Sharing a Dream (with Greta Titelman)
Greta Titelman is a brilliant actress, standup comedian, and writer set to star later this year in the highly awaited film Problemista, from A24 Studios. You might know her from her totally unique, singular roles in Los Espookys, Search Party, and Norah From Queens. Greta tells me all about how she created her online personas, built a support system, and learned how to love LA. Also, our early days with our respective husbands are similar stories which I found out by liking gossip a little too much.
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Elyse Myers, Greta Titelman
Elyse Myers 00:11
Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here, I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t. So this is going to be the theme song right here. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Funny Cuz It’s True. I’m Elyse Myers. Today’s guest is Greta Titelman, who is absolutely crushing it. I’m so grateful to Greta for taking the time to talk to me today about working with friends and the absolute confidence it takes to share a dream with the entire city of Los Angeles. She’s a comedian and actor, writer and the host of the hilarious podcast senior superlatives on head Gump. Greta really is the definition of a character actress with truly brilliant singular performances in HBOs search party, Nora from Queens and losest bookies. You can see her stand up on Comedy Central, and she’s starring in the highly anticipated movie problemy stuff from a 24. So two things that are funny because they’re true. Number one, Greta and I quickly discovered that we have very similar origin stories with our partners. And number two. Turns out there’s different iterations of hollywood Everywhere, like DC. You’ll see what I mean. Let’s get into it. Okay, Greta, hello. How are you doing?
Greta Titelman 02:47
Hi, I’m so good.
Elyse Myers 02:50
I was curious. Where are you located right now? Because I thought maybe you were in New York, really? And then I was like, Oh my gosh, maybe she’s California.
Greta Titelman 02:56
I’m in Los Angeles right now. I’m in Los Angeles. I lived in New York for 9 million years. And then I moved to Los Angeles to be sad with my husband. You know, we what? Sad with your husband. I’m saying for me to be sad, because I miss New York. And yeah, me and my husband are really sad together.
Elyse Myers 03:19
That makes more sense. Oh, it was like I need the T what’s going on?
Greta Titelman 03:22
Did I miss that? No, I moved to LA for my husband. So okay, yeah.
Elyse Myers 03:28
What was was it? Did he have a job here?
Greta Titelman 03:31
If we were in a little long distance, you know, we’re in a long distance romance. And I was like, Wait, are you in LA?
Elyse Myers 03:40
No, no, I’m in Nebraska for the same exact reason. So you guys were doing long distance? How did you guys meet?
Greta Titelman 03:45
We met because our sisters went to college together. And I was in LA, just like here for work stuff. And I happened to see his sister before coming up on this trip. And she was like, What are you doing in LA and but whatever. And she was like, You should meet my brother. He works at Netflix. So like, we joke that we met on a general even though he didn’t because he had no you know, he wasn’t doing anything that could help me honey. Okay, so but we did meet in the lobby of Netflix. And then I invited him to one of my shows and he famously brought a date to the show. I mean, it was fine.
Elyse Myers 04:34
Date to a show that you’re like, hey, you should come see me for four.
Greta Titelman 04:38
Elyse Myers 04:39
What did you feel when you saw him on a date? Did you just like see him when you went to go perform?
Greta Titelman 04:45
I saw him when I went to go perform and okay in full transparency. This is the first time I’m talking about this publicly in full transparency. When we met I had a boyfriend Okay, so he brought a girl do my show, knowing I had a boyfriend, but things were like fizzling out with me and my ex boyfriend. And then I think that weekend, nothing happened between us. We’re just like, hanging out. And then that weekend, it just kind of like, I like literally just fell in love with him so quickly. And I went back to New York, and I immediately was, like, broke up with my boyfriend at the time.
Elyse Myers 05:28
Did you break up with your boyfriend for your husband? Or was it more like, I shouldn’t be feeling this way about a person while I’m dating somebody. So I just this isn’t right.
Greta Titelman 05:36
It wasn’t working for a really long time. And then I think after meeting a job, it just solidified to me what I already knew, which was that I needed to get out of the relationship that I was in.
Elyse Myers 05:49
Yeah. So then you went home and you broke up? And then how soon after that, did you start dating? Um, like, right away?
Greta Titelman 05:57
I mean, essentially, like talking like, yeah, long distance. We started talking, and then we probably didn’t, he didn’t like become my boyfriend. until like, I don’t know, like, three months after that.
Elyse Myers 06:15
Oh, my gosh, I love gossip
Greta Titelman 06:19
Three months later, I moved in with him and moved to Los Angeles. And then like, a year later, we were engaged. And then we got married in 2020. Over COVID We got we had a tiny we canceled our wedding, obviously, because of COVID. And then we had like a little 10 person wedding in Los Angeles.
Elyse Myers 06:40
Did you guys ever redo the wedding that you canceled? Are you ever going to?
Greta Titelman 06:45
I don’t know. I’d love you to have like a celebration. Party, I’d love to have a party. But like I will say planning a wedding like we the whole thing was planned. Our wedding was supposed to be May 9 of 2020. So like, Everything was planned, we are already to go and like the fucking blue balls, you get of like, going through all of the audit of planning a wedding to then not have it. I just was kind of like, I never want to do that. Again. We’ve talked about having a five year anniversary party. I can’t believe that like our three year wedding anniversary is next month.
Elyse Myers 07:20
COVID. You like Blink and it feels to me like my life folded over three years like yours went into one like so all three years were like, just truncated into one because I can’t understand that 2020 to 2023. All happened in a normal amount of time as every other year.
Greta Titelman 07:39
Wait, so why you moved to Nebraska?
Elyse Myers 07:42
Yeah, I’m listening to your story. And it’s literally the same. So I was dating somebody and and I met my husband in a grocery store. What? Alright, so you all know this story, me and Jonas meeting in a grocery store. I’m going to spare you hearing it again. But just so you know, I told her and she was blown away by the similarities. So I moved and I like three days after I moved. Married, like seven months later. Wow. So very similar story. Like just similar. It’s just so crazy to hear, like, how similar our starts are with our person. But I’m curious if la feels like home to you now.
Greta Titelman 08:15
Oh where to begin honey. Well, first of all, this is like, this is pretty much a single industry town. So it was really challenging for me to move to a city where every single person shares my dream, you know what I mean? And being like an actor of being an actor, a writer, a comedian, whatever, just like, Yeah, it’s like, you almost get this territorial feeling of being like, a being like, but this is, this is my dream, like, this is my thing. Like, no, you can all be sitting here wanting to do the same thing that I do. So it was that it was like a productivity thing where, you know, I am someone that I put a lot of pressure on myself, I am extremely hard on myself. And you know, I think in New York or in a different style of city, I won’t just say New York, I’ll say a city that you can kind of leave your house and get lost for the day.
Elyse Myers 09:22
A walkable cities kind of.
Greta Titelman 09:24
If it much easier for me to like, put things off is maybe not the right term. But like, the things that I would want to do that I didn’t get around to do felt less glaring, whereas like days in LA days that would go by kind of I don’t want to use the word wasted because that’s negative and every day is your day to learn and grow and work. But every day that would go by where like, I wouldn’t sit down and be doing like hard work. I was like, You’re a loser. Like what are you doing, you know, No, like outside of like going on a hike and like getting a coffee in LA, like there’s not a whole lot to consume your day. So it was that it was me like, I felt the most insecure I’ve ever felt moving here, I realized, I mean, and I always knew this, but so much of my self worth and so much of my value is derived from my work. So moving to a town that also values people for their work and their celebrity and things like that. Yeah, was really hard.
Elyse Myers 10:40
Just confirmed things you were like already insecure about probably
Greta Titelman 10:44
Yeah. And I still grapple with that. Of course, I think everyone does. No matter how successful you are, no matter. I think that’s all tethered to being extremely ambitious. So I’ve had to work a lot on like, it’s made me work a lot of myself, which is really good. But this business, this business is hard.
Elyse Myers 11:10
It’s really interesting, because listening to you talk about when you move to LA, you kind of felt like, immediately everyone was your competition. It’s really easy for me to sit in Nebraska and feel like there’s plenty of room at the table and say that and mean it when I’m not competing in an industry that has a million people that are trying to do what I’m doing. And I can’t even imagine like, it’s so easy for me to sit here and be like, yes, it’s like, Don’t compare yourself, you know what I mean? Because I’m not trying to, like act in movies and like, do things that like is a very, like cool and common, like, industry standard type of thing in Hollywood. And like for you. I’m just so curious, how do you make friends in that?
Greta Titelman 11:48
Well, I’m really lucky that like, I started in comedy, like, I’m very lucky that I started in stand up and like of my quote, unquote, like show business friends. But side note, I have a ton of friends that don’t work in this industry. But like, for my friends, like some of my best friends that work in this business, we all started in comedy. So I think like, there’s innately a community in that, you know, it’s like, it’s people in theater will get mad at me for saying this, but like, it’s like theater, you know what I mean?
Elyse Myers 12:26
Yeah, like theater kids, like, all together.
Greta Titelman 12:30
I think it’s different when you’re pursuing like, performance, right? Because it’s like, we’re seeing each other at theatres, we’re seeing each other at venues, we’re doing shows with each other. So like, there’s this you’re building community and you’re building like a support system. So I feel really lucky that my friends came from that and in terms of like, being competitive with my friends like I don’t know I think it’s almost easier when you’re really close with someone or when you’re friends with someone because you can see how different you are like you know how different you are so you know, if my friend gets an opportunity that I didn’t get, I’m just like, Oh, well that makes sense because me and Zaarly that’s the name of my childhood stuffed animal. But like really are so different that like it doesn’t matter I think that the like the vicious game that we can all play with ourselves and I’m sure you deal with this too is like the internet you know what I mean? Like being online and like seeing someone that like I don’t really know but I know me and this person like compete for parts or like I lose a lot of stuff to them you know? Because like I’m still very much so in like a career building moment of time. I mean, I don’t know when I’ll not be but like, I’m not a household name. You know what I mean? I am a niche celeb. And I think it’s become interesting to to see like a lot of my friends become famous. That’s been another interesting, amazing journey.
Elyse Myers 14:13
We’ll be right back with more from Greta. Okay, so Greta, your online character work is incredible. I’ve watched many different ones including your step one video series, which is really funny. But where does the inspiration for all of those personas that you create come from?
Greta Titelman 17:02
I of course, like every character that I create, I love and comes from like a place deep in my soul that is like that person exists somewhere inside of me. Um, you know, it’s so funny. Like I love doing my stepmom character. I love that character. But that character gets me the most hate online. It’s so interesting. Like, it’s something that like, I think I love seeing the how polarizing it is because I have people that went about it as polarizing. I don’t understand. I have people that come up to me that are like, I’m obsessed with your stuff on videos like they’re so funny Baba, and then I’ll have people that like comment, like trolls being like, this is the most cringe unfunny thing I’ve ever seen. Like, of course, like go and be like rich alone in your house. And I’m like, Please, I’m dying to be rich alone in my house.
Elyse Myers 18:01
All that tells me is that I did a really good job making this video because they clearly don’t know.
Greta Titelman 18:07
I know. So yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I love making all of my little character videos, like, especially if there was like such a sweet spot in social media where it kind of felt like, you could post anything and people would see it. And then it became you could post something and have no idea if anyone would see it. So now I think I’m back to just being like, I actually don’t care if anybody sees this kind of place. Yeah, and all that matters is that I laugh. Like, if I think it’s funny, then like, that’s all that I care about. And I know that if I think it’s funny, other people will think it’s funny too. But I think that like, I do think that the internet is dangerous, because it’s really just like, you know, you kind of allow yourself to be at the mercy of the world in many ways, you know, and I think it’s like, to me, it’s so different than going and doing like a live show or then being in a television show or then being in a movie or whatever it is because with the internet, it’s like it’s free people can stumble upon your content, people can discover it, which makes it amazing, but it also just leaves you kind of as like an open target, you know, and I mean.
Elyse Myers 19:30
Do you find that acting like losses spooky is right that am I saying that wrong? Let’s this book isn’t yours. Okay, let’s just forget. Does it feel safer for you to act in things of versus putting yourself online like on social media?
Greta Titelman 19:47
Yeah. 100% Because of I’m like acting in something. And it’s me and someone is like, thankfully this has never happened. because I’m so insanely talented and amazing that no one has ever said anything negative about me acting honey. But like if someone were to be like, Greta teittleman is so bad in search party, I could be like, he’s like, okay, like, that’s not my son. My problem. I didn’t write it. You know what I mean? Yeah. But I mean, obviously, that would still make me upset. But like, I think that when I’m, like, have like, my tips flying out, and I’m pretending to be like some crazy British girl, you know, talking about like, can I say the word Cox? Am I allowed to say that? Yeah, saying those like, kind of crazy words. And then someone’s like, this girl’s not funny. And she’s like, ugly or whatever, then I’m kind of like, oh, that’s me.
Elyse Myers 20:51
It definitely feels like there’s like an extra shield of protection when you’re acting in something that you didn’t create from your own brain. How do you choose which projects to do? Do you just is it a feeling?
Greta Titelman 21:02
How do I choose which projects to do honey off your project? And I’ll do
Elyse Myers 21:09
You’re like I say yes.
Greta Titelman 21:12
I say yes. No, I mean, for the most part, I say yes. But I’ve been so so lucky and honestly spoiled that all of the projects that I have been part of have not only been shows that I’ve like wanted to be a part of or worked with people that I’ve been dying to work with, but most of the time I’m working with my friends. So like, that’s been really amazing for me, you know, Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, who are the CO creators of low spookiness, I have known them since I started doing stand up Julio and I went to the same college and it’s was so amazing, shooting two seasons of that show with them. And then I’m in problemy. So Julio is movie that’s coming out in August, and I just finished shooting another show with him. So it’s kind of like, I feel really again, going back to like that, like community aspect of comedy. I feel really grateful that I’ve like found my little crew of collaborators and friends because in this business, like I’m literally looking out at Los Angeles right now.
Elyse Myers 22:27
She showed me her view of Los Angeles and it was breathtaking. My view was the back of the closet I was recording from with my face smashed up against t shirts. So basically the same thing.
Greta Titelman 22:41
In this city that you know, I think about people that move here like from Nebraska with like, truly just like a fucking suitcase and a dream, honey, and I think about those people and I’m like, I really am like, God bless you. Because I could not do this if I didn’t have my friends like I could not if I didn’t have people in my life like cheering me on and like telling you know, helping fucking fluff my fragile little ego you know what I mean? I would be really lost. So I’m always just so impressed by by people that just have these like unwavering beliefs in themselves. That’s really beautiful.
Elyse Myers 23:26
All right, we’ll take one more break but more when we come back. Is this always something that you’ve known you’ve wanted to do was acting and comedy like since you were little? Yes, my whole entire life? Really? Did you have anybody in your life? That was an actor that you looked up to? Or was this just you came out of the womb? And you’re like it’s go time? Yes, this baby.
Greta Titelman 25:45
Yeah, really? Yes. My dad was a lawyer. My mom worked in politics. They both kind of worked in politics. It was so Wow, I did not have the opposite. Yeah, I mean, is it also know though, is it you know, they call DC Hollywood for Ugly people. So you know, that is what they call it.
Elyse Myers 26:03
To anyone who lives in DC. I am sure that you are gorgeous. Did you do a lot of performing and stuff like when you were in school? Really?
Greta Titelman 26:11
Well, when I was a child, I was a dancer. And I loved to just be on stage. I also was like one of those again, I see on tick tock like, someone was like, Put your finger down. If you were the kind of kid that would like hold your family hostage at like dinner parties and make them watch you perform. And like that was me. Like I would I had a choreographed dance to back in the USSR by the Beatles that I would like make whenever my parents would have a dinner party. I would truly like hold the dinner party hostage and make them watch me.
Elyse Myers 26:49
Would you pull out like a boombox and be like it’s go time?
Greta Titelman 26:52
Yeah, I mean, I would turn I like figured out how to like use my family stereo and I would be like it’s go time.
Elyse Myers 26:57
Do you have a video of this somewhere? If not, you have to make a video of this.
Greta Titelman 27:00
I wish, see that is the thing. My family we were not like camcorder family. And like we were like hardly like picture family. I’m also the third I’m the youngest. So by the time I came around, they were just like, whatever, you know, they’re like, Okay, this one what I’m gonna do?
Elyse Myers 27:22
You need to recreate it. You need to recreate it at home and like, if you can remember the dance, you need to be like, You need to watch this and then do the dance.
Greta Titelman 27:30
I mean, I really like I have many moments in my youth like my under 10 youth where I thought to myself I’m a like sexy starlet like I just like I think I really admired obviously this is like so cliche, but I was obsessed with Lucille Ball. And I was obsessed with like old movies. And I just wanted to be a 1950s actress. Like that was my my dream. I wanted to be an I drew of Genie so bad. And yeah, I wanted to just like, are like the Brady Bunch, because I grew up watching Nick at Night. Yeah, and then, you know, like, I went to high school, the theater director at my high school hated me. So she never put me in anything. And then I did she hate you because I was gorgeous and talented. And she was jealous obviously.
Elyse Myers 28:29
Because you were a sexy starlet, right?
Greta Titelman 28:31
I was a sexy star. And she just like couldn’t bear see me, you know, live in my life. So she was like, I’m gonna thwart this girl. So then I didn’t really do any performing. Until my mom died when I was 21. And then when my mom died, then I was like, huh, I need to be like, actually pursuing my dream in life.
Elyse Myers 29:00
Did you did? Did she ever get to see anything that you like? Were a part of in terms of acting?
Greta Titelman 29:08
It all happened after. You know, I know that my mom knows. You know what I mean? Like, I was always performing for her constantly. So I know that she knows that. Like, this is what I’m doing. You know?
Elyse Myers 29:26
100%, what would be your dream? I guess if you could imagine a dream role for yourself. What would that look like? A dream
Greta Titelman 29:35
Role for myself? Well, I’ve written I’ve written myself my dream role I’ve written myself a film, but I get to be the part that I want to be.
Elyse Myers 29:48
Greta does this a few times and it makes me laugh every time but she does this like funny accent when she’s saying something serious because she doesn’t want to sound cliche, but also she believes what she’s saying. So she tries to like do it. In an accent to make it not as serious, I hard relate to this, as this out that I can read or see or you’ve written it, and you’re gonna just make it.
Greta Titelman 30:10
Ah, I’ve written it i If anybody has, you know, a casual, like three to $5 million, we will be seeking that. And you know, just because like I’m kind of on my manifestation journey right now. I’m just gonna say that. Yes, honey, you will be able to see the film one day.
Elyse Myers 30:32
It’s gonna be amazing. Yeah. Okay, Greta, thank you so much. This has been so great.
Greta Titelman 30:37
Thank you so much. It was so lovely meeting you. And thank you so much for coming on my show. And I mean, coming. This is my show now.
Elyse Myers 30:51
Thank you so much for joining us on another episode of Funny Cuz It’s True. You can see Greta in the upcoming movie […], and you can find her on Instagram at @dirtybird. Catch you next week. If you want more Funny Cuz It’s True. Just subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts for some exclusive bonus content. Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Johnny Evans, additional help from Noah Smith and Ivan Kuraev. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh. Follow Funny Cuz It’s True wherever you get your podcast or listed ad free on Amazon music with your prime membership.