© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Taylor Tomlinson is riding high with a new Netflix special and a late-night TV show


When your name is Taylor, especially in showbiz, the best you could hope for is second place.

TAYLOR TOMLINSON: It's honestly a burden to have that first name.

MARTÍNEZ: That is comedian Taylor Tomlinson. She's come to terms with never being a Swiftie's favorite Taylor, but she is surging in the rankings. Tomlinson's got a new stand-up special on Netflix called "Have It All."


TOMLINSON: Nobody wants anybody to have it all. When I was a kid, I didn't think you could have it all. When I was a kid, I thought you either got to be hot or have a good personality. I thought that's how people were divided. I thought life was fair. And that got me through a lot of ugly years as a child, where I'm like, it's OK that I'm not more symmetrical 'cause I have this great, awesome personality that will surely reveal itself any day now.


TOMLINSON: It's coming with my period and my Hogwarts letter. I can feel it.


MARTÍNEZ: And Taylor Tomlinson is the newest late-night TV host. Her CBS show, "After Midnight" comes on after Stephen Colbert. She's not behind a desk, though. It's less like Colbert and more like Alex Trebek.

TOMLINSON: It's really a show showcasing comedians, which is what I love so much about it. But it's not a real game show. I mean, it's structured like a game show...


TOMLINSON: ...But it's not. The whole thing is a bit. It's a fake game show.


TOMLINSON: Today's hashtag is #ruinaromcom.


TOMLINSON: I'm going to put 60 seconds on the clock, and you'll buzz in with as many jokes as you can that fit tonight's topic. Go.


TOMLINSON: Wiulia (ph).

WILL A MILES: Oh - "Forgetting Sarah Marshall In A Hot Car."


TOMLINSON: BriTANick (ph).

BRIAN MCELHANEY: "Bridget Jones' Diary Has Some Kind Of Racist Stuff In It."


MARTÍNEZ: So no one's winning fabulous prizes or glorious trips or anything like that.

TOMLINSON: No. No, no, no.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah (laughter).

TOMLINSON: We have a terrible prize every show. We've given away a broken office chair. We've given away a haunted doll. You know, we've had a lot of fun in the writers' room coming up with silly, fake prizes to give people.

MARTÍNEZ: When I see a stand-up in person or on the screen, I always think about how that comic controls everything about that space. But in this case, I mean, it's like you're controlling the room, but you're also controlling a panel and people. How are the two different for you?

TOMLINSON: Oh, it's so different. I mean, I get to laugh more. Like, I'm not laughing at my own stand-up. I might laugh at something somebody says during crowd work, but my show is a lot of me just laughing at other comedians cracking jokes.

MARTÍNEZ: Now, in your Netflix special, "Have It All," you said, at the time, you'd been single for a year, and you were fine with it.


TOMLINSON: Dating feels like being a stuffed animal in a claw machine. Like, oh, my God, it's happening. No, it's not.


TOMLINSON: Oh, my God. Here we go. Wow - can't believe I told people. That's embarrassing.


TOMLINSON: Oh, oh, oh, oh - and you're just moving me over to get to something else. I understand. I get that.

MARTÍNEZ: Taylor, people have been going on dates for, like, thousands of years. Why do we still suck so bad at it?

TOMLINSON: I mean, that's an impossible question to answer. I have no idea. There are so many, like, dating advice podcasts out there.


TOMLINSON: Like, and nobody actually knows. 'Cause if you're really good at dating, you're done, right? Like, if you're great at dating, you're either dating all the time - you're, like, a serial dater - or you are finished, and you found the love of your life. I don't know. I think dating apps are really interesting because, half the time, I'm like, oh, this is, like, the easiest dating has ever been because you can just hop on and, like, set up a date so easily. But then also, you know, there's all these articles about how dating apps are actually worse because everybody thinks there's always something better right around the corner. And you're just one swipe away, and nobody's ever satisfied. So I really couldn't tell you.

MARTÍNEZ: When I watch your stand-up, it's like you talk about dating like you're a scientist in a lab coat and a clipboard, and you're, like, breaking it down. Like, you study it more than you - maybe more than you actually date.

TOMLINSON: I think that's true. I think I do study it more than I actually date. I mean, there's a lot of jokes about, I have a friend who...


TOMLINSON: ...Because my friends date more than I do a lot of times. So yeah, I think I definitely gather a lot of information that then ends up on stage.

MARTÍNEZ: You know, Taylor, my brother - he just turned 45. He's still single. He tells me all of his dating war stories. Am I a jerk that I don't want him to get married so I can keep hearing those stories?

TOMLINSON: Oh, my God - not at all. I talk about that in the special, too. I think, as a single friend, you have more fun updates. Like, whenever I've been in periods of my life where I was dating a lot or friends of mine have, like, oh, my gosh. I'm on the phone constantly, updating people with whatever dates I had, because it's all new. Like, my friends who were in relationships for years and years - until they get married, they don't have a ton of updates other than, like, yeah, we're just happy, you know? Like, if they have updates, it's bad. It, like, might be ending if they have a lot of updates, you know?

MARTÍNEZ: Now, OK, I want to play another clip from "Have It All" because I've given what we're about to hear, Taylor, a lot of thought.


TOMLINSON: Nobody wants anybody to have it all. If someone has their soulmate, you don't want them to have their dream job, too. If someone has their dream job, they don't get to be in love on top of that. If someone has their dream job and their soulmate, bare minimum, their parents better be divorced.


TOMLINSON: I'd prefer they were an orphan.


MARTÍNEZ: So Taylor, isn't that what separates us from the animals? We feel better about what we have when we hear about people who don't have what we have.

TOMLINSON: Mmm. I mean, I haven't talked to any animals...

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter).

TOMLINSON: ...So I don't know. Dolphins are very smart, right? Maybe dolphins are comparing each other's - I don't know - swimming speed. I'm not sure. But yeah, no, I think there's a lot of comparison that goes on, especially as you get to certain points in your life, where, I think, as a society, we kind of have put these expectations on each other and ourselves to reach these milestones by 30, 40, etc.

MARTÍNEZ: You just turned 30 not that long ago. Was it some magical life marker for you?

TOMLINSON: What everybody told me would happen when I turned 30 did happen, which is that I sort of felt more like myself. And I'm just so grateful to be out of my 20s because my 20s felt so stressful. I think my 20s I spent, like, striving to achieve certain things. When I turned 30 and I had this new job, and I was filming my third Netflix special, which was so far beyond anything I expected to have by this age, I felt like, you know what? I think I've done everything I set out to do career-wise and then some. So I think that, weirdly, helped me relax a little bit, which I don't know if that's healthy or not, but...

MARTÍNEZ: It's got to be.

TOMLINSON: ...That's where I'm at. That's what I've uncovered in therapy.

MARTÍNEZ: That is Taylor Tomlinson. Just turn on any screen, any time - she'll probably be right there. Taylor, thanks a lot.

TOMLINSON: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.