rule, is that you should respect the broth, but then do whatever you want.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick:So I think that's the spirit of Phở. And so once you've added everything you want to add, then you just basically stir it kind of up with your chopsticks and then you can eat it. So here are some pro tips for advanced phở eating. You can customize it throughout your entire meal. So just because you added something at the beginning doesn't mean, like, now you can't add anything else. You can continue to customize as you go along. So let's say you like crunchy bean sprouts. So you can add, like, a little at the beginning, and then you can add, like, more at the end. So make sure it's, like, crunchy the whole time.

Nick:Some people like to get rare beef, and they like to have that on the side to add it themselves to the soup, so that the heat of the soup can actually cook the beef to the exact temperature that they want. So, like, you can do that. Some people don't like to lower the temperature of the soup with bean sprouts or these other sort of like fresh ingredients, so you can actually ask for the bean sprouts to come steamed.


Nick:So they're warmer. So you can add warm bean sprouts. I mean, that's really advanced.

Leah:Also, I'm very hungry now.

Nick:And some people add the hoisin and the sriracha to the soup, which is fine. Some people like to have it on a little side plate, and they just dip meat into it as a separate thing. So, like, do whatever you want. And there's this thing where you can ask for the fat that's skimmed off the broth in the kitchen, and they can bring it to as a side. And then you can add that fat back into your soup if you want. And that is flavor. So, like, that's a way to dial it up to 11.


Nick:So to actually eat phở, it's a two-handed affair. So with your dominant hand, you're gonna have the chopsticks, and with your less-dominant hand, you're gonna have a spoon. And you hold both of these things together at the same time. We're not alternating. And so you get, like, noodles with the chopsticks, or you can add the noodles to the spoon and eat it as you wish. But you have both of these implements at the very same time. And that's pretty much it. Like, that's phở.

Leah:So delicious. And for honesty's sake, I called it "foe" up until this year. I didn't know until this year it was phở, and now I just learned that I go up at the end.

Nick:Yeah, go down first and then up, yes.

Leah:It's so hard for me to do that without, like, actually moving my body.

Nick:Move your body, get into it. Yes.



Nick:And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.

Leah:This is a funny one, I think.

Nick:Well, potentially. We'll see.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick:So for today's deep dive, I want to talk about spotting celebrities in public. So this happens, and so what should you do? What should you not do?

Leah:I think why I thought it was funny immediately is because I feel everybody has a story where they humiliated themself because they lost their mind around a celebrity.

Nick:So I think the first question is: what's a celebrity anymore? What even counts?

Leah:I would honestly say anybody who you don't know in real life but recognize from something. If you've never met them before, maybe they're not like an A-list celebrity, but if you don't personally know them or they're not like, "Oh, hey. You went to school with my friend," it's more like, "Oh, you're on that thing?" That counts.

Nick:Okay. That does feel fair. Yeah, that does feel like the correct definition now. And it does feel like the rules are the same regardless of the level of celebrity we're dealing with.

Leah:Yeah. I think the rules should be the same for interrupting anybody during their regular life to ask for something.

Nick:Right. And have you ever been starstruck?

Leah:I have, yeah. And it's one of my most embarrassing stories.

Nick:Can we hear a snippet?

Leah:I don't know. Is it gonna be—I'll just say it. I'll just say it.

Nick:Okay. This is a safe space.

Leah:Is it?


Leah:I also need to paint the picture, because ...

Nick:Please. The scene, take us there.

Leah:I had just had Lasik surgery.


Leah:So I had blue blockers on.


Leah:I was home in Maine, and I had borrowed my mother's denim jumper.


Leah:Blue blockers, denim jumper.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah:The big grocery store is in another town. So I was with my ex-boyfriend in another town going to the big grocery store.


Leah:Willem Dafoe ...


Leah:Willem has a—had. I believe he sold it. Probably my fault. A ice-fishing shack ...


Leah:Near my family in Maine. I come around the corner, I see Willem Dafoe in the liquor aisle. I lose my mind immediately, and my boyfriend at the time was like, "You love him. He's been a lot of your favorite roles. Like, just go up to him." I would never have.

Nick:Okay. You were egged on.

Leah:I was egged on.


Leah:And so I walked up to him, and I wanted to say something about his performances or just how inspired I was, and instead I'm pretty sure that I stepped in too close.


Leah:Because my eyes weren't working. And I realized I was too close because he physically moved himself into the liquor. you know what I mean? He was, like, leaning back. And I was like ...

Nick:I see. You heard bottles jiggling as he hit the shelf. Okay.

Leah:Yeah. I was like, oh, no, my—my vision is off, and I stepped in too close. And I think I said, "Willem Dafoe? I love you." I think that's what happened. And then I sort of blacked out because I was so humiliated, and I just ran out of the store.

Nick:Okay. And then he sold all his property in the state and has never returned.

Leah:In his defense, he really tried to be polite. Obviously, he's at his ice-fishing shack, he's trying to get away. This late teenage girl shows up in blue blockers and a denim outfit and is like, "I love you!" I'm still mortified. I can't watch any movies with him in it now, because I just—I just want to apologize.

Nick:I'm embarrassed for you.

Leah:Isn't it embarrassing?

Nick:Yes! So what have we learned?

Leah:I mean, I don't—I would never. I wouldn't even have never then. I was egged on.

Nick:I see. Okay. Yeah, I mean, I think for me, I have not, I think, had any starstruck moments just because I'm sort of unflappable when it comes to celebrity encounters. Like, I've interviewed a lot of celebrities just, like, professionally. Like, big celebrities, like, and then also, like, not big celebrities. And I think my attitude is, like, they're all actually just sort of people like us. You know, I think on some level, like, they're all just living their lives. And also, I don't want to give them the satisfaction of being starstruck.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick:I'm always like, "You're not cooler than me." So I think that's also part of it for me. But I think that's actually a big New York thing. Like, we ignore celebrities because part of it is just sort of like, we're also living our lives. But also I don't think we want to give them the satisfaction of recognizing them.

Leah:I think also we want to leave people alone here. It's a part of our core New Yorkerness where we're leaving, you know?

Nick:That's true. Yeah, we do like to respect other people's sort of privacy.


Nick:Hypothetically. Yeah, that's true. So I think in general, if you do see a celebrity, yeah, leaving them alone. It's sort of like a wild animal in the wilderness, like, don't touch them, just let them be. But I guess, if you wanted to say something, like, if you had to, like, express your love of this celebrity, like, is there a nice way to do that? Is there a polite way we can do this?

Leah:I think if the celebrity is not in the middle of doing something, like, if they're not ordering dinner with their family, or they're on a phone call, in which case I think let them have their space. But if you want to just, like, drop a compliment, "Hey, I loved you," you know? And not expect anything.

Nick:Yeah. Don't expect that this is gonna be like a relationship. It's just say, "I loved you in that thing. Thank you!" And then that's it.

Leah:I mean, who doesn't like a compliment, you know?

Nick:Yeah, if it's an appropriate compliment. Yeah, for sure.

Leah:I'm assuming if it's our listeners, it's going to be an appropriate comment.

Nick:Of course! Of course. I would expect nothing less. And I think you can do it if the situation in which you're doing it is, like, when you would make small talk anyway. Like, if you're waiting in line for the valet or you're, like, at Starbucks, like, I think if you can do it in a way where you're not skipping a beat, then I guess you could say something. It's sort of when you're pulling them out of their moment.

Leah:If you're at an event—I was trying to think of a place where I've actually asked for a photograph, which I hardly ever do.


Leah:But I was at an event, and I was at the next table, and then it was sort of like people walking around, meeting each other, taking photos. It was for the Ms. Magazine, it was the Gloria Awards. And Gloria Steinem was sitting at the next table, and she was taking photos with people. And I was like—you know, I said something nice. And then I asked for a photo, and I felt like that was okay when people were walking around talking, taking photos.

Nick:Yeah, that's sort of what was happening. I think what you don't want to do is take a photo without permission.

Leah:Oh, yeah. No.

Nick:So let's not do that. And I don't think we want to follow them either.

Nick:I also think when people are with their families. I've also been with people who are, like, very famous, and people will get mad at them. "Oh, why can't you talk to me right now?" You know what I mean? It's like, well, they're right in the middle of living their life. They can't.

Nick:Yeah. Yeah, don't get belligerent that a celebrity doesn't want to stop what they're doing and, like, talk to you.

Leah:Yeah, sometimes people are just doing their daily life things.

Nick:Yeah. Has anybody ever asked you for your autograph?

Leah:I have gotten—people asked for my autograph after shows, which warms me to the core. And one time I was walking, I was actually at 74th and Broadway. I was crossing the street, and a man was crossing this way, and he recognized me from something and he just shouted it out.


Leah:And it was a compliment.

Nick:You're like, "Oh, am I being catcalled?"

Leah:No, it was clearly—it was like he knew my—like, it was—he recognized my comedy, and didn't even want to stop to talk. Just wanted to, like, give me a compliment about my work. And I mean, it kept me going for weeks. I was delighted.


Leah:Because it was just a complement.

Nick:Yeah. No, it was just like a nice thing to be said, yes. Now I think one thing just to always remember is if you're gonna do it, make sure that you know who the person actually is. Don't confuse them for somebody else and be like, "Oh, I loved you in that movie" that they weren't in. So just make sure that you nail who your actual celebrity is.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick:Don't go up to Leah Bonnema and be like, "I loved you in Dirty Dancing!"

Leah: [laughs]Who am I in that?

Nick:You're Jennifer Gray.

Leah:Oh, great. Thank you.

Nick:Yes, of course. Who else would it—Patrick Swayze?

Leah:I know. I just was like, I don't know who I would be?

Nick:And we're back, and now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick:So our first question, quote, "I am in college, and whenever my friend group goes out for dinner or has some other expense to which we've all contributed, one person usually puts it on their card and everybody else Venmos their portion to the person who paid. One friend has parents who generously provide her with a credit card under their name, and she often insists on paying the bill with that card, which takes money from her parent's account, and asks us to Venmo our money to her own personal account. This is not limited only to dinners. She organizes group Amazon orders and buy snacks on trips to the store. When everything is added up, I am assuming she is pocketing thousands. I have no problem whatsoever paying for myself, but it is frustrating to know that she's collecting a four-figure check from her friends while we work more traditional jobs. Should I just mind my business or do I try to wrestle the check from her at brunch? Her card is always ready, so this will be challenging. I'm not the only person who feels this way."

Leah: [sighs]

Nick: [sighs]Yeah, I get this frustration, right? Because there does feel like there's some injustice. I'm working a traditional job, I'm paying my way through school, and here is this person who has a free ride. And that's annoying.


Nick:Right? But I do not believe our letter writer has been financially injured. Like, she is paying for what she owes. Everyone is paying for what they owe. And what happens between, you know, your friend and her parents is kind of like their business. If that's the deal they have, then I guess that's the deal they have.

Leah:Yeah, that's how I feel. I completely understand feeling annoyed, I get that, but it is their—a) we don't know what their business is.

Nick:True. That's true.

Leah:They may be working off a huge debt with their daughter. We have no idea. Highly unlikely, but it's a possibility.

Nick:Right. Yeah.

Leah:But also that it's just not, I think, for anybody to say anything. You could try to do separate Amazon orders, split up the check.

Nick:But to what end?

Leah:Yeah. I'm just saying if it drives you so—you know what I mean? If you can't let it go.


Leah:But I don't think you can say anything, because it's between her and her parents.

Nick:Because, like, what do you want to have happen? Like, do you want her parents to cut her off and to force your friend to get a job? Like, is that what you would rather have happen here?

Leah:I don't know if the friend is saying, "Oh, let me pay, and then I'll get the cash from you, and then I'll have this extra money." I don't know if the friend is saying that publicly, to make it so clear. In which case maybe this person could be like, "You have to stop saying that. Makes everybody feel weird."

Nick:I don't think the friend is saying that's what's happening, but we all know that that is what is happening.

Leah:No, but I'm saying if they went as far as to say it, maybe we would mention that that made us feel weird, that they keep bringing it up.


Leah:But if they're not saying it, I don't think it's appropriate to bring up.

Nick:Yeah. I mean, I get that this feels unfair, that your friend is sort of, quote unquote, "profiting off of you," but I guess, you know, the sooner you realize that the world is unfair, that there is no justice in this world, that there are just things that are unfair, there will just be people who are more privileged, that just is the way it is, that I think the sooner you get on board with that, I think the sooner you will be less annoyed with this. Because, like, this is not the last time this is gonna happen, where you feel like there's some injustice with how something is unfolding.

Leah:I think the choices are: stop paying for things with this person, or let it go.

Nick:And I think related to this, because I think this does come up for people who have credit cards that get points. Some people like to get "points," quote unquote, and sort of insist on putting on their card. And I think it is nice to share the points if you're with a friend group that, like, we all have credit cards that get us points or rewards. So, like, don't hog it. So I think it is good to keep in mind that, like, if you're always trying to get the points, you know, your other friends might also want points. So, you know, share the love.

Leah:Yeah. I think you could say, "Hey, I'm gonna throw my credit card down because I want the points." You could say that and see what happens.

Nick:Yeah. And I think we could rotate, you know? We could rotate among the group, that everybody gets the chance to, like, get whatever benefit is happening. This question does not sound like it's about the points. It just sounds like, you know, we are annoyed with our friend for banking cash. But I think a similar solution. That could work, though.

Leah:Yeah. That could be actually—I love that idea as a way to say, "Hey, let's rotate who does the card so we can get points."

Nick:Yeah. Okay, give that a whirl.

Leah:But I don't think you can mention the parent relationship.

Nick:Definitely not, no. None of your business, unfortunately. Sorry.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick:So our next question is, quote, "Is it rude for a guest to wash the guest bedsheets after sleeping on them? My mother has been washing the guest bedsheets the morning she leaves without asking or being asked to. My husband thinks it's rude of her to use our laundry room without asking. I think she's just trying to be nice. This habit of hers started when we were parents of a newborn. But our daughter is a toddler now, and we certainly don't need the extra help with laundry. I hate turning down a kind gesture and dislike doing laundry even more, but I must know, is it rude what my mother is doing?"

Leah:I don't think so.

Nick:My first thought when I read this was like, oh, finally, it's not a question about a mother in law, it's just a question about a mother. But then as I was just reading it, it was like, oh, no, my husband is concerned, and this is his mother in law.


Nick:So I was like, "Ah!" Of course, this is a mother in law question. Can't escape it. So I think we might have covered this in the past, that when you're a houseguest, there should be some conversation about what should happen with the sheets after you leave. Because some people just like you to leave them on the bed. I'll get it later. Some people want you to strip it. I guess some people might want you to actually do a whole load of laundry. So I think there should be some conversation between host and guest about, like, what should happen.

Leah:Yeah, I can absolutely see that. I don't think it's rude. It's not as if the mom is walking into your room and pulling your sheets while you're still in the bed. I believe this comes from her just wanting to be helpful and out of the way. If it bothers your husband so much, you could say to your mom, "Could you please not wash the sheets after you leave? We like to do it all together." But I don't think it's your mother.

Nick:Yeah, she is trying to be helpful and do a nice thing. Like, this is not a malicious act.

Leah:Yeah, she's making an effort.

Nick:Yes, she's making an effort to be a good guest. And absent other information about what you would rather have happen with the sheets, she is assuming that this is what should be done. I think that if there is no conversation about sheets when you're a houseguest, the default setting, I guess, is to leave them on the bed. Although I think you should always have a conversation with your host if you're a guest. Or if you're a host, you should let your guests know what you want upon check out. Now one thing that popped up is, is a washer/dryer like a dishwasher? Like, is using someone's washer and dryer, like, a more intimate appliance? Like, would we have an issue of, like, mom loaded the dishwasher? No, right?

Leah:Well, it would be if mom ran the dishwasher?

Nick:Oh, you think if mom ran the dishwasher, we would also have an issue of unauthorized dishwashing?

Leah:I feel like this person would.


Leah:I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. When I stay at people's houses, I always ask, "May I run your dishwasher. I was gonna do the dishes. May I run your dishwasher? Should I do laundry?" There is, I just feel, a caveat when it's parents.

Nick:Okay. And that caveat is what?

Leah:They're your parents.

Nick: [laughs]Yeah, they're not a houseguest. Yeah, they're your mom. It is different somehow.

Leah:I don't know about the dishwasher, washer/dryer. Is it the water? I don't know what this person is objecting to.

Nick:I guess it's just the intrusiveness, or I think maybe the husband feels like this washing is, like, a comment on their housekeeping, maybe? Like, you need me to do this because you're not capable. Like, maybe it has a little of that flavor, or that's how that's being interpreted.

Leah:He could also just be a person who doesn't like people touching his stuff.

Nick:Okay. But I think also in general, etiquette problems do arise when we assume something. Like, "Oh, you're pregnant!" "I'm not pregnant." So let's not assume that we should do the sheets. Like, let's just clarify. So I think in general, we can solve a lot of etiquette problems if we just clarify and just ask.

Leah:I love that.

Nick:So our next question is, quote, "My son has a girlfriend who comes over not wearing a bra. While this did give pause the first time she came over, I hadn't really thought it was too much of a concern until my husband mentioned wanting to address the issue after the next few visits. Is there a polite way to ask someone to wear a bra?" No.


Nick:So do you have questions for us? Send them to us. Whether or not they're super complicated or super easy, send them to us through our website, Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message (267) CALL-RBW.

Nick:And we're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to callVent or Repent.

Leah: Vent or Repent!

Nick:Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah:I want to give you the opportunity to go first. I always go first.

Nick:Delighted to. Okay, so I love a good bakery, and I love nothing more than on a weekend to explore New York City, go to a new bakery, have some baked goods. And so a Swedish friend of mine in town, she mentioned that there is this Swedish bakery that's doing a special seasonal thing called a semla bun. And it's this traditional thing that's sort of between Christmas and Easter. And it's like a cardamom pastry, and it has almond paste and whipped cream. So I'm like, I would like to eat this. And so I happen to be nearby, and they had one left in the window, because apparently some Swedish person who preordered it, like, canceled at the last minute. And so, like, there was one semla bun for me. And so I was like, as long as I'm there, I should maybe get a cardamom bun. And I can actually enjoy, like, a little fika now, like a little coffee break. And then I'll have the small bun for dessert tonight. And then it's like, oh, maybe I'll get a cinnamon bun, and I'll have that tomorrow morning with my coffee. And I'm like, that sounds perfect. That's totally lagom, which is like this Swedish idea of having the perfect amount of something.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick:So I'm like, lagom. Love it. So I stepped up to the counter and I'm like, I will take a semla bun, I'll take a cardamom bun and a cinnamon bun. And so the guy behind the counter, he says, "Is this all for you alone?"

Leah: [gasps]

Nick:And I was like, my internal monologue was like, "Did I just order a ridiculous amount of stuff?" And I say, "Nope, just me." And then he proceeds to get an enormous gift box, and he puts these things into the gift box. And then he proceeds to tie a ribbon around it, and it's the type of ribbon that makes the curlicues when you rub a knife on it. And so now he's making curlicues with scissors. And it's not like we have all the time in the world. There are people in line behind me, you know? Like, we have to move this along. And I've been to this bakery before. They don't do gift boxes for everybody. So was he trying to emphasize how sad it was that I was eating all these pastries, like, alone? Or was he doing it because he was like, "Oh, don't be sad. Pretend it was a gift from someone else?" So I am not entirely sure what etiquette crime was committed, but I know an etiquette crime was committed. And so I don't care for whatever it is that happened—I'm not quite sure what it was, but I don't feel good about it. And so that is why it is a vent today.

Leah: [laughs]I feel like there's two parts. The, "Is this all for you alone."

Nick:Right! Rude.


Nick:Very rude.

Leah:So rude. And then the second part reminds me of, have you seenLove Actually?


Leah:When he is buying the necklace for the other woman, and Mr. Bean is, like, adding all the ribbons and he's like, "I got to go."[laughs]

Nick:Yeah, it was that. It was like, do we need more curlicues on this? So—and for you?

Leah:You know, I'm going to repent.

Nick:Oh! Okay, Leah, what have you done?

Leah:So I can't be specific, because why I'm repenting is because the thing I said was probably inappropriate, but I'm gonna give you guys the rest of the story.


Leah:For our listeners, I don't love making phone calls.

Nick:You're a texter.

Leah:I'm a texter, or I want to see a person's face. So I will actually often walk to places to make an appointment because I hate phone calls. It's like if I can't read somebody's face, I feel somehow like I'm missing something.

Nick:But for appointments? Like a doctor's appointment, you would just rather go in person to schedule?

Leah:Yeah, I do it. It's been commented on, it's a ...


Leah:So obviously, I've had to push through this anxiety, so I've gotten into my phone calls.


Leah:A lot of places I know about people's whole lives. I'm friends with this guy, we're not friends, but we talk on the phone. I know his kid's in a spelling bee. How are they doing? It's very exciting. This woman just had a baby, and she's learning how to—she's also running her business from home. We check in. You know, I know my customer service people. We check in.


Leah:And they don't know I'm a comic. So sometimes I'll say something, it makes them laugh. It makes me feel really good, you know?


Leah:So I had this glitch on an account recently, and they kept resending me asking for information. I kept re-putting in the information. They kept saying they didn't have the information. I kept putting it in. They call me. They're like, "We don't have your information." And I said, "Oh, I think there's a glitch." So we went through it, and they had all the information. And then they went back and then repeated everything again. And then I made what I thought was a really funny joke.


Leah:Not about them, about me.


Leah:But it was edgy.


Leah:But let me tell you right now that my dad with the kid in the spelling bee and my lady working from home who just had a baby would have gotten it.


Leah:I thought it was maybe a little edgy, but since I had just spent thousands of hours of my life refilling the same information for these people, they could have given it to me.


Leah:I dropped this—we'll call it a gem. Maybe it was out of the G-rated, but it was still, I would say, almost tasteful. And there was silence for at least 30 seconds. I don't know if you've experienced 30 seconds of silence. It's a lot longer than it feels, than it sounds. 30 seconds of silence is hours. At which time, I realized maybe not appropriate to cross that line into edgy jokes with the customer service people.

Nick:So you bombed.

Leah:I bombed really hard.

Nick:You lost the room.

Leah:I lost the whole room. And I feel guilty about it. I'm really sorry to that woman. I thought that we were on the same page. We weren't. And that's why I usually actually walk to places to make appointments, because I cannot read the room if I can't see your face.

Nick:That's fair. I think that's a good lesson. Now I want to know what this joke was.

Leah:You don't.

Nick:Okay. Would I have thought it was funny?


Nick:Oh, Leah.

Leah:No, no. I mean, you may.

Nick:Oh, okay. *[laughs]

Leah:I thought—honestly, I thought it was hilarious.

Nick:That's probably part of the problem.

Leah:I bombed so hard with this lady I was like, "Oh, my!" I actually laid on the floor afterwards. I was like, "Oh that hurts so bad." I was like, "Did I go too far?"


Leah: [laughs]I'm not for everybody.

Nick:So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah:I love how my knowledge of this soup that I love so much has grown over this year. I learned first that it was phở not "foe," and now I learned that it's phở?

Nick: [laughs]Phở?


Nick:We'll work on that.


Nick:And I learned that Willem Dafoe no longer goes to Maine because of you.

Leah: [laughs]I know! I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, Willem. I loved you inWild At Heart.

N Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah:Thank you, Nick.

Nick:And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.

Leah:He would!

Nick:So for your homework this week, I want you to leave us a nice review. Wherever you listen to the show, leave a nice review so that other people might want to listen to us too. And we'll see you next time.

Leah:It would be so awesome, thank you!



Nick:All right, Leah, it's time forCordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!

Leah:I have been thinking a lot about people who have changed my life and made my life a lot better, and I've been thinking so fondly of the Bilo family who took me into their home two times as a teenager, and just were so kind and generous. And I'm so grateful to know you. And I love having you in my life. Thank you.

Nick:Oh, that's very nice. And for me, we got a niceCordials of Kindnessfrom our website,, which as a reminder, you can participate in. And it's, quote, "Thank you for making folding my laundry tolerable/enjoyable. It is a truly horrible chore for me, but I throw on an episode and voila! Folding done."

Leah:So fun and nice!

Nick:Isn't that nice? So you're welcome.

Leah: [laughs]