Five Things

This week’s guest on Five Things is Ophira Eisenberg, stand-up comedian, writer, and host of the NPR comedy game show Ask Me Another. She’s also got a new comedy special just out, called “Inside Joke,” which she taped when she was about 38 weeks pregnant with her first child. She was 43 years old and never thought she’d be a mother — and she is very honest about some of those concerns that first-time moms have, but rarely share in public.

We had a great conversation about some of the things that she values, including a collection she never meant to have, some jewelry sent to her from faraway relatives, and the pickiest plant there is.

On learning parenting lessons from her own parents:

“My mother always did tell me I could do whatever I wanted, I will say that. She always told me I could do whatever I wanted, so that was very strong, that I had choices. You know, I would have to pay for my own choices, and fund and figure out the resources for my own choices, but I could have them. So I do that with my son already, except for someone already told me, ‘never say he’s smart!’ Because then they won’t try. You’re supposed to always commend their effort, not their idea of their intellect. So clearly I’ve already screwed that up.”


Ophira Eisenberg’s snow globe collection.

On when she started collecting snow globes, and friends started giving them to her:

“It caught on like wildfire, because snow globes are very cheap and they’re readily available. So people would buy me snow globes — I mean, this hobby just blossomed out of control. And then it got weird, I would be getting birthday gifts of snow globes and Hanukkah gifts of snow globes. People would travel all over the place and bring back a snow globe, they would be reminded that I collect them, they’d pick one up at an airport here or there. It was kind of amazing.”

On her beloved orchids and what she learned from them:

“There’s something that someone said to me early on about how you have to treat stand-up comedy, if you want to succeed. They said, you can’t be an orchid. You can’t be this flower that needs specific conditions in order to bloom and thrive. You have to be a weed. You have to just survive everywhere. So I was like, well, I’m going to have an orchid and cater to its specific needs, and I’ll be the weed!”