When she was working at Google in New York City, Sarah Cooper was set up for a career designing user interfaces (her favorite project — making the toolbar for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides). But she knew what she really wanted to do was comedy.
“It was kind of ironic that I felt like I was giving up on my dream,” Cooper said on the latest episode of Recode Decode. “A lot of other people’s dreams is to work at Google, so my fallback career is other people’s idea of a great career.”
Speaking with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Chorus CEO Dick Costolo, Cooper talked about how a viral blog post led to a book called “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings,” released in 2016. Today, she’s a stand-up comedian and is working on her follow-up book, “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.”
“There’s a whole chapter on gaslighting and how we can do it better,” Cooper said. “It’s a whole how-to, ‘Gaslighting for Beginners.’ My husband does this to me all the time; I’ll say, ‘I don’t think this works’ and he’ll say, ‘Literally no one has that opinion.’”
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On the new podcast, Cooper also talked about how her stints working at Yahoo and Google have influenced her comedy. One of her stand-up bits riffs on the well-known practice of calling new employees at Google “Nooglers” and ex-employees “Xooglers.”
“They call the older Googlers ‘Grayglers,’” Cooper said. “That’s anyone over 25. They had trouble coming up with a name for the black Googlers, though, so they just decided to call them ‘Jake and Sean.’”
She and Swisher debated whether software engineers are intentionally funny, with Cooper arguing that they are. But some of Silicon Valley’s more eccentric fads, such as biohacking or the recently in-vogue “raw water” movement, just make her laugh.
“I went to a breakfast and this girl was just eating a stick of butter,” Cooper said. “She literally had a stick of butter in her hand and was eating it like a lollipop or something. Everyone’s just like, ‘Oh yeah, this is normal! This totally makes sense!’ No one comments on it, because you don’t want to look stupid.”
“Oh, don’t you want to live longer?” Costolo asked. “Who isn’t spraying coyote urine all over themselves before they go to bed? What are you, an idiot? You’re gonna be attacked in the night!”
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.