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Colin Jost Quotes

Colin Kelly Jost

Colin Jost quotes: on attending Harvard, what it’s like working at SNL, dealing with critics, and more.

“Careers are made by choices.”

“We have to remember that progress isn’t just a straight line upwards, okay? It’s a weird roller coaster where sometimes you’re screaming for joy, and other times you’re barfing in your own face.”

“You never want to be the smartest person in the room because you always want to challenge yourself and try to get to the level of the people you admire.”

“When you go to auditions and you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

“I took all the criticism to heart, and I was really really sad for about two full years of my life. I felt like I sucked at the thing I most wanted to do in the world, and that is not a pleasant feeling. I also started feeling like I was a bad person because some people viscerally hated me so much, which is such a dumb, irrational mindset, but I couldn’t help it. I actually thought about quitting many times. I thought, ‘Sh*t, I’m trying my best, and people really don’t like me. Maybe I should just quit so that everyone on earth can celebrate.’ Then I got angry and thought, ‘F*ck you, d*ckheads. You didn’t work all your life to achieve this, I did. And I’m gonna do it, and do it my way, until someone pulls me off this desk.'”

“I try to be fair about everything, so I’m not a person who ever comes from a place of wanting to be mean or get people in trouble.”

“I think you really have to trust ultimately that if you’re coming at something from a good-hearted place and you’re well-meaning and with you’re doing, I think you have to go for it and then hope that the people are open-minded.”

“I walked onto the Crew team at Harvard and it paid off. Crew taught me discipline, and how to stay calm and mentally sharp even when I was physically exhausted, which is a skill I still use at SNL.”

Trump is smart. He went to UPenn for college and is a billionaire. How many billionaires are idiots, you know? It’s tough.”

“When President Howard Taft was campaigning for office, someone threw a cabbage at him, and he quipped, ‘I see one of my adversaries has lost his head.’ Bam! You just got Taft-ed. Take a seat cabbage head.”

“I majored in the history and literature of Russia and Britain. It has not helped my career.”

“I did go to college with him, but everyone’s always like, ‘Did you meet Mark Zuckerberg? Did you hang out with him?’ and I’m like, ‘No,’ because he was in a lab creating Facebook, and I was, like, learning about alcohol. Well, we did go to school, and I think I’m not really benefiting from that relationship in any way.”

“I never thought about ‘being’ in comedy when I grew up, because I didn’t know it was a real job. But looking back, it’s the only thing I ever really cared about.”

“Before I went to a meeting at The Harvard Lampoon, I had no idea that there was even a comedy magazine at Harvard, let alone that you could write comedy potentially for a living.”

“What I realized was: I might never have this chance again. In fact, I almost certainly would never have this chance again. Did I really want to look back and think, ‘I could have done more, but I was afraid people would think I was lame for trying too hard?’ I decided to try really hard.”

“It’s not an easy job to think creatively and then also have to think logistically.”

“There are some people who are way too sensitive about things. If you’re not using the vocabulary that’s new that they’ve helped define, then you’re not on their team, even though you want to be.”

“Learning to be your natural self in front of five cameras and a silent studio takes time. Trying to be funny under duress is probably a lot like trying to play golf relaxed under pressure.”

“Comedy is frightening at first because you’re opening yourself up.”

“Whatever I did, I always gravitated toward trying to be funny. If I was with friends, we were joking around. If I wrote for the newspaper, it would be a humor column. If I acted, I wanted to do comedy.”

“I always tell people, when they ask me what to do to be a writer or to be a performer, the key is to go to a place where there are a lot of other people who are trying to do the same thing as you and taking it very seriously.”

“When you’re around people who are trying to be funny all day and trying to one-up each other, that’s just naturally—if you want to do it—it’s going to make you better.”

“And the faster you find friends who challenge you and sometimes make you jealous, the faster you’ll grow as a comedian.”

“When I started at SNL, I was lucky to start early. I am the age most people are when they start doing that. It feels like a different world and capacity, like starting over in another challenge. A heightened challenge.”

“Each week, we might write 500 jokes for Weekend Update, and ultimately, we can only do about 10.”

“It doesn’t get better than making people laugh.”

“I’m preparing mentally to leave SNL in the near future. What made this the right platform to share that news in my memoir, A Very Punchable Face? It just felt right as I was writing. I think what I wanted to open up about was just that fear of leaving and the fear of letting go of something that has been so important in my life. It’s scary thinking about leaving. I guess, on some level, I needed to face that or think about it, and that’s how I ended up there. It wasn’t really with a specific date in mind or a timeline in mind. It really was the emotional process of thinking about it.”

“Part of writing this book was being excited to talk about parts of my life and weird episodes in my life that I thought that would be entertaining for people. Or for people to just get another chance to laugh at me.”

“It’s a world that I love so much. You just don’t know how often you get to work at a place like that, and the odds are zero other times in my life will I get to work at a place like that. So it’s a scary but a necessary decision to face at some point.”

“The COVID stuff has really affected how I feel about it because, you know, being away from people who make you laugh at work in that way for this long, really makes you appreciative of not only the job, but of the routine of being at work. Being isolated has taught me how much joy of the job is just proximity to my colleagues.”

“I’ve basically built an emotional escape hatch in my work and in my relationships, and my greatest fear—besides my trypophobia, or fear of holes—is leaving SNL and never finding anything I like doing more than SNL. The other part about leaving SNL is that it means growing up. Because no one who works at SNL is really an adult.”

“I’ve started to notice subtle changes in my life, like wanting to spend time with people who don’t work at SNL. Or wanting to attend human activities like birthdays, weddings, and dinners that start before 10 p.m. I’ve met someone I love and who I feel more comfortable with than I ever have before. I feel more confident committing to what I’m working on and standing by whatever I create, regardless of whether people like it or not. I’ve grown a ton since I began at SNL, so much so, that I’ve even woken up on a Sunday after a show and thought, ‘I would love to be raising a baby right now!'”

“Working at SNL is a drug. It’s highly addictive, and if I don’t stop soon I think my mind will be wrapped in an irrevocable way. And while whatever I do next will almost certainly be less fun than SNL, it could also be better in some way I never expected.”

“Drugs always scared me because I was worried that I would like them and they would derail my entire life. I never smoked weed until college and I never even saw cocaine until I was 27 and a writer’s assistant at SNL walked into my office and said, ‘Do you mind if I do coke in here?’ I was truly honored.”

“My mom was the breadwinner in my family. I always thought, ‘That’s how it is. I never thought that was the exception.'”

“Initially, I think I was eager to get off Staten Island and go away for school, that kind of thing. Then what you do maybe 10 years after that, you start maybe appreciating all the great things about the place you grew up. You can go back and enjoy it because you don’t have that angst or sense of struggle to get away anymore.”

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