States of Independence
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How to enjoy a perfect party on 'Murica day

Artist and comedian Casey Jane Ellison on why we should eat bee pollen and wear a Wal-Mart tee

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Be independent, and free Courtesy of Casey Jane Ellison

Casey Jane Ellison is not only crack-your-ribs, die-of-suffocating-on-your-own-laughter funny, but she does so on her terms – which means she does stand-up at galleries and clubs, makes crazy narcissistic art-videos that sell cultish T-shirts of her face, and produces animated videos that are so weird, they might only be described as “uncanny valleygirl,” capturing Millenialist, internet-based malaise with the raspy precision of a Britney Spears glottal fry. Through all this, Ellison self-identifies as the rarest of birds: an artist and comedian. But most of all, Ellison understands herself to be the loud-and-proud ‘Murican that she is, ready to go toe-to-toe with terrorists or even Commies at the drop of a hat. Which makes her the perfect person to give perfect advice on how to enjoy a perfect party on ‘Murica Day a.k.a. the 4th of July.

What makes you qualified to give this awesome advice about this perfect party on this most perfect of holidays?

Casey Jane Ellison: If you look back in history, they never didn’t think it was the worst of times. Everybody, for thousands of years has believed, “THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE END.” I’m not a cynic and neither are you despite our dark lipstick choices. I could cry thinking about how great we are and could be. I fucking love this country! Of course that is my inbred nationalism developed through years of drilling and training within hierarchies. I’m just like you. Anarchy is the only dignity. Let’s party!

What American stuff should you buy to fill the emptiness on July 4?

Casey Jane Ellison: Stay out of the stores today and take this time with family and friends to reflect on what America’s independence really means on this spectacular anniversary. Think about how we can rebuild and maintain our forefathers idealised revolutionary spirit by starting a zine, writing to your representatives about your zine, and handing out your zine. I’m kidding. Be an American, buy foreign.

What kind of trend should you wear to the perfect party? Be independent on independence day?

Casey Jane Ellison: Red, white, and blue is cool, but a little obvious. And people might think you’re from France or Britain, so just wear a festive GM tee or a Wal-Mart tee or even a UnitedHealth Group tee. Like those gorgeous ones that have a logo on the left breast, almost like over your heart, and also has a larger, even more gorgeous logo on the back. These shirts are so beautiful because of their craftsmanship, but also their meaning. No one will think you’re from France in those dad tees.

Make a tight playlist for being an American DJ at the perfect party.

Casey Jane Ellison: "Anything Not Propagandist…" is the name of my new single so put that on there. “Happy” by Pharrell is perfect this summer because it reminds me to be happy and even if I’m sad, just be happy and so I’m happy because Pharrell told me to be happy so I know now to ignore what I feel and just be happy. And no, Satan did not just speak through me.

“I’d take one look at the prison system and say, ‘I thought we all decided I fucking fixed this!’ Then, I’d visit a gay club”

What food is most patriotic?

Casey Jane Ellison: Any food is the most patriotic. That’s what’s so great about America! We’ll eat anything. Kind Bars, Lacroix, mochi, farm fresh shrimp, plastic, lobster genes, soy by the tons, pills, bee pollen, even sandwiches! Once, I ate a Monsanto stew that was so good.

You're Abraham Lincoln and you came back from the dead to come to the perfect party. First of all, scary! Second, what do you think of America?

Casey Jane Ellison: I’d take one look at the prison system and say, “I thought we all decided I fucking fixed this!” Then, I’d visit a gay club. Then, the public would find a way to martyr me again. Then, they’d make a movie about my resurrection and how even I, Lincoln, couldn’t escape his fate.

How do you get your crush to notice you at the perfect party? 

Casey Jane Ellison: Do what I do and move far away from your crush and go find the host to ream them for not locally sourcing their meats. In your attempt to seem independent, you’ll look engaged and political and your crush will be too intimidated to talk to you ever. Raise the stakes by never looking at them. Never see them again. Maybe one day you’ll be mature enough not to build a political stance just to seem disinterested in your unrequited love and just believe, sincerely, in locally sourcing your meats and that love will set you free.  

What should you do if you're alone and sad on July 4 and you weren't invited to the perfect party?

Casey Jane Ellison: Make copies of the Declaration of Independence, highlight the sections we don’t need anymore, and hand them out to unsuspecting strangers. Or you could just stay home and prepare your body for the revolution.

Is there a surefire way to avoid getting a DUI after the perfect party?

Casey Jane Ellison: No! I know it seems patriotic to get arrested on this important holiday, but DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. This is the day to acknowledge your nation, not to be identified and apprehended by the State.

“I know it seems patriotic to get arrested on this important holiday, but DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. This is the day to acknowledge your nation, not to be identified and apprehended by the State”

What makes America so great?

Casey Jane Ellison: America is #1! I always feel better saying that whether or not it’s true or if it even means anything. To feel safe thinking, “America is #1” just describes all the suffering that props up the sentiment and said safety. No one can argue that we are definitely #1 in believing we’re #1!… Except North Korea. What is truth, what is meaning? What is a nation?!  NO ONE KNOWS. I don’t mean to sound preachy, but we live in a simulation.

The 4th of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the success of the revolution and the invention of America. Our slave-owning forefathers set forth inalienable freedom for all Americans. And yes, I’m aware of the genocidal hypocrisy built in that sentence and in our nation. It’s crushing. It’s insurmountable. That hypocrisy seems to be the lifeblood of our nation. To honour the idealised revolutionary spirit and words of our forefathers on this day seems impossible. It feels like the only thing we can do is make a zine and drink and drive. Instead, I would hope that we Millennials could use the only power they gave us for good. Spend our parents’ money on sustainable systems we support. Every dollar is a vote, Boo. Money makes the rules. 

You can catch Ellison’s stand-up at the Palace in Los Angeles on July 24th, 2014

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