Street: How was NSO with a freshmen hall?
Gabe Jimenez: NSO is like, reeaalllyy?! That’s what it is. Like, really? You drank that many drinks? Really? You went to that party, really? You couldn’t find Locust Walk? Really? I think it’s very much like that. With the inflection and all.
Street: What’s the best part about the job?
GJ: I love people trying to put up this front like they’re not nerdy, and just seeing it crumble. Like, “Nope! You are definitely nerdy! Just let it flow! Wave your freak flag high, do it!”
Street: Do you have a message for your freshmen?
GJ: To the windooooow! (and now they repeat, “To the walls!”) It’s a chant. We have it. It works. I think we used it twice and nixed it after that.
Street: As director, how do you pick the SPEC Connaissance speakers?
GJ: We try to use the SPEC survey as much as possible. Unfortunately, we get a million Tina Feys, but little do they know that Tina Fey is like $300,000 to come speak...We spend just weeks and weeks negotiating over Google Docs, and sending out reasons and standing ground and peer pressuring everyone like “No! Go with this person!”
Street: Who’s been your favorite?
GJ: I think Ariana Huffington. She just laid some real knowledge on us. Like, I remember she just had hip surgery, and so she wobbled in front of the podium and was just like, “Let me tell you how it is. I got a divorce, traveled without any money, and I figured it all out, and you guys will do the same.”
Street: Tell us about Without a Net!
GJ: We are Penn’s premier (aka only) improv comedy group. We call it Without a Net because we perform without a safety net! We literally unite over the fun of making something out of nothing. I love improv, it’s like life rules—always say “yes, and...,” always make things about relationships, always try to raise the stakes.
Street: Do you ever make awkward eye contact with the audience while performing?
GJ: I love to find one person in the audience and...I just want them to feel like it’s an R. Kelly concert—oh, that’s a bad example! I want them to feel like it's an Usher concert. Or Justin Timberlake. Not R. Kelly. You just stare deeply into their eyes, you put some R&B rhythm into it, and while they’re locked into your eyes, you just body sway.
Street: Does it work?
GJ: Before they know it, their palms are sweaty and their endorphins are high.
Street: Give us your best pick up line.
GJ: What has 42 teeth and holds back a monster?
GJ: My zipper. Very aggressive, I apologize.
Street: What’s a song on your life soundtrack?
GJ: " La La La" by Naughty Boy and Sam Smith.
Street: Fill in the blank: there are two types of people at Penn...
GJ: People who do things for the applause, and people who do things for the passion.
Street: What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
GJ: Birthed me probably—kudos to my mom.
Street: What do you want to be when you grow up?
GJ: Maybe work in media and entertainment, but eventually be a stay–at–home dad. Stay–at–home city dad, not suburban dad.
Street: Coffee or Tea?
GJ: Tea. I don’t drink coffee. Actually, orange juice to be honest.
Street: What was your favorite childhood game?
GJ: Chinese jump rope! I think I have it with me! I carry it around with me all the time.
Street: Do enough people play that that it’s worth carrying around?
GJ: I usually play with chairs.
Street: What’s your favorite place on campus?
GJ: The digital media lab in Van Pelt. That is like a hidden gem that people don’t know enough about.
Street: Tell us about your first kiss.
GJ: We were both in drama together...It was during rehearsal. So we were sitting outside at the back of the gym by the wall and we were looking at each other and I don’t remember what I said but I think I probably just like made it out very plainly, very bluntly, like, “Do you want to kiss?” and then just went in. I definitely think I held my breath though.
Street: When was the first time you walked over the compass?
GJ: Freshman year because I fell!...Then I tried to like, wiggle back.
Street: Did you fail your midterms?
GJ: I missed the submit date for my midterm for my writing seminar. So I almost failed that. But luckily I did some begging and some explanation why I missed it: “I fell on the compass and it’s just ruined my life ever since. I’m the victim in this.”
Street: If you are what you eat, what are you?
GJ: I am a green machine. It’s the Naked juice. A green machine or frijoles. Or a meal of the two. That’s great, protein and greens.
Street: If you could Freaky Friday with someone who would it be?
GJ: Spiderman. I would just love to rock spandex when its appropriate.