12 Fascinating Things You Don’t Know About Jenji Kohan, Creator of ‘Orange is the New Black’

Jenji Kohan is an executive producer and writer of Netflix’s outstanding new series, GLOW. She also created Weeds and Orange is the New Black. I’ve seen every season of all three of those shows, and in spite of that, I knew very little about Kohan until her interview with Marc Maron this week because she doesn’t do much press.

Turns out, Kohan is a very fascinating person, who has a fascinating career, and a fascinating family. Here’s what I learned about her, largely from Marc Maron’s podcast, although some of it came from snooping around on the Internet.

1. Jenji is from a showbiz family. Her father, Buz Kohan, was the «king of variety of television.» He won 13 Emmys writing for the Academy Awards, the Tony Awards, and The Carol Burnett Show, among others. He also wrote the lyrics for David Bowie’s side of this very famous performance with Bing Crosby.

2. Jenji’s mother was a novelist of minor note. She wrote Hand-Me-Downs and Save Me a Seat. They sold well at the time.

3. She has twin brothers, Jono and David Kohan. David Kohan may actually be a familiar name: He created Will & Grace. He’s also responsible for some really bad entries on NBC’s Thursday Must See lineup: Boston Common, Good Morning, Miami, Twins (the Sara Gilbert show, not the Arnie/Devito movie) and Four Kings

4. Jenji Kohan is married to Christopher Noxon. He’s a journalist who also wrote the book, Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up. He has appeared several times on The Colbert Report. Back in 2004, Noxon was one of the first reporters to out Mel Gibson as a kind of crazy right-winger.

5. Jenji Kohan’s sister-in-law (her husband’s sister) is Marti Noxon, the creator of Lifetime’s UnReal. She also wrote on Mad Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, among many other shows (she met her ex-husband, Jeff Bynum, on Buffy).

6. Kohan’s first television writing gig was on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which she described as a miserable writers’ room.

«It was my first job and I was really excited and enthusiastic and our showrunner was an unhappy fellow going through a divorce, drinking a lot. And (he) didn’t want to go home because he was renting some sh*tty apartment in the Valley,» she told the audience at Sydney’s Vivid Festival as part of its Game Changers program.

«So we were there all night and he didn’t trust me because I was the new writer. And he was just an unhappy guy — drinking tequila every day. At a certain point, one of the writers peed in his tequila — then he kept getting the flu. It was just a truly dysfunctional room. And just a lot of stuff going on that shouldn’t have been.»

I’m not sure who the showrunner was at the time, although Andy Borowitz did create the show, but did not divorce until much much later. Kohan was on the show in 1994, so you could probably guess at who the showrunner was.

7. Kohan’s second job was as a writer on Friends. She was fired after the first season. She also didn’t get her name on the episode script she wrote (she thinks she should have taken it to arbitration), so she’s not even listed as a writer for the series.

8. Her next gig was on Tracey Takes On… with Tracey Ullman, which she absolutely loved. She was there for three years, and it was a great gig. Ullman was a great role model to Kohan.

9. In addition to working on Mad About You, Kohan also did a year on Gilmore Girls, which Kohan admits was «complicated,» because the studio forced Amy Sherman-Palladino to have a writers’ room, and Sherman-Palladino didn’t want one, so she’d basically just solicit ideas from the room and go back and write the episode herself. Kohan totally understood Sherman-Palladino’s frustrations.


10. The first show Kohan created was The Stones for ABC. It starred Judith Light, Lindsay Sloane, and Jay Baruchel. It ran for six episodes and it was a disaster. The producers didn’t feel that Kohan was seasoned enough, so they brought in her brother and his writing partner Max Mutchnick to oversee the show, and they ended up rewriting the pilot, which was infuriating to Jenji because she’d been writing TV for much longer, but her brother had had a meteoric rise with Will & Grace. «It affected my relationship with my brother for many years,» Kohan said.

11. Kohan’s experience on The Stones prompted her to go to cable. With Weeds, there was some friction with the network and Mary Louise-Parker in the first season, but once the show was successful, all the friction ended. It went eight seasons. She loved it. It ended in exactly the way she wanted.

12. After Showtime cancelled Weeds, Kohan quickly created Orange is the New Black because she feared if she didn’t have a show on the air, she’d be considered irrelevant. She’d wanted to bring her crew from Weeds over, but she ended up starting OITNB at the same time as she was finishing Weeds, so she didn’t get to bring many of her staffers over.

One of the guys she did bring over to OITNB from Weeds was Stephen Falk, who would later go on to create You’re the Worst. The other was Carly Mensch, who would go on to create GLOW, executive produced by Jenji Kohan.


We Cyberstalked the Hot Stripper From Rough Night So You Don’t Have To

This month, the cinematic world finally has the chance to feast on Rough Night, a new female-driven comedy that kicks all of the ass. Sure, the film is filled with badass women, from Scarlett Johansson to Kate McKinnon. And sure, it makes a great statement about how powerful female friendship can be. Just for one second, though, we’re going to get real shallow and talk about the hot male stripper who accidentally gets murdered by the bachelorette party gang. His name is Ryan Cooper, and not only is he a pretty fresh face in Hollywood, but he literally just possesses a fresh face. And smile. And body. And — you get the picture. Anyway, check out these hot pics of him.

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You Don’t Have to Be a Basketball Fan to Appreciate Steph Curry’s Good Looks

Full disclosure: I’m a diehard Cleveland Cavaliers fan. Fuller disclosure: despite how much I love the Cavs, I also have a deep appreciation for everything Stephen Curry has going on physically. Whether it’s the full-on heart eyes he’s always giving to wife Ayesha, how sweet he always is with his unbelievably adorable daughters, or his killer abs on display, Steph has a lot of good things going on. To top off how seemingly perfect his personal life is, he’s also riding high in his professional life as well. He and the rest of the Golden State Warriors just won the NBA Championship over the Cavs and he is understandably celebrating in style — and also shirtless, which we are fully OK with.

People of the world, it’s time to get on board with the sports, because athletes are seriously ripped, and we can’t get enough. They work hard day in and day out to perfect their game and their bodies and are in ridiculous shape, all so we can stare and drool. OK, so maybe it’s all for the love of the sport, but athletes are also nice to look at. Don’t believe me? These ridiculously attractive photos of Steph should absolutely change your mind and have you googling key basketball phrases so you can keep up when basketball season rolls around again later this year.

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Eminem Grew a Beard, and We Don’t Know How to Feel About It

Image Source: Getty / Jeff Kravitz

Eminem made a rare appearance at the premiere of HBO’s The Defiant Ones on Thursday, where he was joined by longtime collaborator Dr. Dre, record producer Jimmy Iovine, and an unexpected amount of hair on his face. The 44-year-old rapper also shared a photo on Instagram while posing with Dre and Kendrick Lamar, which gave us another look at his new beard.

Just a couple of guys from Compton and one from Detroit. With a beard. #thedefiantones

A post shared by Marshall Mathers (@eminem) on

I’ve always been pretty attracted to Eminem, and I’ve always been pretty attracted to men with beards, but Eminem with a beard is not something I was at all ready for. I’m having a difficult time with it, as are these confused fans on social media:

Update: I’ve decided how I feel about the beard. I’m super into it, and will be sure to update this post with new emotions as they happen.

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Don’t Call Hailey Baldwin An Instagram Model


Even though that picture above looks like the image that would accompany a Wikipedia article on Instagram models, Hailey Baldwin does not want people to call her an Instagram model. Hailey recently landed the cover of Elle UK’s July issue and she tells them (via Entertainment Tonight) that being famous on Instagram has nothing to do with her success.

When I think of an Instagram model, I think of someone who posts pictures on Instagram and says “I’m a model” enough times that they believe it, or someone who gets paid to advertise loose turd tea. Hailey says she is neither (at least not all of the time).

“I work my ass off to make what I have and to prove that this is what I want to do. I want to be a model. I don’t think I would be where I am if people didn’t see something in me. I put all my modeling [photos] on my Instagram because I’m showing it to people. It’s not about me getting paid to model for things on Instagram – of course, sometimes we do get paid for things we do for Instagram and Twitter – but there is a line of calling someone an ‘Insta model’ or an ‘Insta star.’”

Here’s an example of Hailey’s hard work in action. Prepare yourself for captivating facial charisma in action. See, haters? Modeling is clearly in her blood.

I have to give Hailey credit where credit is due. She wants to be a model, and she’s got what it takes to succeed in today’s competitive modeling world. No, not millions of paid-for followers on Instagram. I’m talking about a dead-behind-the-eyes hundred-mile stare and a name that makes people think “Oh, she’s the spawn of (insert name of marginally famous person here).” Watch out, Bella Hadid.

Pic: Instagram


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