We recently sat down with Camp David member, Jordan Carlos. Jordan is a Writer and Comedian, currently working on TV Shows such as “EVERYTHING’S TRASH” and “CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS?”, the podcast “ADULTING” and and his own Standup Special: “ARE YOU STILL DOING STANDUP, JORDAN?”. Jordan was kind enough to interview during his hourlong break from the writers’ room on “Everything’s Trash”, show created by Phoebe Robinson, which airs July 13th on Freeform. We picked his brain about what it’s like to work in his profession.


Oh my god you’re aging me. It was 1998 at Stand Up NY on Broadway and 78th Street. Open Mic at 4 in the afternoon. My friends all came and I paid $5 and I came on stage and you have to be dumb enough and naive enough to think “That was great!”. I remember thinking “That was great” but I can’t even remember what I said — I made some joke about King Kong…. yeah … about how King kong went through these huge doors on the island escape. But like the people — why did they build this doors. Shouldn’t they have just made a wall that was high enough as the doors that they built. To keep Kong out? Were they thinking “I guess this guy can be rehabilitated and maybe — maybe they were optimistic. Those doors show optimism” Or they had a death wish. 

Giant Doors! Higher than anything on the island. And after that, kind of got that rush. And then I wanted to do stand up in the city, but it’s such a — standup in NY is such a hard — and almost like —it’s bloodsport. You don’t make any money doing it. You can’t make it in the city. You have to leave or you have to be on the road and do this and that. So I was like doing advertising for like 5 years. I would do advertising in the daytime and then then standup at night. You become a total night owl — you burn your candle on both ends. But I just remember thinking like — I just want to save up some money so I can just do what I love, and eventually that became what I did. I saved up a whole $5K dollars. and now, so I never have to work again. And then … I went broke right away doing standup. There were all these other things that helped me up— you have to be a Swiss army knife if you’re gonna do comedy or entertainment or showbiz in NY. Working in an ad agency kind of made me know all about this — so I started to audition for commercials and I got really lucky and I got into about 20 commercials and kept the lights on so I could keep doing the comedy. But then I was like maybe I’m interesting in writing?


(claps hands) My first love. She’s tough. She’s beguiling. She’s got huge Aquarius energy. We don’t know what she’s really into. Brick Wall behind you.


I did improv in College. And that definitely informed what I wanted to do. I studied economics in college. Well I was like — I’m not good at this. So I had to find something else to do and improv definitely helped me stay like happy in college — balance y’know —  and it was something to look forward to and I loved the community. And I liked the funny kids and funny people and how they negotiate life — how they get through these days and at that point of view just really resonated with me.


Not me. Not me. Actually one of my very best friend’s name is Jordan — and so he always says that. He’s a banker. Everything is a negotiation. So yeah that’s his thing. Life’s a negotiation.

Hanging out in the 5th Floor Library


She’s one of those people who kind of like tries to manifest, y’know? She would just tell me that — all these things she wanted to do. ‘I wanna have an imprint, and I wanna do this and I wanna do that’ and I was like, ‘Oh yeah yeah, sure sure great’ And then she did all the things. And so, getting to work on this is like really cool. It’s fun to work with friends.


I’m a producer on the show. So basically, it goes staff writer, story editor, exec story editor, producer, co-producer, executive producer. So I’m like a lieutenant or something like that.


It’s so much different than umm legit acting — there’s a lot more of hustle to it. Yeah. It’s a lot more on your own. And you kind of check in with your camp to see if y’know if what you’re doing is on the up on and up and will it harm this? And can we do this? And you just kind of — yeah it’s different. It’s more like you’re the tip of the spear rather than people kind of like creating a career for you. It’s a lot to figure.


Delivery is everything. And how you present your point of view, what you choose to talk about, the topics you choose to talk about, what matters to you — you don’t want the audience to decide what you’re going to say. You want to make sure that you go and find your audience. Y’know? And people relate to you — because if you’re held hostage to your audience you’re not gonna have fun. Not gonna be fun at all.

I did one special it was really fun back in 2015 and I kind of at that point, I was starting to get into like writing more seriously. And I’d been doing standup for a long time, even at that point — but I thought I well, I wanna get more serious when it comes to writing. So, I put standup on the back burner. And now finally I’m kind of trying to put it more at the fore, so that’s why the show was called “ARE YOU STILL DOING STANDUP, JORDAN?” Because that’s what people ask me at dinner parties.


I’m from Dallas. 


September 2001. A couple days before 9/11. My first was show for 9/11 and then we’d written the day of the show on side walks. Sidewalk chalk was how we promoted it and people were really jazz. And yeah well — the show was canceled. And so, people at the time were like “will we ever laugh again?” things like that. So it was hard to stay in the city and still do comedy. Now people, we really laugh through tears and it’s great. We’ve lived in difficult times and it’s cool that at least the silver lining that you get to make chicken soup for the soul to negotiate their lives.

There hasn’t been— entertainment, storytelling, and winking distraction has really expanded since COVID, since everything. And it’s kind of like – did I foresee it? Totally. But it’s kind of like — I feel like I’m in the right place at a bad time. So, it makes me happy when people come to shows OR see the content that I make and it puts a smile on their face. It makes it all worth it. It definitely yums the yuk.


No. It’s a toddler expression. Something I tell my kids “don’t yuk other people’s yum”, “don’t be mean”.


Adulting! All the more. It feels like — once you have a handle (exhales). A bit more of a handle on things like your schedule, your routine and things like that.  It feels good and yeah then you adult all the more. So it’s really cool yeah we had a podcast on WNYC. And it was so much fun and we would do live recordings and we stopped, obviously because of the pandemic. And what happened was, umm, basically y’know — somebody from Exactly Right Media and the podcast “My Favorite Murder” heard our show and they were big fans and they wanted to bring us in to reboot the podcast. So two years later we’re rebooting it — we have so many stories to tell, and so much catching up to do and our careers have taken off, which is really fantastic. So it’s like, we also wanna check in not only with each other, but with our friends and how they’re doing. We’ve had so many great guests like, we’ve had everyone from Vanessa Williams to Jim Gaffigan, and it’s fun because they were always live shows. And we just talked about what we’ve let go from childhood, what we’ve held onto unfortunately.


So much, from my childhood. I think uhhhh worry. Just like — uhh a need for approval. And because I was constantly — I constantly wanted that as a child. And a feeling that people were keeping score. Like ultimately I would be called onto the carpet or something like that people one way or the other if I was good at what I was doing or not. But I’m 44 now, I know — I don’t look a day over 43. I look pretty good. I go to the gym (pointing to Industry City Athletic Club), sometimes  — the shower is great.

That kind of thing of being hard on myself I’ve let go of and just kind of embraced myself a bit more. Don’t have to do all of them — just five minutes at a time.

I haven’t let go of Snickers bar though! Like a working man’s Payday. I like to give love to candy bar’s that don’t get love. That’s something I learned from my mom. Like a Symphony bar. She’s like “we’re helping” I’m like “mom, they’re all owned by nestle. It’s not like we’re helping these people up.” Too much TV watching.


To write, basically I started asking my reps, my agents my managers, like “how does one get to write for late night?” And they would show me the packets that needed to be written, and things like that, and I was like “that seems like a lotta work”. But you just wrote them anyway, in coffee shops whatever. And the packets, I think at the time would be like writing for Conan, writing for Leno or writing for Letterman. And you were trying to send in your best samples of their monologue or whatever, your best monologue jokes stuff like that. I had kinda gotten close on a few, but I never, never connected. And it was only when I started — well there were two things that happened:

In 2009, I got into a writing fellowship in California, for CBS, which was really cool, because all the people that I graduated with went on to do things like — one was an Exec. Producer on the WALKING DEAD, another one, has a show called on right now called “the cleaning lady”. And another one became an EP on Grey’s Anatomy. So it was all these kinda like, so I got in as this kind of comedian, autodidact who’s like self-taught, but had a written a pretty decent script — they were very kind. And so I did it, and it’s just me and a bunch of USC, NYU Film school, Columbia film school kids. And I’m like “oh man, Im in deep water now” because they understand the process, they understand so much more than I do. And I remember almost quitting, but then hanging in there and just saying “how I can learn from these people, y’know just shut up for a second and let it go and learn from them”. And then that, that fellowship was where I learned how to write a script. Now it would take me… so that was 2009, but I wouldn’t write on my first sitcom until 2018. It takes a while. And I was doing it from NY.

And so I just persisted. Sometimes it was a bit of a blur. I even, to get my first late night writing job in 2013, I stalked the Exec. Producer of the Daily Show, who was then coming on board to a new show, called the Nightly Show, the guy Larry Wilmore, the guy who helped create the show BLACKISH. And so, like, I stalked this guy to a panel, he was discussing the environment — important. But I came up with like 3 good questions, where it was like comedic questions that would maybe get me noticed, and it was me and a bunch of retirees. So like, I kinda of stood out. So after I even hazarded going up to and saying like “I know you’re doing this, creating this show with this guy” sounds very interrogative — “I know what you do, I know what you’re up to” So I told him “I know about the show. I know about your work,. If there’s ANY chance that you could read some of my samples.” And he was like “Screw that, Come on over to my office.” Cause you never know when you write packets, it’s hard to get them seen. So this guy was just like, he was something, his name is Roy Albanese, and he was just a force of nature.

An 8 time Emmy award winner, Roy Albanese. In some of the most important  years of the Daily Show, the integral Jon Stewart days — he was the Executive Producer. So I go to the office, and we just talked for an hour and a half. And I just — I got the job.

And then I was off to the races there. He kind of allowed me to spread my wings. I was a writer performer on the show. I got a feel for that. Wasn’t scared of going in front of camera and that was a cool experience and it just got me more plugged in to a point where, by the time I wanted to — the show was over after two seasons — but, I kinda didn’t look back after that.

And was like, had the confidence to present myself as a writer-performer who can be in front of the camera or behind the camera and things like that. And subsequently, I did like three other shows — so “FIRST WIVES CLUB” for BET,  “DIVORCE” for HBO, the first time I ever got to write for a sitcom. And then finally, I went back to late night and did the show for this guy “Charlamagne tha God”. Which was really cool — I mean it’s always a patchwork, it’s crazy. I wish I could paint you a linear picture of work in the entertainment industry. Time is a flat circle — isn’t that what Matthew McConaughey, says? Are you gonna argue with him?


I also host a show on AMC, “CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS?” It’s just about how people love movies, but like, sometimes movies don’t age well. And that’s alright.


I’m a secret drama queen. I love drama so much. EUPHORIA, and then — well know TV is just like homework, the finals are coming up, so I binged GILDED AGE, YELLOW JACKETS, oh my gosh, STARSTRUCK. All these really good shows, some are dramatic, others are not. I think the best thing is, there’s this multiplicity of wonderful stories you never would have gotten maybe even like five years ago, and it’s like on all the time and you can just see what you want all the time. I think the best part of entertainment now is the kind of — it’s like a hose, just a hose that’s on blast and you can get lost in it if you want to. Back in the day, man, you’d to wait for DUCKTALES at 4:30, y’know. It was rough! It was really rough!


I’d probably go back to advertising. Advertising is a place of stifled creation, which is the same as show biz. Because very few people in show biz really get to what they want to do. So like that’s why I liked advertising so much, because there are so many creative minds, so many brilliant minds in it. Like Jim Gaffigan was in it. Phil Hartman was an ad guy. There’s a place for you, cause sometimes the ground just shifts beneath your feet. Sometimes it’s just like —maybe, maybe you ain’t what they’re looking for anymore. If that’s the case then I’d want to go back and then I’d definitely teach. I’ve learned so much from teaching.

I remember when everything shut down, I just stopped writing on a show (FIRST WIVES CLUB), and then I was like, ‘cause teaching opens you up and makes you ready to receive, and so I was teaching sitcom writing for the summer of 2020 for like no money, and it was all love. People were crying during some teaching sessions. We didn’t know if TV was gonna be made again. And then randomly I got a call from the Drew Barrymore Show asking if I wanted to write for them. You know morning TV? Which was nuts. I took the job — and she couldn’t be more charming and wonderful, but the interview went well because I had been teaching, it was a just different energy that I really enjoyed. the difference between self-interest and the interest of my students, that’s the Morning TV energy.

And I really enjoyed it. I was in Maine for the summer on this little island. And that was kind of like, it’s not about me, it’s about y’all. And in the interview, it was like “so what do you wanna do?

It wasn’t about me trying to get the job it was about the vision. And so the more curious I was about her the more it sparked. And I love that feeling and ultimately if all this went away tomorrow I would just go back to teaching.


I think like I wanted to be like Spike Lee when I was a kid. I think he has a cool life. I mean you can either love, or be semi-annoyed by Spike Lee. But I don’t think anyone hates him. I mean I just love the Brooklyn Brownstone thing. And the way he told stories and his whole book and how he was like best friends with Michael Jordan and you know his cool commercials, harassing Reggie Miller in the garden. That whole thing his whole thing — this guy gets it. And so yeah, I wear glasses, I got a brownstone in Brooklyn, almost halfway there — I just can’t get the Knicks floor seats — they’re just too much money, for a — for a losing team!


Don’t try to impress other people. Create something and hang in there. Most of the time they’ll get you — most of the time, life will try to get you to quit. But the people that hang in there the longest—  I think totally undervalue hanging in there. You know they do the 30 under 30, 20 under 20, 10 under 10. Like people are so hung up on youth that they don’t see the value in wisdom and age and experience.






Not really an ornament. It’s the giant coffee bar — it makes it — I love walking by it everyday. And I’m like “this is so cool” Didn’t y’all just have a TV show that was shot here. Law & Order? See. It’s an attractive space. It makes me so happy to work here. I’m geeking out here. It’s so architecturally sound and pretty. There’s not a lot of people that walk through that space who are being a loud. You ever notice that? The power of design. Definitely library whisperer. That piece is so reverential that I feel like I’m in a little church or sanctuary. A sanctuary of people following and pursuing their dreams. And they don’t want — they need to be quiet — and that’s so hard to come by in NYC.


Nobody’s keeping score. I think I got that around college, junior or sophomore year or around then. It definitely made me do things that I was like “ok it’s embarrassing that I’m still working on this thing” or whatever. It makes you become more vulnerable and not worry so much on people’s take on it. “cause frankly it’s just a take.


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