In the 1990s, Gary Janetti started his comedy-writing career with TV—Family Guy and Will & Grace are among the many shows he’s written for and produced. Now he’s also known for his books—his first, Do You Mind if I Cancel?, came out in 2019, and his second, Start Without Me, was released last April—and his social-media presence. On Instagram, for his nearly one million followers, he posts one-liners (such as “I’ll never think anything your kid says is funny”) and imagines the unamused interior monologue of Prince George, Kate Middleton and Prince William’s eldest child.
Next Thursday, for just one night, Janetti will perform live in Manhattan. At City Winery, he will read essays from his two books and answer questions from the audience. Ahead of his show, Janetti, who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York, answers our questionnaire about what he packs, eats, and buys while traveling.
Last flight you took?
British Airways to London. Always my favorite.
British Airways. Because it means I’m going to London.
What do you wear to the airport?
Casual plus. No sweats. I mean, come on.
How long before your flight boards do you get to the airport?
Two [hours] for international, 90 minutes for domestic. I always need time to stop at Starbucks.
Check bags, or carry-on only?
Carry-on only. I always find a local laundry to wash my clothes, and I repeat outfits. I won’t even travel with someone checking a bag.
What do you bring in your carry-on?
One of everything.
T.S.A. PreCheck, or regular?
T.S.A. PreCheck. It’s literally the best thing that has ever happened to travel.
What do you buy in the airport terminal?
Gummy bears, tissues, and Advil.
What do you do while waiting to board?
Sit in Starbucks scrolling on my phone, wondering why people travel with so much luggage.
Item you can’t fly without?
A book. Next flight I’ll be taking Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver.
First class, business, or coach?
Business. I was going to say it’s my one indulgence, but I have many.
Window, middle, or aisle seat?
Come on! Nobody is saying middle seat! I refuse to answer this question now.
Do you watch movies, read, sleep, or work on a plane?
All of the above except work. I hate when people work on the plane. I always give them a look like, “Really? Those spreadsheets can’t wait?”
Do you eat plane food?
I do eat plane food. And the more basic, the better—like a roasted chicken breast and potatoes and I’m good. It’s when they get fancy that we have a problem. Nobody wants boeuf bourguignon or lobster thermidor. Airlines need to knock it off with that nonsense. I’d rather [have] a peanut-butter sandwich.
Best drink to get on a flight?
Ginger ale. I don’t know why, but I only drink it on planes.
Do you talk to the people sitting next to you?
Are you insane? I give a slight smile that says, “Hello, I’m acknowledging our shared humanity, now don’t look at me again until we land.”
Keep shoes on or off on the plane?
If I’m alone in a pod, shoes off (with socks on, obviously), and I travel with hotel slippers.
What do you do when turbulence hits?
Look to see what the flight attendants are doing. If they’re still acting completely normal, I stay relaxed. If they look nervous, I know we’re fucked.
Worst part of the flight?
If you ever have to go back to the gate once you’ve already left the gate, that’s when you know you’re not going to make that dinner reservation.
First thing you do when the plane lands?
Check the weather where I am and hope it’s great. Then check the weather back home and hope it’s terrible.
Advice for travelers?
Pack less. You don’t need all that crap. And nobody wants to hear about your job.
Gary Janetti will perform at City Winery in New York on February 16