The Stoop Storytelling Series' co-hosts reflect on 10 years of making people cry

In honor of The Stoop Storytelling Series' 10th anniversary, co-producers and co-hosts Jessica Henkin and Laur

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of The Stoop Storytelling Series, Baltimore's beloved stranger-than-fiction storytelling event, co-producers and co-hosts Jessica Henkin and Laura Wexler sat down to interview each other. Because the theme of The Stoop's anniversary show is "Awkward Adolescence," Henkin and Wexler brought their 13-year-old selves to the table.

Jessica Henkin: I get to ask you anything? Really? OK. How do you think you've grown as a person through The Stoop? (Laura rolls her eyes.) You can't judge. It's my question!

Laura Wexler: Ummm.

JH: OK. Try this. What's your favorite thing about doing The Stoop?

LW: That's easy. Scaring the shit out of people. In a nice way. Pushing people to be more honest, more vulnerable, more "themselves" than they thought they could be. Or should be.

JH: You like making people cry.

LW: A little. (Jessica rolls her eyes.) A lot.

JH: Another important question: How often are you recognized from The Stoop?

LW: Last night I was at a party and stopped to tell the chef the food was great and she said she was a big fan of The Stoop. That was cool. But the other day someone recognized me in a yoga class and that wasn't so great. I felt like the woman was thinking, "I sensed from seeing you onstage that you weren't flexible at all, and now my suspicions have been confirmed." What about you?

JH: Not often. These days, when I'm not at my (non-Stoop) day job, or onstage with Stoop, I'm unwashed and basically wearing pajamas. And since I always look so, so, SO beautiful onstage, people just can't compute.

LW: It's like seeing Boy George without his makeup on. You're like: whaaaa-?

JH: I don't think that's an accurate analogy.

LW: What have you learned about collaboration through doing The Stoop?

JH: How to own my shit and carve out my lane.

LW: Does that mean there's a lot of shit in your lane? If that's the case, I'll stay in my own lane.

JH: It means I've learned how to love being bossed around by you, knowing you're always going to grab my hand and take me where we need to go.

LW: How is your persona onstage different from your real-life personality?

JH: I'm more outgoing onstage than I am in real life. And more easygoing.

LW: So at the same time we're asking storytellers to bare their souls and be as honest as possible, you're onstage basically lying?

JH: I'm me, just better.

LW: People have compared us to a local version of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Which one are you?

JH: I look more like Amy Poehler but act more like Tina Fey. You look more like Tina Fey and act more like Amy Poehler. You have a Leslie Knope streak.

LW: So, I'm nicer?

JH: You are so much nicer. There's no question. I'm the darker one. Plus, you're happier since taking that year off and getting all that plastic surgery.

LW: Do you think I've gotten funnier as a host over these 10 years?

JH: Oh my goodness, yes. You've loosened up and are hilarious. Now, you shine like a diamond onstage, whereas, when we started, you were like a slightly dingy cubic zirconia.

LW: Am I funnier than you?

JH: Not yet, Grasshopper. But, you're getting there. You're getting there.

"The Stoop Turns 10!: Stories about the Awkward Adventures of Adolescence," a sold-out event featuring storytellers Larry Doyle, Ben Doyle, Asif Majid, Jeff Eline, Erin Mandras, Day Al-Mohamed, DDm, and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, will be held at The Senator Theatre on Feb. 10. For more information, visit

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