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Happy Woman: Behind The Laughter

We cobbled together some telephone interviews to give you a behind the scenes peek at Happy Woman Magazine.

Sharon: I always knew I was destined for greatness, that I had a higher calling. I had a sixth toe.Iit fell off when I was twelve.

Irene: Four years ago I came up with the idea for a magazine called Jolly Lady and then next day Sharon registered Happy Woman. I asked her about it but she confused me with a story about the 24 hour phenomenon and told me eggplant makes me look sallow.

Savannah: I would like to start out by thanking you for this wonderful honor, of which I'm so deserving! I want to thank my fans, my parents, the Seagram Company.

(Note: We had some interference on the ship to shore call we placed to Savannah )

Elizabeth: I discovered the magazine while I was web-surfing one day. They seemed to need a competent advice columnist, so I e-mailed Sharon. And the rest was history maybe, not exactly the greatest history. Sharon promised Savannah a "five-figure" deal for the column. She forgot to mention that included the decimal point and leading zeroes.

Rondi: Sharon asked me to do the Survivor summaries for her, saying she was overworked. She told me not to worry about deadlines or word count, to get them to her by Friday afternoon or evening. She told me she'd pay me $500 per summary and said that she was thrilled to have me writing for her. Since then she's called me every Thursday at 9:01 asking if the summary is done yet, and when I say "no" she sighs and says to get it to her by ten since she likes to be asleep by 10:15. She calls every fifteen minutes till it's done.

Sharon: There's been a lot of talk about payment and I guess it depends on your definition. If you define payment as the act of giving money to discharge a debt and if by money you mean something that enables you to buy other things, then no, there is no payment. But if by payment you mean the privilege of writing a weekly column, then yes, there is payment.

Sharon: Elizabeth Hanes has contributed many pieces to the magazine, she's no Jackie Collins but it's the only way we can keep Savannah. In four years Elizabeth hasn't managed to stagger into the office once.

Elizabeth: I live in New Mexico. NEW MEXICO! The 47th U.S. state! We are part of the United States of America. Why can't you people get that through your heads? Anyway, I used to write for HW but The final straw came when Sharon assigned me an article on "Spring Makeovers." I did the best job I could. It's not my fault she didn't specify "for attractive women." How was I to know?

Irene: I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be doing here, but I know I can't leave.

Rondi: The first couple of summaries were around 1500 words and Sharon got sort of snippy and said when she was writing the summaries they were 2500 words, minimum. "It's an hour show you know! There's a lot to draw from!" You know, that kind of comment. She also says the summaries aren't funny -- "you know Rondi, a kid could write funnier than that!".

Irene: I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had registered jollylady.com. You know, if it was me instead of her. I doubt I'd force people to play musical chairs and for sure I wouldn't have a swear jar.

Elizabeth: I never doubted for a minute I'd be famous. If not for that unfortunate incident in the Miss Dairy Universe pageant, when my udder costume leaked, I'm sure I'd be in movies today.

Sharon: Roy Hall joined us three years ago. . It was the only way we could get Audra. I think they have a pretty complicated relationship but I haven't given it a lot of thought because I have a television.

Roy: The genesis of my relationship with Audra is no different from any other disturbingly Freudian, mother-son affair involving a high profile network television programming executive and her young, amnesiac ward. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks yourself. But to paint a complete picture, I must go back fifteen years to a time and place I no longer recall.

(Note: Roy did in fact recall. He kept recalling and recalling until finally we had to give him his own space. Here is the complete text.)

Irene: Sometimes Sharon lies.

Sharon: I've been called a Messiah by some people. Many people actually.

Rondi: When I told her two weeks ago that I hadn't received a cheque yet for my work, she sort of stammered and said she was having "problems" but that she had a cousin who was a Mercedes dealer and that she'd get me a car instead. So yesterday I pressed her on that and she said that I must have misheard her and that what she really said was that I could borrow her car sometime, "when the other staffers aren't using it."

Sharon: I think it's important to stay humble, so each week I ask the contributors to email me a list of their faults.

Elizabeth: No matter what Savannah sends her, it's nit-nit-nit. "I didn't like that comma; it just looks so jejeune," or "You're too old for a Wonderbra, it makes you look tarty." Things like that.

Roy: These days, between meds, I dispense Audra's sage words of advice to the readers of Happy Woman Magazine. Audra says it's the least we can do, for, after all, "doesn't everyone deserve a love like ours?"

Sharon: There was some sort of mix-up. I thought we were getting Audra Lindley but then there was this big thing about her being dead. In a way it's better because she's a TV executive and who knows maybe she'll put in a kind word for "The Sharon Grehan Experience."

Elizabeth: She also promised we'd be on TV. Savannah nearly sobered up for that one.

Sharon: As a final message to all the people who have worked very hard to make Happy Woman a success I would like to say a very hearty "You're welcome."


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Sharon Grehan Creator. Founder. Beloved.



Elizabeth Hanes holds a degree in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. Her nonfiction articles and stories have been featured in "Collector's News," the Colorado Springs "Gazette," and the Pikes Peak or Bust rodeo program. Or so she says.

She queried Happy Woman Magazine 27 times before they finally accepted one of her humor articles, and then only because she told them she visits the site 3 times a day and clicks on all the advertising banners each time. She also is the wicked, wicked mind behind "Savannah Lawless." Munching valium by day and sipping champagne by night are what keep Elizabeth a "happy woman."


Irene Duma Is an actor, writer and comedian based in Toronto, Ontario.

Currently she is working in New Media Design and is co-founding a company dedicated to producing original online entertainment.

Irene is co-creator and co-writer with Sharon of Madame Borshka's Beauty Tips," as well as being the beautiful but vacant Tanya.

Irene wrote How Prozac saved my Marriage. Fab Fashions for the Holiday's and inspired "How to Keep Your Man Happy".

Rondi Adamson is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She believes writing is the highest of callings and only worthwhile when it can ennoble mankind. Accordingly therefore, she will only write for "anyone who pays me."Look for her feature "Why Small Children should be Armed" in an upcoming issue of "Guns N' Ammo Weekly."

Rondi has her own column in the Ottawa Citizen. She also has had her work published in The National Post, The Globe and Mail, Report on Business, Saturday Night,Toronto Life, George, Comic Relief and Cat Fancy.


R. Hall, is a New York based freelance writer.

R. Hall is a regular contributor to Modern Humorist. Check out his latest offering: You Are the Weakest Catchphrase... Goodbye! and A Democratic Response to Barbra Streisand's Memo.

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