December 13, 2018

Meant2Be: A robot, she wasn’t

I had just finished my delicious pulled pork sandwich at the bar when I saw him talking to a group of people. He was my comedian friend’s roommate, and his name was Danny Lobell.

I introduced myself to Danny and felt something I had never before experienced. I was immediately drawn to this man. Although we talked for only a few minutes, I knew that I wanted to be with him.

So I did what any 21st-century gal does: I started stalking him online. Danny was also a comedian. I friended him on Facebook. He was on Facebook chat a lot. I’d turn my chat on for hours at a time and hoped he would message me, but he never did. When our mutual friend told me Danny ran a comedy podcast, and that I should intern for him for some senior year credit, I jumped at the chance. I got hired. 

My first day at the show, “Comical Radio,” I remember bringing Chris Hardwick up from security and getting lost with him in the maze that was the City University of New York at Baruch College, where the podcast was recorded. I was embarrassed, but Danny told me I did a great job. He invited me to see him do stand-up that week in the basement of the now-defunct club Comix on the West Side of Manhattan.

When I got there, only a few people were in the audience, which I learned was pretty typical for a New York City comedy show. I sat down and watched some mediocre comics go up and tell mostly dirty jokes. Then Danny went on. 

He did a joke about having an Israeli uncle who made the Humpty Dumpty story into a rant on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He did an impression of an aggressive African Bible salesman on the subway who also sold bootleg DVDs, and did a bit about the irony of Jesus being a carpenter and getting nailed to a cross.

I laughed hard. I’d heard enough. I wanted to be in Danny’s life.

Over the next few months of my internship, I took on more responsibilities booking guests on the show. We’d sometimes work out of Danny’s apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where he had the sweetest dog I’d ever come across, named Juno — and a pet rooster. 

Danny was unlike anyone I had ever met. Even when everyone was miserable on the subway, Danny would talk to strangers and make them smile. He was best friends with his neighbor and co-rooster owner, Blanco, who frequently got hyped up and screamed “Showtime!” out of nowhere and ran a tattoo parlor out of his kitchen. Danny worked hard and didn’t let anybody tell him no. He’d wait his turn for hours to do a spot in the Village and then go on at 2 a.m. in front of an audience of five drunken people just to get some stage time.

After I graduated from college, I got an internship at the satirical news organization The Onion, which was located in Manhattan. The only problem was I had nowhere to live. I asked Danny if I could stay with him, and he said sure, I could take his room, and he’d sleep on the couch. I suspected he wouldn’t be on that couch for long.

Before I moved in, I wanted my friends to hear all about the guy I was crushing on. So, we tuned into an episode of “Comical Radio.” I used to be extremely shy and monotonic, and I always had a hard time showing my emotions. Danny’s co-hosts were joking around about how they thought I was a robot because of this. Danny defended me, saying, “Don’t call my Kylie a robot.”

“Did you hear that?” my friend Rachel said. “He called you ‘my Kylie!’ ” 

I couldn’t stop smiling.

I moved in. On the first night I got there, we were watching the awful Johnny Depp version of “Alice in Wonderland,” which Blanco had bought off a subway bootlegger. While we were sitting together, Danny reached for my hand. I held his. He squeezed mine. I squeezed back. 

All that time, Danny had felt that same spark, since he first met me. Before I arrived at his place in Brooklyn, he’d hoped and prayed that I liked him, too. He also suspected he wouldn’t have to stay on the couch too long. 

More than six years later, we’re married and living in Los Angeles. I gave up pork, among many other foods, and converted to Judaism, bringing Danny back to being observant in the process. He’s still plugging away at comedy, and I’m his committed wife as well as a manager. I’m a “wifeager,” if you will. 

We have our own little petting zoo now. We are the proud parents of Juno; a Boston terrier named Bayo; a tortoise named Mr. Tenenbaum; and five chickens: Sweetie, Bowie, Minaj, Air Force One and Peacock.

As for that couch, it turns out we were both right.