Standup comedienne, screenwriter, and actor Lauren Hope Krass is passionate about body positivity… except, she says that body positivity is the trojan horse. Inside the trojan horse are fat activism and a message for women everywhere: You are beautiful, exactly as you are.
Join us as we discuss:
03:57 What helped Lauren step into her full self and switch to an abundance mindset.
07:06 How body positivity is more like a Trojan horse.
09:12 How fat activism becomes dangerous to fat people, specifically to their safety
10:44 A lot of challenges when it comes to a woman in comedy.
11:37 How Lauren lands into a comedy career.
14:06 Lauren’s TV Pilot, called Fat with Standards.
15:23 How Lauren ended up on a stage in New York City.
19:02 What are the challenges of bringing a message into the world through comedy.
21:20 Entertainment business is terrible, unfair, and sometimes unrewarding. If you don’t love your message, if you don’t love what you’re doing, don’t do it.
22:28 Lauren’s joy and fulfillment in what she’s doing.
About the Guest:
Comedian and writer Lauren Hope Krass got her start in comedy in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. There, she performed improv and standup regularly at Theatre 99 and all over the city. Her material ranges from the ridiculous to the brutally honest. Her self-deprecating humor combined with a dash of charm creates a unique perspective relevant to any audience.
Lauren has headlined nationwide for Organizations (SAP Americas), Colleges (Princeton) and Clubs (Goonies, MD). Locally, you can catch her at some of the best clubs in NYC such as Caroline’s, Stand Up NY, New York Comedy Club and QED among many others. She has also been a featured storyteller on Kevin Allison’s RISK! She’s the winner of the She Devil Comedy Festival (2018) and her original TV Pilot “Fat With Standards” was an official selection of the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival (2021) and a finalist in the Austin Comedy Film Festival (2021). Lauren has also been featured in the Women in Comedy Festival, Cinderblock Comedy Festival, Annapolis Comedy Festival and the Charleston Comedy Festival.
About the Host:
Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist, speaker, author and coach changing our perspective on the world of work. It IS possible to do Great Work– launch a successful business, make a scientific discovery, raise a tight-knit family, or manage a global remote team– without sacrificing your health, happiness and relationships.
Amanda is the Author of the forthcoming book, Great Work: Do What Matter Most Without Sacrificing Everything Else, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda’s TEDx talk has received more than a million views and has been featured on TED’s Ideas blog and Ted Shorts.
Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.
Sponsored By The Aligned Time Journal
The Unleashing Your Great Work podcast is sponsored by the Aligned Time Journal! The Aligned Time Journal is here to answer the question “But HOW?” How can we figure out what our Great Work is? How can we get started, stay with it, and finish our Great Work so it can go out in the world and have an impact?
Click here to learn more, and try it out for yourself!
For more information about the Unleashing YOUR Great Work podcast or to learn more about Dr. Amanda Crowell, check out my website: amandacrowell.com
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Welcome to unleashing your great work, a podcast about doing the work that matters the most to you. I'm your host, Dr. Amanda Crowell, a cognitive psychologist, coach, and the creator of the great work journals. Every week on this podcast, we are asking the big questions. What is great work? And why does it matter so much to us? What does it take to do more of your great work without sacrificing everything else? And how does the world change when more people are doing more of the work that matters the most to them? So whether your great work is building your own small business, or managing a remote team at a multinational company, you'll find insight and answers here. Welcome everybody to unleashing your great work. I am so excited today. I have comedian and writer Lauren hook crass. She got her start in comedy in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. There she performed improv and stand up regularly at theater 99. And all over the city. Her material ranges from the ridiculous to the brutally honest, her self deprecating humor combined with a dash of charm creates a unique perspective relevant to any audience, including this one. Lauren, welcome to the podcast.Lauren Hope Krass:
Oh, hey, how's it going?Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I'm so glad that you're here. So we're going to start where we always start, Lauren, tell us a little bit about your great work.Lauren Hope Krass:
If that would be my clay pots. I'm kidding. I think it is my stand up comedy and my writing, or at least I hope it is. I've been working on it for 10 years now. So hopefully that's the correct great work.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Well, it's all great work. What have you been working on for 10 years? Tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today.Lauren Hope Krass:
Yeah, so I just hit 10 years doing stand up comedy. I've been doing it professionally for maybe like the last five years, but full time for the past three months. So it's a big time for me right now. And you know, I've done it before, like in 2018. I took a swing at the whole quit my job. Let's go for it thing didn't work out wasn't my time. But here we go again. And this time, it's the timing. The timing feels right.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, tell me what feels different about the timing.Lauren Hope Krass:
I think I'm different now. I think I think the pandemic really made clear people's priorities. We had tons of time to soul search, I just the pressures kind of off in a weird way. Like I know now it seems like the pressure is on because I work for myself and I got bills to pay but I just kind of switched to an abundance mindset. And I just knew that I couldn't miss what's for me. And if I do like screw it, like, it's just kind of it's like what I love to do, and I realized the only the only thing in my way was me which is a really horrible yet liberating realization. So ever since I kind of had this surrender moment. It's just it's worked out. I you know, it's my voice is more honed as a comedian, I obviously have more experience, I have more connections, I have more confidence. So I mean, I think it's a blessing that I haven't really popped off yet because I wouldn't have been ready. You know, if I not if when I pop off of I'm going to be a fully formed me and ready to go and and say my message and say my jokes and be myself. Yeah, so it's just, it feels more like the right time is NOW. CanDr. Amanda Crowell:
you tell us like you said that you had a realization? Like, can you tell us about the turning point like, what was there a was there a moment? Was there an interaction? Was there just a realization like what was it that helped you step into your full self and what did you call it switch to an abundance mindset.Lauren Hope Krass:
So the, the moments are kind of hard to describe because it's a it's like a it's like a long time coming kind of thing. I will say there was one crystallizing moment where I used to work for Harry's I'm allowed to say that I think I worked on Customer Experience team super cute job. That was remote part time. I mean, the pay was incredible. And it's got me through the pandemic and even before that everyone would come to my shows super cute job, great job. And I was at work on my laptop in December. And I heard a voice in my head say you don't work here anymore. It's I mean, not like a voice on a microphone. Like I'm not insane. But just like it just popped into my I get it, I get these emails open to it, I had a message come you know, it's like your intuition, your gut, it's real. When that becomes unblocked, you can kind of hear things. And when you respond, the universe kind of like, pay me pays attention to that. And we'll go from there, you know, so I quit my job with no gigs booked. And January 8, was my last day. And then for February, without even trying, I was ready to like, do all these spreadsheets do all this stuff. And then without even trying, one of my old agents reached out and booked me for so much work. For that month of February was like almost $6,000 and gigs for February. Wow. Oh, I'm here. I even just got I got an audition for this. I don't think I'm actually supposed to say what it's for. It's for an airline on camera work for an airline? Yep. And I actually forgot to submit for it. And they still picked me. So like, I'm, like, vibrating super high, right? Just like yeah, I jumped off the cliff and I'm trusting. Yeah. I mean, I did build up savings over COVID. So you know, don't I don't want to inspire anybody to like lose their home or anything. Right. But if youDr. Amanda Crowell:
if you could describe what your message is what your you know, tell us what, what kind of jokes do you make? What what do you sort of focused on?Lauren Hope Krass:
So I guess so I have my little flyer here. I know this is audio only I'll read it for everybody. When I just did my deal,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
just so you know.Lauren Hope Krass:
When I did the Africa conference with Amanda we had to have these little fliers to give out and so on my flyer it says comedian Lauryn Hill crass. And there's a big sticker on the front, it says body positive feminist comic, right? Which is true. But that's kind of the clean way I package it for you the real way. Yeah, the real so the body positivity is more of like a Trojan horse and inside of the Trojan horse is fat liberation, fat activism, that positivity. That's stuff that's not quite mainstream yet that people are still weird about and they're like, but shouldn't we not promote obesity? And I'm like, okay, that's not a thing also shut up. So, it really is about, like, I don't know how now I'm just bragging. I don't know how I do it. Because my comedy is, is universal for a lot of people. But it also has a very specific message for fat women. And that message is like, Bitch, there's nothing wrong with you. You're fabulous. Society is literally crazy. live your best life guy. No, you know. And I know it sounds like Well, that's not funny. You've you've seen my act, I somehow make it funny. You know, like, it's, it's in there, you know, and use humor and comedy to kind of slowly get into people's brains like, fat does not equal bad. And fat is not even a bad word, you know? And sometimes, it's funny. I'll go on stage, I'll do this like, powerful fat, positive material, and then a comic will come on stage. And they'll they'll do these, like, self deprecating back, like fat jokes. I just can't get my COVID weight off and like, and nobody's laughing they bomb. I love it. Love it when people do bad fat jokes after me because the audience is already, like, activated. They're already on my side.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. And why is it so important to you? Like, why is that what you're sort of drawn to do?Lauren Hope Krass:
I mean, I'm a fat girl. I always have been and you know, are everything. Imagine growing up in a world where every buddy tells you you're wrong. You know, it's, you know, there's already things that as women we get, the thing is, fighting diet culture and fat phobia is good for all women. Like that's true. We eating disorders comes in all shapes and sizes. But like, fat activism is needed mostly like it's, it's more dangerous to fat people. So like the safety that's needed, like loving my body isn't going to give me better medical care or, or not going to stop someone from kicking me off of a plane because they don't want to sit next to a fat part, you know. So like, is that a thing that happens? Yeah, you can legally like fat people have been kicked off lanes before and not refunded. they've messed funerals. My own doctor recommends invasive surgery when I go in just for checkups. It's very dangerous. It's also legal to fire someone for body size in 48 states it's not a protected status. Yeah, so it's like body positivity is great, but the behind the scenes My whole thing is, is kind of radical. I'm like, fuck the system. Are you allowed to say? Fuck? Yeah, yeah,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I will mark this as explicit. Yeah. Wow. So what kind of response do you get from audiences? Or is the audience picking up what you were putting down? Do you feel?Lauren Hope Krass:
Yeah, they are now they are now and I had to kind of figure it out very quickly. I think one of the biggest struggles starting out because I was I was a feet one still a female comic, but I was a female comic. In the south. I started in South Carolina. And so South Carolina smell that was southern South Carolina.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Brought it Yeah.Lauren Hope Krass:
Southern audiences don't want to hear a female comic talking about body size. They don't. But that's my experience. Those were my jokes. So I had to adapt fast. Because what you have to fight? Are those all, you know, oh, you're not this, you're pretty. I want to tell you, it's okay. And it's like, no, no, no, this is my voice. I'm fine. I have a microphone. So I had to, like, I had to get my confidence up fast, because the audience can smell it. You know, like, a guy can just go up until like a self deprecating joke about his body size, or I'm not getting laid or whatever. And it's fine. You know, we all were don't talk about that. It's it. There's a lot more challenges when it comes to a woman in comedy, not to mention like a fat woman in comedy who wants to talk about it. So I had to kind of get with the program real fast.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, yeah, I bet. So what kinds of things did you have to do to to make it land? And beLauren Hope Krass:
audiences are smart? You just I just had to work on my confidence, like therapy. I would look at my joke structure, I would think, am I the butt of the joke or a society, the butt of the joke. I did have that transition kind of happened a couple years ago. When I say a couple. I mean, like, maybe the past three years, I should update my bio. It says I have self deprecating humor, but I really don't anymore. It's very powerful humor, I kind of switched it, I switched it up to make sure I was on the butt of the joke. And that that helped a lot.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Wow. So if if a person has this kind of sort of agenda, there are lots of ways that they could go out and sort of make a difference, right? They could start nonprofits and they could speak earnestly from the sky. Or, you know, what is it that drew you to comedy as a means of working through this or acting in this space?Lauren Hope Krass:
I have always loved performing. I think, I think I'm gonna I think I am a natural performer. Even though I can't talk right now. You're doing great when, like, even when I was as soon as I could walk, like if there's a picture of me at a restaurant, where the band took a break, and I like walked up to the stage and picked up the microphone and toggled around and my little toddler dress. I used to put on shows, in elementary school, the playground like I just love performing. And humor was a big coping mechanism for me growing up and as an adult. I also love writing put those three together. Stand up comedy.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Interesting. How did you start? How did you get started in this space?Lauren Hope Krass:
So I was just taking improv classes. And then my, my classmates always went to this open mic after class. And it's not a very good story. I just wanted to try it. But then, like I said, those those three factors of like, humor as a coping mechanism, I like writing. I'm a performer. I mean, it all came together. And I had beginner's luck. My first open mic went really great. And then it got hard for a long time, but like my first time, was really good. And I was like, Oh, I like this.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. And it sounds like, before we came on, you were saying that you are doing other projects, too. So what what else are you doing? creatively? It soundsLauren Hope Krass:
Oh, yeah. Trying to change the world over here. I have a pilot, a TV pilot pilot. It's called fat with standards. It's done a couple. Yeah. i It's from a song that I don't even know if the title makes sense for the show. I should probably change it. But I used to write I have a cabaret show as well, where I had some original music in it. And that was standards is one of the songs. And I was like, oh, yeah, that's catchy. I'm just going to name my pilot that it's just about four or five best friends in New York City. I don't want to say it's fat Sex in the City, but it kind of you know, it's just like, let's, let's get some body diversity on television. It's not a preachy show, but it's like just look at these women being living fabulous lives or struggling, you know, being people. So, I'm doing if this comes out before May 14, there will be a staged reading of it at the Pitt loft. So we've got to really A director signed on her name is Adrian Lovett. She's amazing. And I've got a whole cast of actors. We're going to do off book, it's going to be like theater. I'm going to play the lead for the first time. I'm going to try on my, my actors hat. So it's like writing acting, not directing. Luckily, I hired somebody for that. But yeah,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
how did this come together? Like, how does something like that happened? You wrote the script? And then how do you end up on a stage in New York City with actors offLauren Hope Krass:
book? Oh, my God, I always wanted to write for television, I was just it's one of those things where stand up is stand up is, wow, this is not relatable, that's for me stand up is easier, stand up something I can do all by myself. I'm good at it. And everybody says, well, good job. And I'm like, Okay, that's enough. But TV writing and collaboration like that stuff has always really excited me. So I took a class with the barrow group, it's a really good writing school in New York City. January 2021. And I worked with that teacher, and a group of students through like September, and throughout that time, we created or I created that with standards, with my teachers help. And then I submitted it to film festivals, very easy. You just Google film festivals, submit your script, pay a small fee. And then you get in or you don't I got into two, I won an award at one of them. Awesome. Thank you, thank you. And then I decided I wanted to do a reading. So I posted a casting call on actors access. And cast my actors did a reading a couple months ago. And now I'm going to do another one where I'm going to play Jackie, who's the lead. The last time I just watched with my writers hat on but now I'm like, I want to I wrote the role for myself. Because there's again, there's not a lot of roles for fat women in television, and I wrote the perfect part for me. So I'm going to test it out. Tell us about Jackie. Jackie is loosely based on myself. She is a stand up comedian. She, she's a little bit more. She's a little bit more messed up than me though. Because it's a pilot, right? She's got to have room to grow. She's obsessed with like this loser guy who's no good, who, who thinks he's better than she is really, she's better than he is, you know. And she gets presented with this, like, very exciting opportunity. But it requires like, turning her back on everything she believes in. And she has a lot of hard choices to make in that episode. But yeah, she's a great friend, she's got a nice friend group. It's a little aspirational, because I feel like that people don't really find a community because a lot of fat people see it as a transient state, or like we're gonna lose weight. I don't want to connect into this. But it's like body diversity is a real thing. A lot of people are just naturally bigger. And that's like, where's our community? Like, let's get rid of the shame. And let's be friends and go to brunch. And so it's a little aspirational in that way.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. Well, I love shows where I truly do appreciate it when the disabled person is not the disabled person in the show there. Yeah, so did the show, right? And see the same thing where it's like, can we just have people? Right? Yeah. Who are also insert whatever category you're interested in?Lauren Hope Krass:
Exactly. Yeah, I think I think maybe the first couple episodes, or maybe even the whole season might accidentally be a little preachy, because it's even in the title. That was standards. Like it's a thing we need to talk about. But I think eventually, you just you're watching the show, and you don't even you don't even care. Think about the fact that all these characters are really excited about and invested in our all plus size, you know?Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. So you've mentioned it a little bit, but I'm curious, like, if you could think about it and tell us some more like, what are the challenges of bringing this message to the world through comedy through TV through all the different ways that you doLauren Hope Krass:
it feel like I don't want to jinx myself with the challenges that will come with film and television. I know for comedy, getting people to believe that you're confident is a huge thing, like I said. Also sometimes with the audience, there will be you know, plus sized audience members who are not on board with the message they do. They're on that diet Kool Aid, which is fine. It's It's everybody's body everybody's choice. We live in a culture that makes it almost impossible to not have that in our in our brains, but it can be it's a huge culture clash thing. When I bring Certain things up. But for stand up, it's really, I can really make the medicine go down with sugar because there's a punch line every so often. So nobody's really sitting there angry effort for something widespread on TV VO, I can only imagine the struggles that would come with that there'd be so many think pieces about how I'm promoting obesity, and it's dangerous. And, you know, and I think the challenge would just have to be to keep my head in my lane and to know who the show is for and who it is for. And to not stress out about, oh, my God, I have to make these people understand. It's like, No, you don't. They're all these people over here, love it and need it. That's who you're going to focus on. So I think that's going to be the main struggle, even when this TV show ever happens.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, it sounds very similar to the struggle that you described prior to kind of going all in, in your business. You know, it's like I somehow you have to be the force, the vector the source, the the purity of what it is you're doing in order for it to stay on track, becauseLauren Hope Krass:
you can't you can't go into it unsure.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Why? What happens?Lauren Hope Krass:
You, will you because the entertainment business is terrible. I'm not afraid to say that even people higher up in the business would agree with me that it is unfair, unrewarding. If you don't love your message, if you don't love what you're doing, don't do it. Like don't put yourself through what could be like the hardest time of your life. Yeah. But the joy that's on the other end of it. If there's like a real meat to what you're doing, like there's a real meat to my comedy, I'm not doing stand up comedy just because I love live performance. That's a big part of it. But I, I feel like I really believe in my message. And I guess a lot of it is like perform I love. I love that. And it's that love that kind of makes all the shitty parts worth it.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Hmm. That could be the that feels like a theme for your show to love that makes the shitty parts worth it.Lauren Hope Krass:
It's v ery toxic. It's not necessarily a good thing.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
How so that actually leads directly to the question next, which is, what is the joy? What is the joy some of it? Yeah, that gets live performance. But like what, tell us what it feels like to you to do this that makes it worth all the shitty parts.Lauren Hope Krass:
I love I love I love it. When I get on stage, I'll be so nervous. Right before but as soon as I'm on stage, I can't explain it again. It's like what I'm saying about being a natural performer since I was a kid like I one time on the stage, I'm at home, like it was like being in a warm bed to me. And then once I get my first laugh, then it's like the first little bit of dopamine and then and then you just kind of ride the wave. It's kind of like surfing but with telling jokes. So in the moment is huge for me, I think the most. So I'm gonna say that for one joy. Another joy would obviously be after shows, I love talking to people and sharing experiences. I love hugging. I love giving out pens, I have pens with my website on them. Now it's really fun to hand out. So the human connection part afterwards is a huge part of it. And then, the other part, the other joyful thing that I get from my work that's difficult for me to address is collaboration. Because again, I'm an only child, I'm a Virgo, I love doing my own thing. But the most joy I've probably had from projects has been when I've been collaborating, if I've been working with someone on like my TV pilot, or my cabaret show with a director, a music person, like when I'm working with other people, the collaboration is like you can't beat that joy. When there's other people. It's just I don't know, it's scarier for me as a person who wants to do everything all by myself.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
But unpack the joy a little bit like what is it like this is something that I talk about on this podcast a lot because one of the pillars of great work is that you're doing it with cool people who share values with ya. What it's hard to really describe the joy and the power and what actually you get out of collaboration. You can't get on your know It'sLauren Hope Krass:
spiritual. You can't you can't. I mean, I don't know if I'm supposed to explain it but it's hard to you just you feel it in your gut in your soul. When you've created something. I think art exists outside of ourselves to when you create it. It's like this entity that is no longer yours. It's like it's been created with other people but also through it not religious, but I do believe in like, divinity in the universe. And I think there's a lot of divinity that happens in creation too. And so it's something you can't really explain when you create something, especially with other people,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
right? That's the thing. It's like, you can't explain creation, perhaps, but like, what is the feeling like? What's the, what do we get when we're doing it with others instead of on our own? Like, can you describe that feeling?Lauren Hope Krass:
I cannot? I don't know, I just, there's no English language words, to describe what that feels like. Yeah, it just feels correct. It's, um, maybe maybe like you're remembering who you really are. Or something.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right, like other people show you parts of yourself that you forget or overlook?Lauren Hope Krass:
Yeah, it's like a nice reminder of Oh, yeah. Life can be beautiful.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Huh. You know, you also when you were talking about the the heart the sort of beating heart of the creative work needing to be strong in order for it to not to get off track. And when it's just you, right, you have to be fully confident in yourself.Lauren Hope Krass:
Yeah, I'm wearing a suit of armor every day.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. Whereas if you have collaborators, everybody gets to take a piece of it. So the beading,Lauren Hope Krass:
thank you for explaining that for me. Yeah, that's right.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I think it's really interesting, because I totally right. That's part of it. And I also mean, there's the obvious things that everyone talks about, where it's like, well, they've got skill set, you don't have one you have skills that they don't have. Now, that always feels like it's really underselling collaboration to because it isn't really like, well, I'll do the details and you do theLauren Hope Krass:
strategic because I can do everything. Again, I represent myself right now. I'm being my own agent, too. I can do it all. I was the person in the group project who did everything and let people sign their names, you know? Yeah, it's, it's deeper than that.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. And it's hard when you're kind of a natural lone wolf, or have a history of doing it all yourself. You're like, Well, why would I? And it is really only once you have that real magical experience where you're like, Whoa,Lauren Hope Krass:
yeah, you can't. Yeah, you can't pretend that that kind of joy doesn't exist. That's why I said that. It's hard for me to come to terms with the fact that like, the biggest joy I've had for my creative career has been collaborative. And it's like, but that's not my job. I'm a comedian. I'm a stand up comedian. That's my job. And that's all by myself. I can I can build I can build on that.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. Right. Whose is the point of life is not to stand still doing the same thing?Lauren Hope Krass:
Exactly. Yeah.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Awesome. Well, I would love for people to be able to see some of your work. How can they learn more about you? And if they have I mean, you do events also right. So if they wanted to book you they could do that. How does it work? How Oh, yeah, more about you.Lauren Hope Krass:
Book me.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
What's mine? Oh,Lauren Hope Krass:
so my website is your best resource. It's just my name Lauren. Hope grass.com That's K with a KS and King K ra SS. That is also my Instagram course. Handle yet posted on the thing. I love my Instagram Lauren hope crafts as well. Yeah, and that's also my email, Lauryn Hill crafts at Gmail. So okay, that's those are just remember Lauryn Hill crafts, and you will find me and I will entertain you.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Awesome. And your website has a bunch of videos that we can watch.Lauren Hope Krass:
There's a couple of videos, I don't give it all away for free. There is a calendar of local events if you're local to New York City, so I do a lot of the clubs and bars and stuff like that. So if you're local, come out and see a show. Yeah, love it.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. I really think that a lot of people are having new thoughts after hearing you talk.Lauren Hope Krass:
Oh, gosh, I know I am.