Emily Scott & Jamie Lerner put the Happy (Hour) in “Middle School”
RFB’s newest hosts spill a little on how they turn most people’s worst memories into your new best ones.
interview by Michele Carlo
RFB: Tell us a little about the idea behind “Middle School Happy Hour.” And why middle school (as opposed to grade or high school)?
MSHH: Middle School is this really bizarre, often grotesque transitional time where half the kids are still definitively, mentally and physically children, and the other half are moving full-steam ahead into puberty and adulthood. No one really knows how to be a person yet, but everyone is trying with varying degrees of success. And, at least the way we see it, it’s a time when the music you’re listening to can play a big role in all of that. You’re beginning to develop a sense of taste and maybe for the first time in your life you’re not satisfied with just Top 40 or what your parents are playing for you and you begin to discover what else is out there. And you’re also really malleable, so all the trappings that come with a particular style of music—the ethos of punk-rock or the drama of musical theater, etc., seeps into your life in a really big way. The music from that period in our lives is still super meaningful to us. It still hits us in the gut in a way it probably wouldn’t if we only heard it for the first time today, and we want to celebrate and explore that.
RFB: Tell us a little bit on your (and Jamie’s) background (where you’re from, your artistic/business paths, how long in NYC if you’re not native NY-ers).
MSHH: Jamie and Emily both grew up outside of NYC (Jamie in Westchester and Emily in New Jersey). Jamie actually studied educational theater at NYU, while Emily picked up a degree in architecture at the University of Virginia before heading back to the Tri-state area, where she’s developed an affinity for nonfiction writing, audio journalism…and actually just started playing drums. Jamie lived in Barcelona for a little bit (ask her about it!!!) where she began pursuing standup and musical comedy. They met as random roommates in a loft apartment in (where else?) Bushwick and bonded over a lot of things: mainly music, but also growing up Jewish and falling asleep in front of the TV.
RFB: Who would be your dream guest(s) to get for an interview and why?
MSHH: Emily would die to have Steve Jocz a.k.a. the former drummer from Sum 41 (her favorite band from middle school) a.k.a. one of the many unrequited loves of her life (ages 13-15). Jamie’s a Broadway Girl 4EVA so her dream guest is Jonathan Larson, the creator of Rent. But he tragically passed away in 1996 so she’ll just have to live with knowing she’ll never meet him.
Middle School Happy Hour airs every Thursday at 10pm.