Angela Nissel is the bestselling author of The Broke Diaries, co-founder of Okay Player, a television writer, and all around dope and funny woman. We talk about her varied and fascinating career, the best lessons she’s learned, and why she’d rather have money than fame.
Angela Nissel is the author of two books: the national best-selling comedic memoir The Broke Diaries and the shitty-selling but award-winning Mixed. In addition to books, she’s also a television writer and producer. What has she done recently? Tyler the Creator’s The Jelliesairing late 2017 on Adult Swim. She’s also written for Scrubs, Til Death, The Boondocks and numerous shows that never made it on the air.
Angela was born a lower-middle class light-brown child in Philadelphia. She even stayed in that fair city for college, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a medical anthropology degree. That expensive-ass degree led to a series of broke ass jobs: IRS temp, a “melter” in a metalworking shop, and as a “sleep apnea auditor” working the 12AM to 8AM shift at a local hospital.
After analyzing the snores and hacking spit of sleeping people, she co-founded a dotcom, OkayPlayer.com with her friend Ahmir Thompson of The Roots. The site is still very alive and well but she left it permanently to the care of its co-founder after The Broke Diaries was published. She decided to pursue writing full-time and finally ventured out of Philadelphia to Hollywood.
Upon arriving in Hollywood, she learned that just because someone’s vanity plates read “PRDCR”, doesn’t mean he has the connections to make your book into a screenplay or even help you get a writing job.
Barely paying her rent through freelancing, she put a few possessions on Ebay for extra cash—the winning bidder of one item was a television executive who had read The Broke Diaries. She introduced Angela and some of Angela’s newer writing samples to a television literary agent. Soon, the broke girl had numerous job offers and landed on Scrubs – the only job she’s had where her medical anthropology degree came in handy.
When she’s not writing, Angela is hoping her mother is putting in a good word for her in heaven, looking for the perfect wide width shoe, or trying to raise funds for the deserving cool ass kids of The Unusual Suspects, where she currently serves as a board member.
-Angela’s experience co-founding OK Player with Questlove (and the funny story of how they met)
-Angela’s book, The Broke Diaries, and how her relationship with money has changed since then
-the value of surrender in life and work
-the illusions of “success” and why Angela prefers money to fame
-the valuable lesson Angela learned after her appearance on Oprah’s talk show
-finding your way to “work/life balance” as a creative
-and much more!
STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE