Comedy writer Megan Amram, who spent the past three years writing for NBC’s Parks And Recreation, has no scientific background whatsoever. Which was perfect preparation for her first-ever book, Science . . . for Her!, a pseudo-textbook tailored “to a woman’s interests and petite size” that manages to skewer vapid gossip magazines and sexist attitudes toward women with one brilliant thrust. We asked her to ask herself about it.
Where am I from?
Portland, Oregon, which is a small city in Northern California.
Was that supposed to be funny?
Yes? Oh, no. Was it not? Now I’m doubting everything.
Let’s talk about my book, Science . . . for Her!
Where did the idea come from?
I noticed that women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and textbooks look very similar, in terms of diagrams and columns, etc. Writing a satirical, feminist comedy book making fun of stereotypes about women seemed like the perfect project for me.
What do writing a book, a TV script, and a tweet all have in common?
They all have arcs. Even if it’s just a one-line joke, there is a beginning, middle, and end.
The book lists instructions for building a biological clock out of a potato. Is that really the way science works?
Yes! Women need to know why they are so baby crazy. Just remember: potatoes are for clocks, not for eating. Potatoes are carbs!
What nice things did people say about the book?
So many nice things. Vanity Fair said it “causes combustive laughter,” and The New York Times called it “$18.60 plus tax.”
Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?
I love to surround myself with things I love. I constantly reread favorite poems or short stories to put myself in the mood to create something good. I am a huge fan of music of all types and can’t write in silence. I listen to songs I love on loop when I write for days at a time. Right now it’s “Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder and Sia.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Eat seven gummy vitamins, drink six cups of coffee, and do The New York Times crossword puzzle.
What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?
Writing for TV is rarely sitting down at a computer and writing. So much of it is riffing off each other and talking things out. It’s way more collaborative than people think.
What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?
How do you keep track of everything you have to do?
I am obsessed with to-do lists. I have about six different ones at any given time. I also LOVE crossing off tasks, so I make the to-do tasks very small and finishable. Next on my to-do list? Look up if “finishable” is a real word or not.
What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?
I walk slowly through the aisles of CVS or Barnes & Noble or a mall. I find sensory overload to be helpful in inspiring me.
Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?
Stephen Sondheim. The genius of all geniuses. Talking about him too much will make me cry on my keyboard and then my tpying wlil gte msseed up!