by Moonah Ellison & Chesley Turner
photography: Stephen Busken
Life is a trip, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just pretending. That’s why Dena Blizzard’s honesty is so refreshing. We’re all in this together, she assures working moms everywhere, so we may as well laugh our asses off. Here are some of our favorite outtakes of Dena’s life.
About her New Home
We moved here last year and it was such a disgusting mess. The house belonged to these two older ladies and they said they only had two cats, but by the amount of pee in the house there must have been 200, ‘cause it was so gross. So we’ve been slowly, like, pulling things apart. Like, literally, water just comes. If you’re taking a shower, somebody could be taking a shower below you in the basement at the same time, because the water just starts coming through. It’s just so gross. In my own mind I’m running my own home-makeover show. ‘Cause most of the time, I’m just covered in dirt…oh wait! this is the best story…
About what the Contractors Working on your Home actually think of You
It was right after Miss America last year (Dena’s the host), and I was just on TV, but I was spending every day gutting the house with my contractors. And I only had three outfits here the whole summer because all of our clothes were in storage. So every day they were like, “Don’t you have other clothes, or money that you could buy clothes?” And so then one day I said to them, “I’m going to go host the Miss America pageant.” And they all looked at me like I was nuts. They were like, “Yeah. Ok. Nut job that is dirty and disgusting.” “No, for real, like, I have a real job!”
About those Awful Grocery Store Encounters
Anyway, I go to Miss America and you know, it’s like gowns and beads and beautiful. And the next week, it’s right back to real life. And one weekend it was finally time to empty out the basement. And it was so gross. And so this one Saturday, I spent the entire day in the basement. There’s, like, spiders in my hair, and I am so disgusting. But we’re on our way home and I say to my husband, “Listen. I need to stop at the ACME down the street and get some maxi pads.” And so, I said, you know what, I’m so disgusting, but we don’t even live here so it’s not like we know anybody. I’m just going to go in and buy pads. I am just walking down the main aisle, peaking down each aisle, literally 5 seconds in each. Suddenly I lock eyes with this blonde woman, and I keep walking ‘cause it’s not the pad aisle, and all of a sudden I hear her go, “Dena?” And I was like, are you shitting me, really? And I had to turn around because she actually said my name. I turn around and it is the homecoming queen from my high school. And she looked super cute. I thought about pretending it wasn’t me, but she was like, “oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you!” And then she turns to her little son who is, like, seven, and she’s like, “Oh my gosh, Jack, do you know who this is?” And Jack just looks at me like I’m a homeless person. And she’s like, “Jack, this is the girl who was on television the other night hosting the Miss America Pageant.” And that kid looks at me and is like, that is not the same lady. And I was like, I’m totally onboard with you, Jack. Because I would not believe your mom either, based on present evidence in front of you. Of course she couldn’t have been nicer. She was like, “Dena, oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you! We’re so proud of you.” And I swear, like, a spider walked across my face while she was saying it. And she’s like, “What are you doing here?” And I’m like, “I’m here for….milk.” And she said, “Shouldn’t you be in dairy, then?” I was like, “Oh yeah! That’s where the milk is, that’s where you guys keep it here!” And she was like, “Do you want me to help you find it?” I was like, “No, I’m good.” So I grab the milk that I don’t even need, and I grab a big bag of candy corn and I go back out to the car. No pads. And I just start shoveling candy corn into my face. That’s my life. That’s my real life.”
About Self-Awareness and Solidarity Among Women
Every time I’m like, “You know what? I think I might be cool.” Then I find out, I’m not that cool. I’m gross and disgusting. I think the secret to my success is that I do tell all the stories of how gross and disgusting we are. And it does make us seem disgusting and gross, but I definitely see other women relating to it. They may never tell you their story, but they definitely feel better about themselves. There was this one lady who I loved. She was at my kids’ grammar school, and she was just so put-together. Like, her hair was always done, and she always looked really pretty, and her husband was an executive and they had this big house. And you look at somebody like that and think, “We have nothing in common.” And then one day she’d come to see the my one-woman show and she was like, “Dena, I just loved your show. One day I was in my car with the girls in the driveway and I told them to put their seatbelts on. And of course they were taking forever. So I decided I was just going to put the car in reverse and hit the pedal real quick so it would just kind of jostle them around. So I could be like, “come on, let’s go.” Everything was great with my plan until I pushed down the gas and realized I wasn’t in reverse; I was in drive. And I drove my car right into my garage door and put a giant hole in it.”
When you hear stories like that, you start to realize that it doesn’t matter if somebody looks so put together. On the inside, we are all about to lose our shit at any moment. And everybody is just trying their best to, you know, stay afloat.
About the Mystery of Kids Growing Up
We are, like, a little bit Italian, a little Filipino, some American Indian. Just a whole bunch of brown stuff. And my husband is just white and Italian. So we’re a little like a mocha family. My oldest kid is Dean. He is 14 and everybody kept saying, “Oh, boys. You’re not going to be able to walk into their bedrooms, they’re so gross.” I was like, “I just don’t get it. He’s not really gross or disgusting.” And then he turned 14 and it was literally like a light switch. Like, one day, he was really cute and cuddly and the next day, he is gross and disgusting. You can’t walk in the room. And every morning I go in there and I count his underarm hairs, just for a while. He only had two on one side and four on the other. And I was like, “Listen. I could take one off and tape it on the other side to even it out?” And he doesn’t understand why brushing your teeth every day is necessary. And I made cookies the other day and I believe h thought I made them just for him. There were four of us sitting there and he just started shoveling.” He’s just so gross.
And Jack, my oldest daughter, she has her fake period. She made up the fact that she has her period and even wears pads. But she doesn’t. She’s hysterical, like all the time, but maybe in a year she might get her period. But you talk to her, and she is like, “I’m in a bad mood right now because it’s my hormones. You have no idea what I’m going through right now.” And I’m like, if you think that your fake period sucks, just wait until your real period comes. It’s just the dumbest conversation I’ve ever had with anybody. My youngest is the one that has ADD and I swear she’s stalking me. She has to know where I am at all times. Because wherever I am will decide what kind of mood she’s in. I have no idea why those things are connected, but yeah. I just told her we got a booking and we’ll be doing a tour of Georgia, probably sometime next year. It’s kind of big for us, it’s like eight to ten theaters. And I told her, “This is so great, we are going to be touring through Georgia and maybe South Carolina.” But she was like, “When you leaving? How long are you going to be gone for? Is it drivable?” “Eh…no… and it’s not for a year and a half. You’ll be, like 11 ½ by then. Why do you care?” She was like, “What’s the date you’re flying?” Like she wanted to know every detail, because it dictates what kind of mood she is going to be in in a year and a half from now. She’s like, “I’m going to need to know where you’re staying. I’m going to need to know hotel numbers.” It’s so creepy. So, she’s my stalker. And the other one has her fake period. And the other one stinks real bad.
About the Helpful Husband
If you were to ask my husband where he falls into this family, he would say he is an integral part of the running of the household. But if you ask me, I would say—he shows up at nighttime and we cuddle and we have dinner and then we don’t see him again. Like the week I went for Miss America, he’s like, “Dena, I took care of everything. So don’t even worry about it.” When I got back, it took me two weeks to clean my house. He’s all like, “All the laundry is done.” That means he threw it into a bucket called the washing machine, and another called the dryer, and then just lined my bed with baskets. He was like, “Look! It’s all done!” I folded laundry for, like, six days straight. I vacuumed, like, six times. I’m like, “You all are so gross! What were you even eating?” But in his mind, he’s like “I’m amazing!” And he’s funny, because he has a real job, but in his mind…. Last year, he came home and said, “You know, I’m thinking about switching careers.” And I was like, “Yeah? What do you want to be?” “I think I might be a rap star. You know there are not a lot of middle-aged white men rapping, and I think that there is a hole in that market.” I was like, “Oh yeah, there’s a whole in that market…”
We’re multitasking for so many reasons. At some point, you’re just like, “This can’t be normal.” And so what I love is, after we do the shows, women say, “I thought it was just me going nuts, but I think that you are just really crazy. I’m like, “yeah.” You start to see that crazy is normal. Everybody kind of knows that comedians in general are crazy, but so much of the stuff I talk about is like therapy at the end of the day.