'I'm Going To Keep Going': Comedian And Activist Meghan Ross
“Like any questionable quarantine project, it was born out of boredom, loneliness and a little bit of a comedian’s need for external validation,” Meghan Ross says of her Instagram Live show No One Asked For This. “With the theaters being shut down and shows kind of coming to a close, I was sort of looking for another creative outlet.”
The comedian and activist posted a half-serious poll on her Instagram page asking if people would want to watch her cook at what she calls “a very mediocre level.” Enough people said yes she decided to go ahead and do it.
The first episode of No One Asked For This found Ross attempting The New York Times lemon poppy seed pound cake recipe. During the show, though, she found herself filling the silences by just talking about what was on her mind.
“I was just filling the void, the emptiness … by just talking about topics that grinded my gears,” she says. “I was just like going off about voter suppression as I was zesting a lemon.”
At that point, she decided that what the show needed was a dialogue, so she thought, “What if I bring on these real experts on these issues to talk about social injustices in the world that no one asked for while I perform an activity at an average-to-below-average skill level that no one asked for?”
She’s talked with New York State Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez about why representation matters while making boba tea; with Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts about gun safety’s role in the 2020 election while doing a light arm workout; and with U.S. Senate candidate MJ Hegar while building a keychain kit, just to name a few guests.
Ross says she’s been pleasantly surprised by how easy it’s been for her to get people for the show.
“I guess it’s just silly enough that people are kind of like, ‘Yeah, I want to talk about these issues [and] I guess this person doesn’t seem like a weirdo to me,’” she says. “It’s also like, 1: We want to talk about these really important issues, especially leading into the election. And 2: I don’t have to leave my home and I can still wear pajamas.”
Ross says she hopes viewers learn more about the issues she’s covering, admitting that the number one person she’s trying to educate is herself.
“I’m kind of selfishly just thinking of this project as like, this is my way of learning about these really kind of crucial topics,” she says. “And figuring out like, what can I do as a regular citizen to sort of support these people who are doing it in their full time jobs?”
No One Asked For This was created largely because Ross was looking for something to do with herself during the lockdown, but she says she has no plans to stop doing the show any time soon.
“I’ve booked guests all the way through Election Day,” she says. “So I’m going to take like a two week break for the election and then kind of see what world we’re living in at that point, and then I’m going to keep going. Because I know, regardless of the results, these social injustices are still going to exist and I’m still going to want to keep highlighting these issues. And I kind of have this endless list of people I want to talk to.”
Ross says she’s learned a lot in the months she’s spent hosting No One Asked For This, not the least of which is the deliciousness of that New York Times lemon poppy seed pound cake recipe. “I gotta tell you, I will endorse the New York Times recipe for a lemon poppy seed pound cake right here and now,” she says. “Dessert, breakfast, snack. Any time during your pandemic hunger pangs. I will send you the recipe.”