Carrie Keagan is controversial and very in-your-face as a writer and a comedian, and her debut memoir, EVERYBODY CURSES, I SWEAR!: Uncensored Tales from the Hollywood Trenches, reinforces the point to the 9s. A television and social media phenom, she shares her very personal journey from being bullied as a kid growing up in Buffalo, New York, to becoming one of Hollywood’s most fearless and brashest hosts. After college, she struck out on her own to confront her destiny and makes waves everywhere she goes. Stay Thirsty Magazine caught up with her in Los Angeles for these Five Questions.
STAY THIRSTY: In your debut book, Everybody Curses I Swear!, you write: “Fortune favors the bold. So be bold. It all begins and ends with you.” When did you take that philosophy to be your mantra? Does it reflect the Carrie Keagan that your parents raised?
CARRIE KEAGAN: My parents have always been brave and entrepreneurial. My mom and dad have started businesses together and separately. They owned a huge health club for much of my life. So watching them takes risks and constantly push forward was my reality growing up. That was who they were and they instilled in me a need to always follow my dreams, be proactive and take control of my life.
Unfortunately for them, that meant that right after
college, I decided to move away from Buffalo. It was scary. I had only a few
hundred dollars on me and a couch to crash on, but if you don’t bet on
yourself, why would anyone bet on you. Opportunities will come but the real
question is will you be smart enough to see it and brave enough to act. You
simply have to meet destiny half way!
STAY THIRSTY: You have a long list of credits as a writer, producer, TV personality, entrepreneur, comedian and actress. Which medium suits your comedic style best and which one makes you the most uncomfortable?
CARRIE KEAGAN: I’ve always felt that I’m at my funniest when I’m being spontaneous. When there’s no time to overthink anything and you just have to do. So I would have to say doing live TV is the most fun and comfortable as strange as that may sound. When you’re out there and there’s no net, it is simply the greatest feeling EVER! It’s all instinct and it feels like one endless orgasm.
I wouldn’t say anything I do makes me feel uncomfortable cause why do it. But I have always believed that good writing, especially comedy, requires a willingness to bare oneself and be vulnerable otherwise there’s no truth in the work and you’re just full of shit! Finding that truth within you can sometimes be a complicated and fucked-up process…which can be somewhat uncomfortable. But these self-inflicted papercuts are very fulfilling…so I guess I’m a closet masochist…so bring it on!!
STAY THIRSTY: You have posed for Playboy, Femme Fatales Magazine and been featured on the cover of Garage magazine. Do you think your brand of sexual, confrontational humor would work as well if you didn’t look the way that you do?
CARRIE KEAGAN: The truth is that at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, it’s never about how you look, it’s about whether you’ve got any game. There are all kinds of reasons why someone gets into a room but only one reason why they’re allowed to stay. I’ve always felt that it was the depth of my wits and not the size my tits that helped me sustain such a lengthy and varied career.
STAY THIRSTY: You were born on the 4th of July. Are you the living embodiment of the American spirit of independence and a change agent for the liberation of women?
CARRIE KEAGAN: I’m very proud of the fact that I was born on Independence Day! The American spirit is a beautiful and precious part of my being. I believe that all women have the capacity to be change agents. It’s a not an easy or obvious choice and when you go down this road it’s a motherfucking battle every day! But I made my choice early on and I’d like to think that I’m doing my small part. But any real change is going to take all of us women stepping forward in unison and we can do it.
|EVERYBODY CURSES I SWEAR!|
Women are born to fight. We’ve been used as accessories. We’ve been treated like luggage. We’ve been owned like property. We are neither the inheritors nor the administrators of legacy. We’ve never had anything handed to us that we didn’t have to earn either before or after receiving it. We’ve been denied, diminished, devalued, and devoured by an androcentric culture. Let’s face it: Women are battle-hardened by design. We are the living embodiment of the old Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Each day we seize, each stride forward we make, and each success we achieve is an exercise in pure will.
In my mind, one of the most offensive words used to control women is “reputation.” For centuries, it’s been a noose that men have placed around our necks when we become teenagers. We then spend the rest of our lives trying to avoid hanging ourselves with it. Very rarely is it a reflection of who we really are, but more of a subjective opinion about us that comes with a hidden agenda. So, it’s only natural to care about your reputation and want to protect it. After all, our parents and teachers told us so. But what they didn’t tell us is that it’s an anchor that keeps you in your place. To move forward, you have to let that motherfucker go.
I, in my own small way, have been in the business of not giving a shit what other people think for fifteen years and counting. Believe me, it’s very liberating. I couldn’t tell you whether it’s the courage of ignorance or stupidity that powers my undying conviction. But I can tell you that I’m not trying to be brave. I’m just trying to be me. A truth that is always worth fighting for.
STAY THIRSTY: After conducting over 8,000 Hollywood interviews, which celebrities stand out in your mind as authentic, modern-day heroes?
CARRIE KEAGAN: That’s a complicated question. First of all, I applaud anyone who uses their celebrity to forward a good cause and fight for injustice but I’m not sure that every one of our modern day heroes is necessarily authentic. The good news is that no matter why a celebrity chooses to support a cause, it’s generally a win-win for the cause. But to be authentic, in my opinion, tends to deal with how much of your fight isn’t for the cameras and is, genuinely, a calling. Thankfully, there are many who fit this description.
A few standouts who actually give a shit and don’t give a damn if the cameras are rolling are Laverne Cox, Alicia Keys (who happened to be the first guest on my show “In Bed With…”), Shailene Woodley, Bono, Susan Sarandon, George Clooney and Adrian Grenier.
Having said that, I strongly believe there’s an entire segment in entertainment who are the true authentic heroes of their generation and generations to come. Those are stand-up comics. People like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Mom’s Mabley and Richard Pryor to name a few. Stand-ups don’t always get the credit they deserve but they represent one of the most important roles in our society.
They’re the hot teacher, the bizarre street philosopher and the sarcastic prick who tells it like it is, whether you like it or not. They are the whistle-blowers of pop culture. Speaking uncomfortable truths to help remove that bunk of denial we’ve been subconsciously hanging on to. Their comedy acts fill the only textbooks in our fucked-up society that we actually retain any information from. In five-minute bursts, they do the real schooling like a hotshot into your jugular.
They’re like existential firemen. We don’t think about them as often as we should but when the world is burning, they’re the first ones running in to save us and hose us down with their powerful spray. They are the brave and suicidal fuckers who stand on the front line of the battle for ideological progress. While the rest of us are casually accepting our fate, they are the ones that are changing the world with one seriously fucked-up joke at a time. We laugh. We cry. We’re offended. We move forward.
(Carrie Keagan photo credit: Matt Sayles)