Mattie Jo Cowsert is a babysitter for billionaires

Mattie Jo was a pastor’s kid and proud purity ring-wearer before she moved to New York City and experienced an unexpected worldview and identity implosion thanks to Tinder and her Jewish roommate. When marriage equality passed in 2015, Mattie Jo decided to share how the queer community was one of the catalysts for questioning everything she’d been taught about this Jesus guy in her first publicly released blog post entitled: God and the Gays. This was the start of her popular blog, God, Sex, and Rich People. 

Mattie Jo has appeared on The New Evangelicals Podcast, IndoctriNation, and Talkin’ Politics and Religion without Killin Each Other, among many others. She was invited by author Linda Kay Klein to join the Voices and Faces + Breakfree Together collaboration writing cohort on Religious Trauma, one of only ten individuals across the US to be selected. God, Sex, and Rich People, the TV series developed by Mattie Jo, won the Audience Choice Award at the 2024 Yale Innovation Summit. Her book by the same name is out September 10th, 2024.

What were you like as a teen?
As a teen, I don’t think I was very funny, to be honest. Or maybe I was, but I didn’t “translate.”
I was what a small, Evangelical community would call “something else.” It wasn’t until I went to theatre camp in upstate New York at 14, that I realized there are a ton of “something else”s in the world! They just went to schools with enough funding for theatre education where their “something else” could thrive.
Unfortunately, I was raised in Branson, Missouri so unless I was good at homophobic or hillbilly humor, I was not considered for the spotlight. So anyway I just did a lot of sports, won every talent show for singing, and was voted “most likely to be famous.”
Did you have an un-sexy starter job? 
Lol, I think I’m still doing my “starter job”? I’m a babysitter for billionaires. Oh yeah. With a “B.” We fly exclusively on their jet, and have full house staff at every house (there are 7. And “house” is an understatement. Mansions? Estates?), including private chefs. I live in luxury by proxy and then go home to my A/C unit railroad apartment like a plebe.
Okay okay but for real, my first jobs in NYC–because I had three–were the personal assistant to the craz-o wife of a millionaire, a hostess at a restaurant in the theatre district, and a “late night” dance studio janitor at STEPS on Broadway. Just writing all of that makes me very tired.
What I’ve gotten out of all of this is that being fiscally responsible (and not feeling entitled to success) will enhance your longevity in this career. I think expecting lots of rejection and really wanting this New York City artist journey for myself and then fighting for it has continued to motivate me. My work with rich people has taught me IMMENSE lessons, like, why eat the rich when you can eat their Wagyu Steak for free while sub-parenting their kids?
In all seriousness, I have had a ton of sweet moments and “connects” through my celebrity and rich people employers. They’ve donated to projects I’ve done, offered many suggestions and notes for my TV show development, and connected me to theatre incubators…but also, just like with any relationships, these connections are “long game.” They have to genuinely know you and see you “putting in the work.” So, none of my rich and famous people have made me rich and famous yet. Sadly.
What do you consider to be your biggest comedy achievement to date?
Hearing my brother–whom I find viciously smart, hilarious, and the “real writer” of the family–audibly laugh at a short I wrote, produced, and starred in. Having the whole room at Yale Innovation Summit laughing through a pitch I didn’t even know was funny.
When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it? 
People kept reading my writing–without me doing very much PR at all–and telling me how hilariously relatable and healing it was. Hearing that repeatedly encouraged me to keep going.
Have you ever dealt with trolls? Hecklers? 
Oh, Jesus yes. My content in the #Exvanglical space is very polarizing so I’ve gotten on the wrong side of TikTok (TrumpTok) plenty. Honestly, I stopped posting on TikTok as much. I hate the sound biteyness of it all. It doesn’t show the full story, so I stick to long form. One time this mobility influencer (yes, THAT’S a thing) with 1M followers took a video I posted about being injured and aging and totally trolled me. I just commented 1,000 times about my book and how everyone should buy it. Usually, my MO is to just not reply. That’s the best way to make it go away.
On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian? 
Don’t make decisions now in fear of your future failures. Make decisions now in belief of your future successes.
Best comedy advice you ever got?
Hmmm…maybe not specific enough to comedy but my dad told me something when I asked if I could go to rich kid theatre camp when I was 14 and we were, in fact, not rich. The camp cost more than my parents made in three months combined, but instead of saying “We can’t afford that.” He said, “Make it happen.” So I fundraised all the money to go through car washes at Walmart, etc… I have lived by that mantra in all my artistic goings on since.
Worst comedy advice you ever got? 
“You should be in a sketchwriting group.” I tried it. I am not good at sketch comedy. That is an entirely different wheelhouse than narrative comedy. Very commendable for people who are good at it.
How has being funny helped you in your life? 
I can write and talk about heavy topics with levity but without losing the gravity of their importance. There is a fine line between brushing over the hard stuff with humor and making the hard stuff more accessible through humor. I also think it makes me really good at my work with the uber-wealthy, even though I had no idea this culture even existed until my twenties (my family is equal parts Seventh Heaven and Winter’s Bone) because I can “read a room” and adjust rather quickly.
What can a comedy writer do to shape their voice?
Write how you speak. That is your voice. The end. And don’t read too much! You’ll try to sound like other people! lol
Was there one person who inspired you to go into the comedy world? 
My sister, Ashley. 1) because she takes everything far too seriously and 2) because watching a grown-ass woman struggle so much to come out of a religious culture that wasn’t even technically a “cult” inspired me to write my stories on my blog God, Sex, and Rich People. And that was the beginning of my “comedy” world pursuit. All of which was very accidental.
Do you have a writing routine?
It depends on what projects I have! But pretty much every morning, for the first hour of my day, I spend time writing in my journal for what I call a “brain dump.” After that, depending on my deadlines and projects,
I write in the mornings before I begin my day. I turn off all notifications, put on “focus music” playlists, and set timers for 45 minutes. I write best if I start “before the world wakes up.” So if I can start my writing process BY 7 am, I do my best work. Once I get in the flow, I don’t really want to stop.
I usually tap out at 3 hours though. I can’t really give more creative output than that. These days it hasn’t been super regular because I finished writing my book and I’m still decompressing from that experience.
What is your go-to show when you’ve had a bad day?
Younger! lol
What single word always cracks you up?
tittybaby (is that two words?)