Tom Papa and Fortune Feimster co-host a radio show for Netflix’s SiriusXM radio channel, so not long after Feimster’s Netflix special aired, here came Papa in February.
Telling us we’re doing great in February is one thing. Reminding us in July? Are we doing great, still?
What I wrote in February:
There’s a bit, excerpted in the trailer, in which Papa imagines waking up one of his daughters in the middle of the night, questioning himself really about whether he’s going to make it. In real life, Papa has made it, with his multiple radio gigs and steady touring schedule. But the bit speaks to the self-doubt that creeps into our thoughts, for which Papa perhaps rightly blames not just social media but also the news.
“You want to feel better about yourself? Turn the news off.”
We might be much better off not watching or listening or seeing the steady stream of arguments and desperate declarations on 24-hour news channels, or the exaggerated heightening of reality of our supposed friends and celebrities on Instagram or Facebook. But then again, who is that we referring to? It’s those of us who have “regular” lives not impacted by politics or policy. It’s those of us who are living truly privileged lives, whatever our gender or skin color, who go to work and live our lives, and for whom, all of the screaming and shouting and puffing of chests makes no material difference, if we stopped to think (or even more to the point, not think) about it.
Papa wants to put those of us at ease. Everything’s going to be OK, because everything is OK, for us.
He suggests readjusting our own expectations out of life, and setting more obtainable goals. For him, it can be trading a life of comedy touring for working in a bagel shop on the Jersey Shore? For you, who knows. Papa winds up doing quite a bit of crowd work with a couple in the front row, learning about their lives and perhaps illustrating this philosophy that everyone really is doing great.
Can we still do that now?
As Papa reminds us, there’s no going back to the good old days. So we best hope for the future normal, whatever that might be!