5 Email Newsletters I Won’t Ever Unsubscribe From

Gmail Inbox, Empty!

Do you even remember what it’s like to have an empty email inbox? I do. It’s a reality I try to live every single day. I treat my email inbox like a contact sport, with every unread message elevated in my mind to the status of a fire directly under my ass that can only be put out by hitting “reply” and “send” (and for you Gmail users, “archive”). At minimum, it’s my to-do list for most of my day’s activities. I simply do too many things online to allow my email communications to sit for more than a couple of hours, or god-forbid, and entire day. For that reason, I unsubscribe from every newsletter and mailing list and alert that I get — I need my inbox empty, by close of business, every day.

But more on that later. This is a post about my exceptions. Below are five mailing lists that have made the cut, because I’m consistently more entertained than annoyed by my subscription. And that’s saying a lot when it comes to email subscriptions. (Because I’m me, it turns out they’re all stand-up comedy related.)

1) The Comedy Studio

Comedy Studio

The Comedy Studio in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, USA, is the best comedy club in the universe. While I was right across the river attending Emerson College, I performed there as much as Rick Jenkins, the owner, would let me, which ended up being about once or twice every month or two. When I graduated in 2007 and moved to Los Angeles, I stayed subscribed to the Studio’s newsletter for nostalgia — but eventually found it to be one of the best sources of East Coast comedy news online.

The best part of this mailing list, hands down is the joke section at the very bottom of each email. Usually, the jokes come from Boston comedians who have recently performed at the club. They’re mostly one-liners. Here are some recent gems:

    • 2/3 of Colorado residents said they are against legal marijuana being allowed in bars. 1/3 of Colorado residents said, “Whoa, that’s like half!”
    • Target has asked their customers to leave their guns home in open-carry states. They’ve also asked their customers to ignore their logo and name.
    • A shooter opened fire on Bourbon Street, in New Orleans, injuring 9 nine people. Luckily for the shooter, open fire is allowed on Bourbon Street.

2) Doug Stanhope

Full disclosure, Doug Stanhope is probably my favorite living stand-up comedian. He’s a hugely entertaining, impressively prolific comic who has meaningfully picked up stand-up comedy’s torch where Bill Hicks dropped it by dying too young. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out his album Deadbeat Hero, it’s a beast of a comedy album — nearly perfect for a road trip (maybe not with your parents). Here’s what happened on my birthday while subscribed to Stanhope’s newsletter:

So, you’ve made it another year, huh? Impressive. Well, impressive if you consider your festering stagnant life clicking over another year an accomplishment. I bet you woke up today feeling a little bit excited still, huh? Despite all your misanthropic bullshit, a little part of you – that little part that dime-store psychologists like to refer to as the “inner child” – perked up a bit. “Hey, today is my birthday!” you thought.

Well no one fucking cares. That’s why this email is automated. It’s completely impersonal just like every other relationship in your terrible, worthless, and now one-more-year past-it’s-prime life.

So go ahead, eat your cake, play with your new iPod knockoff, try on your new fucking sweater while you add another notch on the social odometer of age that we use to validate your existence. You gonna go out and drink tonight? Shouldn’t you put some of that money in savings? Fuck, you don’t have many working years left, pal. The whole “Live Fast, Die Young” mentality doesn’t fit into the picture so much anymore when you’ve got man-tits and you’re putting Dr. Scholl’s in your Crocs; your time to quit while you were ahead is over.

Anyhow, Happy Birthday.

3) Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford

Being on Maria Bamford’s email list is good for the soul. She’s a wonderfully insane comic who lives in LA. I got to work with her on a show back in ’09 around the time she released what is I believe her second album, “How To WIN!”, and I’d occasionally see her at the old Westwood Brewing Company near UCLA before it closed. Maria rarely sends email, but they’re gems every time. She signed off a recent blast with:

“You take care of yourself and try to take yourself off this email list – if it overwhelms you. I love you and I support you entirely. All the friendship that is healthy and reasonable for an email-list subscriber to email-list creator.”

4) Myq Kaplan

Myq Kaplan

I had the pleasure of watching Myq Kaplan come up in Boston, often times at the Comedy Studio from #1. Back then his act had more guitar, but even in it’s early form there were still plenty of clever puns. My favorite part of Myq’s email list — and this will sound weird — is how he opens each email. He uses his characteristically unforgiving deconstructions of the English language to  take the email medium itself apart. Here’s a recent opening line:

Greetings! Welcome to an efficient, informative email telling you things that you want to know hopefully/probably in list form!

5) Louis CK

Louis CK

I have no doubt that you know who Louis CK is already. You might already be on his mailing list. The best part about Louis’ emails is how hilariously casual they always are. He usually hurries up and gets right to the point with a link to a ticket page or new download, but then, as if we’re stuck in an elevator after we already both said hello, he just keeps writing. Here’s an example:

For more details and I have your time horribly wasted, read on…
Hi. So.  it has been a while since I last wrote to you.
A lot has changed since my last email to you.  Firstly, you’ll be glad to know, I lost seven pounds!   I know!   And all it took was absolutely no dedication or commitment to losing any weight.  And it paid off.
Now that I knocked that out of the park, I’m setting my sites on more goals.  Such as “none of my habits changing in any particular way”.  I think if I really buckle down, I can make that happen.
All of this is part of my new approach to life.  I call it “believing in myself”.  Sounds weird, huh?   Well it’s really very simple. I believe that I exist.  And that I’m going to pretty much keep existing and being the pretty much same guy, with the same qualities and skills ive always ha or lacked, especially when averaged over time, no matter what happens.
For instance.  I BELIEVE that I’ll alway be a little but late for most things.  I BELIEVE that if my work habits were 4% worse, I’d be homeless right now.  I BELIEVE that I am often sleepy.   See?   It works!

So remember — take your inbox seriously, and unsubscribe from everything. Except the funny stuff.

 

M

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