jenny slate man repeller interview
Jenny Slate Is Packing Silk and Jerky for the Apocalypse

The apocalypse is here. A horde of aliens have invaded earth. Jenny Slate has lived to tell the tale.

Such is the premise of her latest project, Earth Break: A Few Suggestions for Survival, With Additional Hints and Tips about How To Make Yourself More Comfortable During the Alien Apocalypse, a scripted fictional podcast which was just released earlier this month. Slate’s character, Lynn Gellert, is seemingly the only human to survive the end of the world, and the first episode follows her efforts to stay alive. Lynn is immune to the alien-induced disease that killed off the rest of the human race (a fortunate coincidence). She’s also pregnant (an unexpected complication). She doesn’t have many possessions with her save the food she has looted and a voice recorder she salvaged from her mother’s house.

Obviously, in an ideal apocalypse, you’d have time to pack a getaway bag, so I asked Slate what she would put in hers if given the chance. Scroll down to read what she said.

In the event of an IRL alien invasion, what clothes would you pack in your getaway suitcase?

Oh my god, this is so stressful because I really am America’s worst suitcase packer. I get so frightened by the idea that I might not have something I’ll need in the moment, so usually, even for short trips, I pack huge suitcases filled with the most useless things. I was packing for a trip to Amsterdam in December, and it was obviously very cold there at the time — I mean, it wasn’t arctic, but it was winter — and I decided I was just going to bring a bunch of silks with birds on them. I was like, “This is my look.”

In addition to that, I was going to pack the lightest, most delicate knit skirt from Acne — no joke, it was completely transparent. The finest of knits. I guess you were supposed to wear huge underpants under it or something? It just made no sense. No sense. My friend had to intervene. She was like, “First of all, you don’t even know how to wear this outfit. And you’re going to freeze your ass off.”

But I’m a relentless optimist, so I still think I would end up packing silks for the apocalypse. I’m obsessed with silks lately. I’m wearing a pair of silk pajamas right now. They’re from Sleepy Jones, and last night I wore them to dinner with a blazer over them as my outfit. I didn’t sleep in them, though. I slept in the nude, of course. Come on.

What about toiletries and skincare products?

I mean, obviously sunblock. Got to do that. I use this one that looks like a gel from Murad. You put it on your face, and it feels like a little powder, and then it feels like nothing happened at all. It’s great.

I would bring lots of moisturizers. I would bring bug spray, and I would bring toothpaste, because having a dental emergency is so painful, you know? I would also bring any antibiotics I could find.

What about entertainment? Any books or movies?

One of my favorite movies is Follow That Bird, which is a Sesame Street movie from when I was growing up in the ’80s. I guess I would bring that, and I would bring the Anne of Green Gables PBS series that came out also in the early ’80s. That one is very good. And then maybe just something very beautiful and fun, like Charade starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I would also bring The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. And probably some Walt Whitman. That’ll always do the trick. And what else? I mean, I always travel with 50 books. Hard copies. I don’t like reading books on computer things. I don’t like computer. In my standup routines, I’ve been going on stage and saying, “I don’t like computer,” and everybody starts laughing. I just think computer is bad. Instagram has made us completely psychotic. It’s totally bonkers, and I want it to go away. I haven’t deleted my Instagram account, but I primarily use it for work now, and I look at it as little as possible because I think it’s creating bad grooves in our brains. Does that make me sound like a crazy lady who lives in the woods?

What about sustenance? Snacks? Candy?

Jerky. Beef jerky. I love jerky! I like this one brand of jerky called SlantShack, which is really good. Especially the spicy kind. When I’m checking out at the supermarket, I always buy a bag of jerky. It’s so gross how much jerky I eat, but I eat a lot of fucking jerky, and I love it.

I am a bit strict about not blowing out my circuits with too much sugar, and I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so I don’t think I’d bring any candy with me. I wouldn’t even miss it. But potato chips and jerky are very important to me.

What about tools?

Anything solar-powered. A lot of lighters. Matches, batteries, a crowbar seems pretty useful. One of those flashlights you can crank. An earthquake kit. Something to purify water. That seems very smart. But mostly, my bags are going to be filled with jerky and silk shirts.

Anything purely for moral support?

I have a weird trove/alter of precious things by my bed. There’s a picture of my grandfather and me at my bat mitzvah, which was a time in my life when I had zero friends, and I was just such a prototypical dork. I’m dancing with my grandfather and my little hand is in his huge hand, and it looks like the part in Beauty and the Beast when the beast puts out his paw and Belle puts her tiny hand in there. That’s how big his hand is. The picture was taken right when he was pretending to sing opera, and my face was pressed up against his tuxedo. He owned a candy factory, and that’s where he worked every day. It wasn’t a chain of candy factories. It was just one factory, and they made hard candy. And even when he hadn’t been to the factory that day, all his clothes, even the fancy ones for special occasions, smelled like candy. He was the nicest man in the world, and so happy in that moment, and I take that picture with me everywhere. So I think I would take that, and then I have some special shells that I like to take around. I think it’s always important to bring little precious objects with you.

Anything weird or unexpected?

My menorah! I’m just kidding. No. I think I would take a really nice pillow and pillowcase. That is so important to me. I think having a very soft cotton pillowcase is one of the greatest luxuries. ABC has some floral print ones that I love, with little red flowers on a white background. To me, that is the image of comfort and cleanliness. I would also take a small bottle of Woolite. I think it’s really nice when your clothes smell clean. Even during an apocalypse.

Photo by Rich Fury via Getty Images; Illustrations by Katherine Moffett.  

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