Noa Gavin is a writer/blogger, businesswoman and all-around hilarious lady. She moved to Dallas five years ago from Amarillo to help her husband expand his martial arts school. Not long after the move, she began dabbling in the blogosphere with her website, ohnoa.com. From there, everything snowballed. She began taking improv classes at Dallas Comedy House, where she met her business partner, photographer Alicia Sherrod. She also writes for Nickelodeon.
Tell me about HS Productions [the photography business]. That’s what pays the bills, right?
I do all the managerial side. So I do all the accounting, all the scheduling, everything like that. My friend [Alicia Sherrod] is the photographer, and she’s fantastic. We kind of just put our skills together. We were like, ‘Oh hey, you’re a great photographer, and I can run a business, so let’s just do that together and start making some money.’ And we’ve done pretty well in a year and a half. We’ve built it up quite a bit.
What do you write for Nickelodeon?
I write for NickMom, for their moms’ humor website. It’s kind of like Buzzfeed but for moms. So I do a lot of freelance writing for them, and that is a lot of fun because I get to come up with some really weird ideas for them and they’re just like, ‘Sure. We’ll take a shot at it.’ So it’s nice because it’s outside of what I normally write, so it’s a little bit of a stretch for me. And they pay me, so that’s nice, too.
Is ohnoa.com your passion? How’d you get into that?
I started the blog, I think four and a half years ago. I started it because I really needed a creative outlet. I was still kind of stuck in that phase where I was like, ‘Oh, I love to write, but I’ll never really be paid for writing, so I need to focus on other things and just kind of forget about that ever happening for me.’
So I was working in the martial arts school. Working with my husband was really hard, because we’re both Type A and both really bullheaded. I needed an outlet. I’d been reading a couple of blogs — Hyperbole and a Half is hilarious — and I thought, I can write some funny stuff. OK, I’ll give it a shot.
When I first started it, it was strictly a comedy blog. So I did that for a while, but I kind of shot myself in the foot because I didn’t give myself a target. It was just, ‘I’ll write funny things that happen to me,’ which is not an infinite well. It got harder and harder, and more and more frustrating. I did find some success there. I wrote some things that went viral. I was Voice of the Year for humor for BlogHer in 2011, so I got to go to San Diego and read my post.
After a while it started to wear down on me, just trying to be funny every day. The more and more I got into performing and improv, all I was doing was funny. I realized I had something else to say. I kind of outgrew the need for snark and for mean humor. This year I changed the format completely. I wanted to share my story, and I knew a lot of really funny women and really talented writers who also had incredible stories. So I changed that, where we pick a theme every month and we write toward that theme.
So you think doing improv comedy helped you refine your humor taste?
The more you get into improv and the more you think about comedy professionally, the more you realize making fun of people is really easy. It’s the easiest form of humor. It’s also the dumbest, I think. I don’t like it. It screams of insecurity. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something a little bigger than that.
*This interview was edited for clarity.
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