Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Danielle Henderson, TV writer and podcast host shares an uproarious, moving memoir of her unconventional childhood—and a moving look at what it means to be family

LISTEN to this week's conversation
with TV writer, podcast host, and author Danielle Henderson

Danielle Henderson, a TV writer for shows including Maniac, Divorce, and Difficult People, creator of the viral Feminist Ryan Gosling meme, and cohost of the podcast I Saw What You Did, shares her memoir THE UGLY CRY. With signature humor, wit and deep insight, she reminisces on being Black, weird, and overwhelmingly uncool in a predominantly white, granola town in upstate New York.

“The Ugly Cry is the funniest memoir I have ever read. It is also achingly sad. And powerfully redemptive.”

– Augusten Burroughs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors

“If you fight that motherf**ker and you don’t win, you’re going to come home and fight me.” Not the advice you’d normally expect from your grandmother—but Danielle Henderson would be the first to tell you her childhood was anything but conventional. In her memoir, THE UGLY CRY, she shares how she grew up and grew wise with the help of her foul-mouthed, horror film-loving grandmother in Warwick, NY. 

Abandoned at ten years old by a mother who wanted to start a new family with her drug-addicted, abusive boyfriend, Danielle was raised by grandparents who thought their child-rearing days had ended in the 1960s. Under the eye-rolling, coarse, loving tutelage of her unapologetic grandmother—and the horror movies she obsessively watched—Danielle grew into a tall, awkward, Sassy-loving teenager who wore black eyeliner as lipstick and was struggling with the aftermath of her mother’s choices. But she also learned that she had the strength and smarts to save herself, her grandmother gifting her with a faith in her own capabilities that the world would not have most Black girls possess. With humor, wit and deep insight, Henderson upends our conventional understanding of family and redefines its boundaries to include millions of people who share her story.

In interviews, Danielle Henderson discusses:

· Growing up Black and on food stamps in the overwhelmingly white, crunchy town of Warwick, NY

· How being raised by her strong, unfaltering grandmother whose unconventional ways of expressing love taught Danielle to have a strong will and a sharp sense of humor

· How she has learned to overcome, deal with, and talk about childhood trauma

· Her grandmother’s hysterical, wildly inappropriate, yet sound advice

· Where the title of the book THE UGLY CRY came from

· The role that research played in her writing process, as she depicts details from coming of age in the 1970s such as escalators in Macy’s and New Jersey’s infamous Action Park

· What it means that Danielle is moving back to Warwick this year to care for her grandmother – the very person who saved her life.

Danielle Henderson reminds us of the capacity we all have to survive, the momentous joy we can find amidst the moments of pain, and that laughter can be found at every one of life’s corners. Razor sharp, irresistibly charming, and utterly hilarious, THE UGLY CRY is both Danielle’s happy ending and the beginning of what is sure to be a long writing career of a breakout talent.

About the Author:

Danielle Henderson is a TV writer whose credits include Maniac, Divorce, and Difficult People. A retired freelance writer and former editor for Rookie, she has been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, AFAR Magazine, BuzzFeed, and The Cut. A book based on her popular website, Feminist Ryan Gosling, was released in 2012. Danielle currently co-hosts the podcast I Saw What You Did There with Millie De Chirico about the weird ways we respond to and learn to love movies. She likes to watch old episodes of Doctor Who when she is on deadline, one of her tattoos is based on the movie Rocky, and she will never stop using the Oxford comma.

National CPR and AED (Automated External Defribrillator) Awareness Week is June 1st through 7th. Janeane will be in conversation with a cardiac arrest survivor, Steven Munatones, and Dr. Shira Schlesinger.

According to, back in 2007, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and the National Safety Council collaborate...