• Misbah Haque

Demoted in Stride w/ Hilah Schutt

Hilah is a comedian, mom, and the hardest worker in her home. We talk about walking, privacy invasion, writing styles, and more.

Connect with Hilah: https://www.instagram.com/hilah/


Hi, Ella. It's so good to see you. Thank you for coming to the show.


Oh, I was so happy that you invited me.


Yeah. I, like I was mentioning earlier, you know, I had listeners be like, I love the episodes where people relate to us common folk. And I was like, who is the most common folk person that I know Hyla.


I love it. I love to be a, I love to be a regular person. I mean, my God, if you're, I mean, I think about all of your fitness friends and things that you've done in the past, I could not be more unlike them and more common and more potentially relatable to people listening to this in terms of and disciplined and normal and feeling around all kinds of parts of my life, you know?


Yeah. Well, okay. So this is great because you know, obviously, it's been a challenging year, right. A lot going on when it comes to, to give people some context, you're a comedian, you're a mom, you, you do a lot of things you put on a lot of very cool shows you. I dunno, your, your material is really fun. And I want to hear like nowadays, how are you kind of you know, describing what you're up to?


Well, so it's funny like I took a shower for this so that in and of itself is worth noting. Even though it's a podcast I do, I was like, I read in the fine print that I would be on camera also. So I was like, Oh my God, I gotta take a shower. And then I put on a clean pair of sweatpants. And I was like, does anything feel better than a pair of sweatpants right out of the dryer? Do you know? Oh no, nothing, nothing, not at all. And I did buy bigger sweat pants for the new year. Cause it just seemed like, you know, growth, growth, growth is the theme of the year. That's right. And in all directions. Right. So I but you know, it was a really kind of I have really struggled with the fact that a lot of this year has not been bad for me and not been bad for my family.


And there was a lot of guilt wrapped around that, of course. Right. But you know, I have kids that are leaving home and have left home and had to come back and that was sort of devastating for them at the moment. But you know for anybody that listens that has young children, you think it's never going to end and it does. And then for people who maybe have older children or no, no children, but themselves are closer to being a child or relating to that young adult, like leaving home, you know I grew to really appreciate the finiteness of the time that I was going to have during this sort of quarantine and pandemic and this crazy time with my family. And so you know, I did a lot of zoom comedy shows at the beginning of this whole experience, which was really fun.


And I did a lot of families, zoom comedy shows and talking about favorite children and, you know, making a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes about the hell of having everybody home. But it was actually great, you know like it was great for the fact that I have a 20 as soon to be 20 years old and a 15-year-old. And the youngest is off at boarding school and the oldest is a college and like their time under one roof is really like, we can, we can like, see it, you know what I mean? We can count those days almost. So it was, it was great. What was it like to be an emerging performing artist? Super challenging. I felt like, like everyone, we all pivoted to zoom and I think people really appreciated that and love that those first few months, but then just like everybody elsewhere it's your job, it becomes super tiring.


And you know, it became a little uninteresting even for me to do that. I found myself not reaching out to like my normal communities to like get inspiration if it was going to have to be on a screen, you know? So and that being said, I really like really deeply dove into tech talk, you know, and that loved, I was, I'm a super passive participant, you know, everybody's like, Oh my God, mom, come on Tik Tok. And I was like so hard. It looks so hard. I mean, you've heard me for a form and make jokes about how I do not like to work very hard. So putting together tick talks sound very hard, but it's very, very fun for me to just scroll times through that. So what about reels? Do you do like reels or does that not?


That just seems like another thing to learn, you know? So I guess I could get into it. I've, I've seen to have seen some people put together reels and I've yet to see great ones. Yeah. So I just feel like either there's something the thing lacking in that platform or the people that are doing reels or not do or the people that are like, I'll stick with Instagram because I'm too scared of it. And so they're just naturally not going to be great and, you know, we curate our own feeds. So it just could be that like the feed that I have curated for myself as lame at reels.


Well, yeah, what I'm finding is that reels are really just good for having music selection because they have all of the songs like the, you know, artists you listen to versus tectonic. What I like though is they're really favoring artists like new emerging artists like us and creators, and there's no bias towards like high production.


Value stuff. I mean, I do get a little, like, it's very fascinating how many people are trying to gain some algorithm that's there. And so you, whether you see it in tags or content or what they look like. And so, you know, that exhausts me too, because I was like, how much energy do you have to spend thinking about that versus just creating something authentic that you put out there? Without all that like, think, think, think, think, think, or I want it or gaming it, you know? And I just, so there you go.


I love podcasts though. Do you know what I mean? Because there's no, there's no like, Hey, let's tell the whole story in 15 seconds, you know, it's like, let's you know, there are so many formats, there are unlimited styles and ways to do them, but ultimately it's just a long conversation where you get to like, have more content.


I like that too. And I find myself you know, one thing I've done a lot more of in the last, you know, I would like to say here, it's not really been a year, but let's just say six months or whatever. It's like, I take much, much, much longer walks, much longer walks in the beginning. It was because I, all of a sudden I went from being this, like, stay-at-home mom without a full-time job. And literally no one ever at home to a full house of a husband and three kids doing school and working and everything. And so I, my whole gig was up, you know what I mean? I was like this joyous, like pretend to be working so hard to stay at home. Mom’s thing was over. And I was like, I was like, Oh my God, work from home. I have to go get a job out of the house. I need to become an essential worker. I've got to leave. I've got to get out of here, you know, like anything to get away from them. So I would literally like to charge up my AirPods in my phone and grab my dogs. And we would go for like three hours, you know, I live somewhere where I have a lot of good walking around me. So how should we be? Just go for hours and hours.


You know, what's crazy about that is I found out that walking is, is like, there, you can generate 60% more ideas by walking, like for the creative brain. They did like research study where they tested that and the way they tested it was like divergent thinking. So listen, let think like as many possible solutions or as many possible premises or jokes or angles on something, right. People generate 60% more when they were moving. And it wasn't just, even while you're moving like outside or in nature, it could be indoors on a treadmill and it had the same effect. So when I found that out, I started, thinking about my set and using it as an excuse to like to get myself to go outside and walk. Cause like that's sometimes, especially when it's snowing and crazy, I'm like, oh, I don't know. But it thinking about like, Ooh, am I come up with something was a way that I started like, and now I'm building up time. I'm like, all right. I want to try to like, I don't know, spend at least 60 minutes or something like that. Just walking outdoors and see what, see what that does.


I also can't believe that in addition to me, myself walking is I can't get over the number of people that I see out on my walks. Right. Like it clearly has become just this incredible outlet for so many people. But I do find myself now that you're talking about this creativity that kind of gets fostered, it is amazing to me that I can be listening to something. And then it spurs a thought or an idea or a bit, or even if it's unrelated to even try to be funny or anything around something creative I want to do about something else. And then I go so deep in thought around that and I might be listening to something. And then all of a sudden I'm like 10 minutes down the road. And I'm like, I don't even know what they're talking about anymore. Do you know?


It's a flow state.


A total flow state and it's really, it's great, but it re it for me, it really required being outside in a way from like my home environment.


Here's the other thing, right? Is that when, now that everybody's at home for you, like, I don't know if you do this, but do you, like, when do you talk to yourself a lot when you're talking, working out stuff or you want to hear yourself out loud or recording yourself? I don't know.


Always. And it's very hard to do that when I know that there are other people in the house, so I've always not as free, I've always practiced or run through, you know set or material out loud, you record it. I don't particularly love listening to myself, which is sort of, it's a challenge. I think it’s holding me back. But I do, it's weird because it doesn't feel like it's practice unless I'm recording it sometimes. The pressure, the pressure and the time, and then I can see how long it is and it kind of, you know, all of that. But I have been very I would say I felt a bit stifled of recent times to the place where I've like pivoted and other things that I want to do. Like I would say creatively, and I've also found that I've been drawn to doing more work.


That's more physical versus like, you know that isn't around like, you know, being in shape or like it's not working out, you know like I'm doing so much more in my garden and I'm doing so much more labor than I would have. I mean, just in practicality, probably hired someone to do that. I'm now like, I can figure this out. Do you know what I mean? Like I can either a figure it out and then B figure out why I normally have to have someone do it for me because you know, based on this podcast I was telling you about before we started, it was an armchair expert podcast with Adam Grant and it was all kinds of different things, but one of them was, are you a satisfies or, or a maximizer? And it satisfies her is someone who needs to make a decision and is like, basically that's good enough.


I'm going to go with it versus a maximizer, who spends an inordinate amount of time, making sure they've made the best decision. Yeah. And so generally satisfies owners are happier people than maximizers because once a maximizer lands on that choice, there's still a lot of self-doubt about whether it was the best choice. And I say that again with satisfies or what's the one who may be like, here's a perfect example in my own life. Like just recently I put a little bit of wallpaper up. I did not overthink it. I saw something I liked. I was like, I think it's going to be good enough. I did have a little moment because they came to put it on the wall. And I was like, I hope I made a good choice. And I did. And it was fine, but I didn't have analysis paralysis around it, you know? So I think I'm satisfied are in most parts of my life. And when I tend to find myself leaning towards a maximizer, like the state of mind, like that's not my natural fit. So then I'm unhappy in that pursuit of the best choice because it's not naturally who I am and I'm never going to end up at the best choice at that point. Do you know what I, I think what's his name? Scott, Scott Adams.


Is somebody he's like he drew the Dilbert comics, I think. Right. and he was talking about how to create just a unique creative outlet space, a little like carving for yourself. That's just so different. And you're like how that happens. And sometimes even in careers, how that happens is mixing two to three, getting pretty good at two to three different things that are genuine of interest to you. And the combination of them sometimes become something just weird, something that might not work, but that's kind of the cool, I think that's the coolest part of this year too. Or one of the coolest is the creative innovation that everybody, I mean, all, I think all comedians have had because you're, you're not in that grind of just focusing on stage time and you were forced to kind of like, really think about what else can I do with, with what I have and what else is fun? What else? Like, you know what I mean? Like, I'm sure a lot of us that are to some degree, like sleeping a little more, ‘cause you're not out at till like 2:00 AM. Do you know what I mean?


I, it's funny, you mentioned that the other night, well, every night now and I realized like you have a fitness following on this podcast. So another thing that has drastically changed unrelated to the pandemic but in more recent years, as I became a real satisfies or around my health and fitness, you know, and I had a long, deep dive into a very different way of that many, many years ago that became, you know, a preoccupation almost. And now I'm like, you know what? I love my Apple watch because it's a good enough baseline. It's a good enough reminder. And anything that closes those rings is good enough. Right. So, and I realized that I had reached this like real, like kind of like a trough of like, if I'm not doing a CrossFit style workout, if I'm not doing this, I'm not doing this, then it's not good enough.


And so I'm not going to do it. And then I found myself not doing anything, right. So, and then during this whole pandemic, I was like, Oh my God, now we have this great home gym setup and I have to compete with five other people to get in there. So I'm just going to go for a walk, you know, or I'm going to have this little obsessive piece of me that is going to watch like my 14-year-old, pick something heavy off the floor, and it's going to give me a heart attack because he looks like a gangly, awkward person that doesn't know what the hell they're doing. So I'm like, Oh my God. I know just to be a pain in the, adjust enough to worry. So I'd have to leave. You know, there were like all these things. So this whole like satisfies is a good enough thing has like, sort of like being my motto, you know, like satisfies is enough. Well, the way I eat, I mean, I have to be satisfying or enough about what my body looks like at age 47 going on 48 and my like premenopausal life, you know, I'm just like, it's good enough. It's good enough.


Crazy about the walking thing or the simplicity of that, like close the rings, just move. Right. I just had Seoul, Joel on the show, he's the owner of the comedy club sold roles. And he was saying he lost 70 pounds this past year. And I was like, what, like, what did you do? And the only difference was that he just walked a lot more, I think an average of four four-ish miles a day, which maybe is the 10,000 steps or something. Right. something around that or maybe a little more. And he kind of just like cut down a tiny bit on everything he was doing. So didn't like to do a fad diet or eliminate everything. It just kinda toned it down and that's what happened, you know? And I think that's so cool. Like the more people I talk to who tell me that like, Hey, I'm getting my dose out of the movement by just walking. And it feels great mentally, physically, everything. I'm more of a believer in just, just do that. You know, it's so sustainable and repeatable.


Yeah. I think there's been a real, like, I mean, having adolescent children there has, I really do understand what the mental health crisis looks like. Right. I mean, I have good. I have kids that are good. Do you know what I mean? Like they're doing well, they're not in any form of crisis, but they're not by any means at their best. And so I think if people can find things that just make them feel good enough right now, I mean, aren't you so lucky right. To be so lucky. Right. so I just think it's so easy to get stuck in a place of like, Oh, if it's not if I'm not the happiest, what's wrong, it's, you know what, like sometimes you just gotta be happy enough some days, you know? I don't know. So, I mean, I just, you know, mostly, you know, I look like I'm a little bit of a SA satisfies or mom, right? Like, like I'm a satisfies her mom right now to have like, you know, if he doesn't check in with me, but once a week that's fine. Right. Like that's okay.


It's like, you're kind of reducing probably by doing that, just like spikes of just stress responses. Right. So every time it's like, like that same feeling of like watching the gangly teenager, try to snatch a barbell, you know, you're, you're not getting that same jolt every, you know, from, is this the best decision that I made and overthinking that, which I can relate to. I mean, I think I'm I'm probably a bit of both. I'd have to think about it a little more, but I think I am, there are definitely things I'm a maximizer about.


Well, and I am a maximizer warrior. Yeah. I maximize worry to the max to the total max, you know, and I have a partner, a husband, who's totally not a warrior. Right. So and I like, I need to be partnered with someone who doesn't worry. And I very much resent being partnered with someone who never worries all at the same time. Like I need to be with someone that doesn't worry. And I resent the fact that he never worries. Right. And so every now and then he does worry and I get crazy at him about it. Do you know what I mean? Cause I'm like, I look to you to not worry, you know? So if you ever flash a sign of worry, then I am literally, I'm a goner. Do you know what I mean? There aren't enough miles on my shoes to take me to that, to get me through it. Right. Like I can't walk enough if he worries.


Yeah. And I think the things that are, you're constantly scrolling and consuming and stuff, it's like, it's easy to slip into like, Oh, this is the way I got to do it. And if I'm, and it becomes this like a rubric from like middle school English, you know, that's like hit this, this and this for the satisfactory section. And it's not even something, I think some, sometimes you consciously take on, it's just, it's just, it's, you're going through it. Do you know? And, and after hours and hours of that, I'm sure like when it comes to nutrition or, or fitness, even it's like, you can have a, you have an image or a really built up in your head of what it should look like. But it seems like what you've done is you've used that stuff over the years as kind of a vehicle to figure out what Hyla really wants.


And I think also I like getting, you know, it's so funny, I have a scale in my house, which everybody has a love, hate relationship with their scale. Right. and I got on my scale and it's one of these ones where you bought it at some point, you know, you put your age in and your height and it's, in theory, does a lot more things, but it doesn't an actuality really do that. And I got that scale. Yeah. All of that, which you know, is complete, you know, bologna, you know, you're not to stand on two little plates and it's going to be by any means accurate, you know, or at least I like to tell myself that because I don't like what that tells me.


Well, it's like, if you, if you're not, if you drink like 2% less water the night before, it could like throw off all the results, you know?


Yeah. Totally. Or eat a bag of chips and the salt and everything, whatever. But I, I bought that scale exactly 10 years ago. Right. And so, because the age on the scale is 37. So, so it's not like I was ever going to ch I wouldn't begin to know how to change the age on the scale now you're right. Like the students' reactions are long got. Right. And I only bring that up to say, like, it's so interesting. Cause I think about my life and T from 10 years ago of like, well, where was I? 10 years ago that I even wanted to have a scale. Right. And then I think about all the, like this part of my life. And I was like, well, there's some piece of me that kept the scale. Right. I generally, I do often use the scale to like weigh boxes before I put a FedEx label at home on them.


Do you know what I mean? And I was like, it's great that I have something that can handle something heavy. That's not me. That's not just me. That's exactly right. So they're just like all these little things that I look around and, but then I'm also totally normal. Right. Like I also see pictures of myself or me, you know, they're just like, I'm like, and this too is another iteration of like a place that I'm in. But you know, it's when you mentioned the scrolling and the stress and the worry, like, you know, I just, I generally feel it less for myself and more for people that are younger than me that are like truly, like I gen you know, like first-generation like of people coming along that have a hundred percent had a device and just, you know, what is that, what is that life like? You know, like there's never not been some version of scrolling. Yeah.


I wonder that sometimes too, because I am kind of, I do appreciate a lot of like the analog stuff, like handwriting, that's like a big one for me. I like have tried electronic. I go back to it and it's something by default, you kind of sometimes have to anyways, it's like, you end up typing it up. But like the first iteration of it is way funnier. If you can like write it with your favorite pen.


Find like, from a creative, when you're writing and thinking about the material, do you always do it by hand?


Yeah. Now I do before I used to mix, but like now primarily my hand and only time it's like digitally is like, if I'm walking and I don't have it, and it's weird to pull out a notebook or something. Yeah.


And you have an idea that you don't want to forget. Yes. Yeah. You know, I also find and one of my kids figured this out naturally my oldest and he loves school and he's great at school. He's the one in college. But he's, you know, he was always writing his notes in class and then rewriting them to study. And of course, there is something that happens in the like action of handwriting that like, you know, locks it into your brain in a different way. And I do find too that from a creative standpoint, I don't find that the keyboard to be very I don't know, the flow doesn't flow for me in a keyboard the same way a journal, you know, I mean, I have stacks of books, you know, and anyways, it's amazing how the brain works.


They've done like a, a research study, I think, where they compared, like, you can get more out when you do type. And it, I feel like you can get more productivity and everything out of it, but handwriting, I think you forget more of it and handwriting is better for retention and like getting it to stick in your brain, I guess. And you're also like, you're thinking as you're writing, you know what I mean? Like you have time to think versus like, you can type way faster. You can type as fast as you think sometimes. Right. What you don't want sometimes, and you want to slow it down. So writing, I feel like help brings it down in that way.


Yeah. And I find, I do scribble out a lot too. Right. Like you know, I find a line through things or but then it's also interesting to go back when you read through things and look at like, Oh, well, what did I cross out? Or what did I not think that was, you know? But the stream of consciousness is definitely just the out the flow for handwriting is better. What else do you like that's analog?


I guess let's see, what else is analog? I don't know. I lo to me live performings analog in a way, you know what I mean? Especially when you can do the zoom rooms and everything now there is still something that, you know, we were talking about doing zoom shows. I did them too, and they were gray, took a bit of a learning curve different, but then I don't know, it just didn't hit the same. And I rather, I almost felt at a certain point, I enjoyed more to putting together a podcast or a video that was not live and just, I got more satisfaction of making that thing, but the live-in person as a whole different experience where I'm like, I don't care if this is fewer people, shittier people. Whoever's like, I like whatever this brings. Sometimes like there's a, there, I think that even with in-person conversations or whatever that, you know is maybe considered analog though.


Yeah, no, I think you're right. I mean, I also found that I have been reaching out to so many different people to take walks with also because you know, you kind of have everybody had a little pot of people that they kind of by default sort of hunkered down with or created a CIF, a COVID safe space with of like, okay, well, we can, we can have drinks outside together. Our kids can see each other or things like that. Right. But it's still, you know, it kinda sh it’s shrunk down a lot. And so, like, I sort of created a little resolution coming into this year of like, okay, every week I'd like to take a walk with someone that I don't see very often or is interesting to me in a different way. Or I know that the conversation and our walk will not be a conversation that I have every day.


And it's just, you know, another, I think that's as much for my mental health. And also I'm, I'm an extrovert, I'm a connected connector. I like to be around people. And so, you know, same as missing live performing. I just don't think that, I think we probably all have settled into some, we feel like this is our new normal cause it's been going on and it's so very, un-normal still right. It's still, so un-normal at least I'm living in California. I mean, I think depending on where you live in the country, your experience at this stage, and things that 11 months into this pandemic are totally different. Right. I think so, too. So that's also hard. I don't think there are things not even within a state, right? Like I'm in Philly.


And then you go to Eagleville where I'm, my parents are something and it's a totally different vibe. And you know, I, I, yeah, I do think like what you were saying with like, generally things are well free, or they feel like they've been good, but there's that you know, a little bit of guilt that comes with that, I'm sure, you know, we all are experiencing some version of it. Cause I, I hear that from everybody. Like how, you know, how things Ben, how are you? And it's like, it's like, you know, things have been like terrible in this way maybe, but like really good in this way. And I don't know what that is, you know, is that just like a, is that a breakdown of everything else and everything else had been taken away and then you're just like, you appreciate just the simple things, like going on a walk.


Well, I mean, I, I just have so much guilt. I think I mentioned around that feeling because I like that also came at a time where it was so obvious how many people were suffering, you know? And like, based on your socioeconomic or your, the color of your skin, your experience for the last 11 months has been totally different. Do you know? I mean, I'm a middle-aged white woman that doesn't worry about food or shelter or work or anything, you know, like there isn't anything essential in my life that I want a worry for. And I am so keenly aware of how lucky I am and just how so many people like that aren't or how many people are not feeling that you know? And it has definitely informed how my kids and my has how we've lived our lives. Right. Like I did not want to travel around the holidays. You know, I did not want when people in California and lots of people I knew were like taking trips to Hawaii and taking things. I was like, it just doesn't feel right. You know, like, so you know, there's so much happening in my life that like, I get into more of an ethical quandary over, you know? And so like, I appreciate the, like my life's good. And then I, I struggle with that too. You know.


I think we all are to some degree it's like the boat things are coat can maybe co-exist at the same time.


Yeah. I mean, I think if you're paying attention, you know, and if you care about your fellow, man, you're noticing that you know, I think that there are a lot of people out there that are like, you know, like that buffoon mayor in Texas, you know, who was like, who wants a handout? Who do you think you are? You're like, we just want our power, you know, like I thought you were in charge of that, you know, like this mayor who was just like, screw you guys. That's not what we're. I mean, I was like, so that guy's not feeling bad that guy's not thinking about it at all. Do you know? So anyway, it's funny and you know, it's not, it's not just, you know, all roads don't have to lead back to politics of course.


Totally, it's a that reminds me of like a, in middle school, we had this like fire, the fire alarm went off. Right. And there was an actual, I think fire and the teacher like got to the point where sh she audibly said, screw you guys, I'm getting out of here. And she left and everybody heard her. And it was like a whole thing where like, they were, you know, the PR I think something happened probably because of it. But it's like that we were seeing who had kind of has that mentality, I think. And then you're also seeing people who are like, Hey, let's figure out, you know, even if you can't do anything, it's just maybe giving it space to breathe and think and be like, Hmm, let's apply our creative brains and see maybe even in the local area, how things, you know how you can help and how things can be different. So it's given us a chance, I think, to even ask those types of questions.


I think so well in your modeling, you know, I mean, I'm keenly aware, you kn