The Standup Who Doubles as a Digital Emily Post

Andrew Marantz in The New Yorker:

On a recent afternoon, the comedian Jaboukie Young-White walked into Syndicated, a bar and movie theatre in Bushwick. He had bleach-blond hair and the beginnings of a mustache, and he wore workout clothes. “I like to exercise, but ‘I want to look plump and juicy’ isn’t enough motivation,” he said. “I need more of a narrative.” He had reserved a spot in a Muay Thai class nearby, but the class had been cancelled because of a sudden rainstorm. The gym’s owner texted him a video, and Young-White held up his phone: floor mats covered in gushing water. “Life during climate change, I guess,” he said, sliding into a booth. Two movie projectors beamed images onto a wall—“Fitzcarraldo,” the Werner Herzog film, next to “Whenever, Wherever,” the Shakira video. “Every bar should have this,” Young-White said. “If you’re on a first date and things get super awkward, you can at least look up and comment on something together, instead of each disappearing into your phones.”

Young-White has thought a lot about cell phones, dating, and New York, in part because he stars in a movie called “Dating & New York,” out this month, a traditional rom-com refreshed for the swipe-right era. The writer and director, Jonah Feingold, was born in the nineties, as were most of the cast members, including Young-White, who is twenty-seven. “The Internet matured as we were maturing,” he said. “We did a lot of comparing notes, on set, about the little etiquettes and mores that you naturally learn when your whole life is mediated through a phone. The right way to punctuate a text, things like that.” Once, as a New Year’s resolution, Young-White turned on read receipts, which notify the people you’re texting with when you’ve seen their messages. “The idea was, this will make me more accountable, so I won’t keep forgetting to respond,” he said. Instead, he forgot that the setting was on: when he let a conversation lag, it seemed like a snub. He said, “It was actually Bo”—the comedian Bo Burnham, another connoisseur of the ways in which the Internet is warping human relationships—“who told me my read receipts were on. He went, ‘I assumed it was a power move.’ ”

More here.