Riane Konc is a humor writer and essayist living in the Midwest.
New Yorker: Presidential Trolley Problems
June 15, 2020
"There is a runaway trolley speeding down the tracks toward five people. You can pull a lever and change the trolley’s path so that it hits only one person. Technically, the trolley should be able to come to a stop long before a disaster occurs, but two years ago you cut the trolley’s brakes.
Who could have seen this coming?"
The New Yorker: Aesop's Fables Written After a Bad Breakup
Feb. 5, 2020
"The sparrow waited just a little too long to reply, which prompted the robin to inquire, 'Can I ask what, exactly, are we doing here?' and, when he balked at that, too, the robin responded by gathering up her things and accusing the sparrow of being a sloppy, overgrown hatchling who slept in a pile of twigs and drank nectar straight from the flower."
Jan. 27, 2020
"In fourth grade, my teacher stood up at the chalkboard and pulled down a blank world map for all of us to see, and I was like, 'Very cool.' Then she pulled down another world map with the names of countries written on it, and I was like, 'Absolutely not.'"
December 20, 2019
"'Chestnuts Suffering on an Open Fire,' Werner Herzog
When she is asked to direct the nativity play, the local chestnut farmer Noel learns an important lesson: mortality is chaos, and the only thing that binds us all together is destruction. And, after Noel witnesses Nick, her former high-school flame, being fatally mauled by a rabid reindeer, she comes at last to accept that to exist is to suffer. Candace Cameron Bure stars."
Dec. 16, 2019
"Ships at a distance have every wish on board. What they don’t have on board is a supply of fresh citrus, which is too bad for the men whose wish was to not get scurvy."
The New Yorker: Comedy = Tragedy + Time, and Other Equations
Dec. 7, 2019
"Tragedy + time = comedy
Tragedy + 9 months of hiding out = Comedy Cellar
Tragedy + > 1 year of hiding out = new Netflix special."
Dec. 6, 2019
“'Given the choice between a free press and a free lunch, I would choose a free press.'
This one might not seem like a big deal until you realize that at the moment he said this, the journalist who said it was turning down a container of Pizza Lunchables."
McSweeney's: FAQ: Your New Houseplant
Nov. 15, 2019
"The older I get, the more I’m becoming aware of a primal longing deep within that I fear can only be soothed by having the children I couldn’t afford to raise. Where should I hang my new houseplant?"
The American Bystander: Can I Be Real With You for a Second? by Yankee Doodle
Oct. 25, 2019
"It's 'PC culture' that's the problem.Let me define 'PC culture' for you: 'PC culture' is whatever makes me bomb night after night."
The New Yorker: Reviews Are in for 'The Female Joker'
Oct. 11, 2019
"Some viewers may find themselves sympathizing with the Joker when, utterly alone and unloved, she decides to ‘just get super into skincare and see how that goes.’"
Electric Literature: Literary Wedding Ideas for People Who Don't Really Understand Books
Oct. 4, 2019
"The Jungle: A theme for a true foodie! Your guests will have a hoot choosing between meal options like 'borax and glycerine sausage slop' and 'the bread is moving because it’s rats' and 'fresh-caught salmon (hint of child gristle).'"
Sept. 26, 2019
"Thank you so much for bringing in 16 bins of your clothes to sell at Plato’s Exchange today. We know that you’ve spent several years and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, building this wardrobe, and that’s why we’re happy to say that we can offer 85 cents for all of it."
Cincinnati Parent: Kid in the Kitchen
Sept. 5, 2019
“'Dicing celery' is what it’s called when you take a piece of celery in one hand, a whisk in the other, gaze off into the distance, and, suddenly realizing that you are done with this activity, ask, 'Are we done, mom?'"
August 6, 2019
"As a staunch supporter of the constitutional right to snap your fingers and make half of the universe disappear, I look at a tragedy like this — wherein a very disturbed individual snapped his fingers and made half of the universe disappear — and I wonder… how does something like this happen?"
Image Journal: Earthbound Hymn
July 15, 2019
"This is what I believe now: the natural world is a horror and a miracle, and I find it either the best argument for the existence of God, or proof positive of his absence."
Parents Magazine: To: Baby manufacturer
Subject: Missing parts--important!!!
August 2019 Issue
"I received your product on August 24, 2015, at 3:25 P.M. Baby: Girl Version took about 13 hours to be delivered and had to be ordered nine months ahead of time, but I had been advised of these possibilities and had no complaints.
Unfortunately, mine did not come with teeth."
Cincinnati Parent: Skating Through Life
July 3, 2019
"Already, my daughter thinks she is an amazing skater. Here is what I mean by skating: she grabs my hand with a death grip, takes the tiniest steps forward, and every once in a while, she yells, 'Slow down! Slow down!' while a snail zooms past."
My Interview With Raphael Bob-Waksberg for Electric Literature: The Creator of 'BoJack Horseman' Has a New Way to Break Your Heart
June 28, 2019
"Maybe it would be better to say that shortly after I started reading the book, I sent my editor a photo of one of the pages with a single line highlighted. The line read: 'I would try to tell her, Things will get better, but it came out as: Nothing didn’t get worse.'"
The New Yorker: Your New Generalized-Anxiety Home-Security System
June 26, 2019
"To get started, simply install Generalized-Anxiety Home-Security System sensors on your front door, and then on your bedroom door, and then on the kitchen door, and then on the bathroom door, and then on the closet doors, and then maybe put another one on your bedroom door, just to be safe. You can never be too safe! You can also never be truly safe."
My Interview on Hyoom: Riane Konc On Embracing the Delightful Romp of Absurdity
June 23, 2019
"Who’s a writer you love (living or dead), and what question do you want to ask them?
Mary Oliver. I’d like to ask her, 'Will you explain a meadow to me and also be my mom.'"
Slackjaw: I Like My Men Like I Like My ...
June 17, 2019
Image Journal: The Gospel According to Fleabag
June 13, 2019
"That’s the two-tier Gospel of Fleabag: first, that eating pine nuts does, in fact, make you a grown up; and second, that healing doesn’t begin when someone finally loves you the way you want to be loved. It begins at a bus stop."
April 15, 2019
"Specifically, 'Space Cowboy' sounds like the musical equivalent of a muscle-bound cowboy busting through the swinging doors of a celestial saloon pecs-first, then banging on the bar counter in 4/4 time, demanding to know if the barkeep affirms a pre- or post-tribulation eschatological belief system."
The American Bystander: Who Are the Democratic Socialists of America?
March 2019, Issue #10
"Ultimately, the DSA believes that a person's access to healthcare or education or housing should not be contingent on a person's being wealthy. The DSA believes that the only thing that should be contingent on wealth is the ability to use 'summer' as a verb."
The American Bystander: I Am a Writer. Please Don't Make Me Write.
March 2019, Issue #10
"Real writers know that complaining about writing is to the writer what water is to the body: a full 75% of it."
McSweeney's: Congratulations on Your Accomplishment!
March 8, 2019
"Wow! I just heard the good news about your latest accomplishment, and I just wanted to be the first to say congratulations! This is amazing for you and not primarily a referendum on my lack of success in a similar field!"
The New Yorker: Tips for Writing a Novel
March 8, 2019
"Write the story that you most want to read. Which, yeah, for the majority of us, means a story about a giraffe and a fireman who are best friends."
February 19, 2019
"Bitch better have my money
Bitch doesn’t see you in our invoice system
Bitch is wondering if you ever sent in a W-9?"
Weekly Humorist: Your Guide to the Super Bowl
February 1, 2019
"American football as we know it actually evolved from rugby football. But if it really evolved from rugby, like sports historians claim, then why is rugby football still around?"
January 11, 2019
"My grandmother or grandfather participated in NAVIGATING YOUR DEPRESSION. Am I guaranteed a spot?
This isn’t the Ivy League — we don’t guarantee spots for legacies! That said, the more people in your immediate family who have participated in NAVIGATING YOUR DEPRESSION, the more likely it is that you will, too."
The New Yorker: Bad News, Good News
January 3, 2019
"The bad news is that everyone’s looking at me like I’m supposed to know how to pull this plane out of its tailspin. The good news is that, at my funeral, my parents will be able to use their famous catchphrase: 'Being a pilot seems like a bad choice for someone with amnesia, Greg.'"
McSweeney's: The Re-Gifts of the Wise Men
December 21, 2018
“'That is not all, blessed Mother! I have also brought the Christ child a sweet treat: a hollowed shepherd’s staff containing red and green M&Ms.'"
McSweeney's: The Myth of Paul Ryan
December 19, 2018
"Sing to me, O Fox Muse, of that noodle-spined hero who traveled far and wide, born in Janesville, Wisconsin, the last born son of Dracula and a polo shirt. "
December 3, 2018
"I think I speak for Tracy and myself when I say this: all it took was one look into our little boy’s eyes, and we instantly realized, 'Wow. He is going to do serious social media numbers for us.'"
November 8, 2018
"What we SHOULD be spending this amazing day focusing on is the fact that my arms broke so completely that if you flick my forearm, it'll spin around like a pinwheel."
The New Yorker: Power Anthems for Adults
November 7, 2018
The New Yorker: Emily Dickinson's Patreon
October 24, 2018
"$1 or more per month:
You will be added to my Mailing list to receive monthly updates regarding the fauna outside my living quarters. I regret that I must then immediately remove you from my Mailing list, as I cannot, at this time, bear to maintain a Correspondence with anyone but my sister."
The New York Times: Autumn Means More Than Wet Socks and Gourd Tea
September 29, 2018
"I love going door to door singing the old, beloved fall carols like 'Thanksgiving Prince' and 'Squirrel Rot Rock.' I just love watching my neighbors’ faces light up as they peer at me through a crack in their blinds and silently feel around for the alarm. That’s fall, to me."
September 22, 2018
"I stood in front of a mirror, said, 'Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary,' and a woman’s face appeared next to mine and moaned, 'Greg, if you don’t stop doing that, you’re going to make us late for dinner.'"
The New York Times: Airbnb Reviews of My Childhood Home
July 21, 2018
"I rarely give one-star reviews, but ever since the hosts remodeled the kitchen last year, none of my cereal bowls are where they used to be."
The New Yorker: Updated Presidential Fitness Test
July 20, 2018
"Did you touch your elbows to your thighs? Then you’ve earned a point for one curl-up. If, instead of touching your elbows to your thighs, you called the entire European Union the foe of the United States, no points."
July 9, 2018
"Think ants don’t have a cool nickname for cocaine? Think again ('Picnic Lightning')."
The New Yorker: Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Everything You Need to Know
June 6, 2018
"Look, if we’re talking about who is the most self-conscious about his forearms (and so is always hiding them in those tight sleevies), then LeBron is the clear winner. But, as every sports editor I have ever worked for has reminded me, that is literally never what we are talking about."
The New Yorker: Encouragement for Struggling Creatives
MAY 28, 2018
"At the age of twenty-three, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job. This is the beginning and the end of the things you have in common with Oprah."
Points in Case: Episodes from the Dark, Gritty Reboot of Blue's Clues
May 16, 2018
"Steve nods, staring down at the envelope for one beat, two beats, then slowly raises his head, looks into the camera, and whispers: 'We just got a letter.'"
May 11, 2018
"She knows 'dog' and she knows 'pig,' but she is young, so she thinks these are words for animals, not women. She is new here."