Meg Stalter is famously her own biggest fan — if not you, then who? — but even she has been a little awed by her recent success.
Now she is laying the worst of 2021 to rest. On Dec. 23 she’ll bid farewell to “hot vaxx summer” in a flirty-girl get-up, in the second edition of the Amazon annual special “Yearly Departed.”
The hyperchatty Stalter was star-struck by a lineup of fellow comics that included Yvonne Orji, Chelsea Peretti and Dulcé Sloan. Then Jane Fonda walked onto the set to shoot her segment.
“No one could talk,” she said. “We were all drooling and I think she thought we were weird because at first we couldn’t speak. And she was like, ‘Is everything OK?’”
In a word, very.
But after paying her dues in comedy for eight years, Stalter sees her ascent during the pandemic as bittersweet.
“Everything is starting to happen now and it’s really strange to be so worried about other people — we’ve experienced so much devastation — and also to stop and be like, ‘How lucky am I to be living my dream right now?’” she said. “I guess that’s what life is. You have to just embrace the good parts, even when it’s scary and hard.”
Calling from London, where she was making her British stand-up debut at the Soho Theater, Stalter did an impromptu riff on her own Top 10 of 2021, from Dolly Parton’s inclusiveness to the joy of private karaoke rooms. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
1. Dolly Parton
I’ve listened to her every year, but especially this last year. She is the best celebrity because she feels, to me at least, that she just supports everyone. She’s the true meaning of a Christian because she loves God, and then she loves people, and she accepts everyone for who they are — which is what we should have all learned this year, just to love each other and take care of each other.
I’m somebody who grew up in church and doesn’t go now. I’m this bisexual person who still believes in God. Dolly doesn’t have any judgment on anyone else’s life, but still keeps some of the beliefs that she grew up with.
2. The “Free Britney” Movement
My friends and I are so happy for her. Everyone always knew that she didn’t have control over her life, so it was really powerful and exciting to see her now get control. We’re celebrating — and it’s her birthday today! I bet she’s somewhere strange with her boyfriend, like dancing on a boat.
I’d love to cook more, but I am addicted to ordering takeout or Grubhub or Postmates. In London, I haven’t been able to figure out their ordering food apps. It’s like moving to a different planet.
4. Instagram Live
When the pandemic started, I did a bunch. Every night I would do a different crazy-themed one. I’d be like, “OK, we’re going to Paris tonight.” And then I’d decorate my apartment with stuff that I could find that made it look like Paris. It was a way for me to connect to other people. I was in New York alone, really scared, and I felt like the only thing keeping me sane was doing that at night.
5. High-Waisted Jeans
There’s something really classic about wearing a good pair of high-waisted jeans. I like a plain shirt and jeans during the day, and then wearing this beautiful gown at night for a show. That’s really appealing to me. I think both are a little bit of structure that we didn’t have during quarantine, because we were wearing sweatpants.
6. Time With Family
My family is truly everything to me. When would we ever have spent this much time in the same house as when we quarantined together? It was really lifesaving to be laughing in the same house again.
7. “The Office”
It’s one of my comfort shows. I watched it a lot this year. It still holds up. The dinner party episode is my favorite. The boss invites people to come to dinner at his house and he’s being very passive-aggressive with his girlfriend. Either people think it’s the funniest episode of TV or they’re like, “I can’t even watch it.” It’s kind of my sense of humor.
8. Dining in Restaurants Again
Something I really was missing in quarantine was the feeling of being at a table with all of your friends and everyone’s laughing and you don’t even remember why and everyone’s talking over each other. It’s exciting that we are experiencing that again slowly. Every hangout feels precious and thrilling.
9. Private Karaoke Rooms
Last night I did a private karaoke room with a couple of friends, and we had the best time. It felt safe. We just sang for hours. It makes sense for it to be more popular now than it was. My friend was on a trip and he did a solo karaoke room. I don’t know if I would like that or not. I like to be in front of an audience, even if it’s three friends.
10. Quarantine Animals
I feel like everyone should have a pet now. I think it’s lifesaving. I have a Chihuahua who’s 15 years old. She was a family dog, but she came to live with me during quarantine and I am attached to her. Animals are so empathetic and they can tell when you’re sad and they just really calm you down. I’m afraid of when she passes because she’s so old. My sister is begging me to get another animal, but I feel like my dog doesn’t want me to get another dog. She likes to be alone with me.
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