Griffin’s Heart: Interview With Actress Reagan J. Pasternak

Hang out with us on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter

Join us in our Facebook group

Listen to the show here

*Note: We had a little trouble connecting midway through the episode so you’ll notice a slight change in the audio at about the 15-minute mark. That’s showbiz, baby! *

In this episode, I (Tawny) chat with actress Reagan J. Pasternak (HBO’s “Sharp Objects”, Syfy’s “Wynonna Earp,” Netflix/HULU/HBO’s “Being Erica”, BET’s “Ms. Pat”) and author of “Griffin’s Heart: Mourning Your Pet With No Apologies – A Memoir, Healing Journal, and Keepsake.”

As a widow and someone who is also co-dependent with their fur baby, I really appreciate what Reagan has done with her book!

Reagan and I chat about how animal grief is often trivialized (disenfranchised grief), the way love and loss is a mirror that reflects where you are, what inspired her to take this unique interactive approach to helping others memorialize and cope with the loss of their pet, how definitive death is, cognitive therapy and rewiring your thinking on grief, Reagan laughing uncontrollably at her mom’s funeral, controlling her potty mouth while writing her book, being a huge empath, the beautiful part of darkness, how trauma makes you funny, the shame associated with talking about grief and trauma, trying to balance authenticity and being an open book while taking others into consideration, being an entertainer and artist in grief, the tricky side of feeling exploitative, and we swap some of our funniest stories related to our traumas.

To get in touch, email You can support the podcast by subscribing, becoming a patron at, or by simply sharing the show with your friends and on social media.


New Episode: “Star Crossed BS” + “Wid-life Crisis”

Join us in our Facebook group

Listen to the show here


Note: We’re in-between recording spaces right now so this isn’t quite our usual top-quality sound- but it will be back soon! Thanks for your patience as we make improvements.

In the first episode of 2021, Tawny and Sam address the messages they received about people from the midwest interrogating people in conversation, and make jokes about how texting styles reveal what social media platform someone uses (Tawny texts like a guy), how our relationships and labels contribute to our identities, astrology in the queer community, what it’s like to suffer from chronic boredom, thinking of your life as a story to compartmentalize your trauma, the different kinds of widows you meet in support groups, trying to make friends in your 30s, and turning into Smeagol in isolation when widowed.

For more information about Death Is Hilarious, visit To get in touch, email


“Widow Jokes” and “Bi Panic”

Tawny talks about widow humor, making things awkward,  her emotional service dog going on strike, and canceling her dead husband’s phone line. Sam presents a series of bi observations, including danger noodles and polyamory.

In This Episode:

“Personally I think that joke would have killed George… but I guess it’s too late for that.” – Tawny

“I present… a series of bi observations. They’re all over the place. Just like my sexuality.” – Sam

“Like, nobody tells me my ass is amazing every day anymore. So I’m left to wonder… if an ass is amazing and nobody is around to compliment it, does it still retain it’s amazingness? “ – Tawny 

“They want to know how we feel about the dick. Is there any dick that is an acceptable exception? What if it’s a really good dick? Would you look at this dick and tell me what you think? Can the dick just sit in a corner and watch?” – Sam

“Dog…it always feels so disingenuous calling her that. Dogs do things like protect you and they can eat a quarter-inch of a french fry without vomiting. Yes, this dog once ate a quarter-inch of a french fry and then epically threw up on the friend who gave it to her.” – Tawny

“So you know the Gay Agenda? Well, now get ready for the Bitenerary.” – Sam

Also, here’s a screenshot of something we’ve been working on in the studio! Visual segments coming soon.


“America’s History of Civil Unrest” and “Surprise!”

In this episode:

  • ” We got a question that got some attention in one of our discussion groups. Katie M., asked, “Why do white people think they deserve peace after all we have done to people of color?” – Tawny
  • “I’ve been learning about a little something called the theory of constructed emotion in the book “how emotions are made” by Dr. Lisa Feldmen Barrett. I’m going to do my best to make summarizing neuroscience entertaining, but if I fail, you can find her Ted Talk.” – Sam
  • “While I can’t give you the answer to this question in its entirety, I can let you know what the history and research says about how those of us who are white progressives can talk to our not so progressive family and friends about racism. So this is my dirty bit of history on civil unrest and white entitlement in the United States.” – Tawny
  • “And now, for some comic relief, I invite you to laugh at the tragicomedy that is my life. The rest of this letter has a three act structure.  ACT ONE: (ANXIETY IS HILARIOUS)  So, one way to get a COVID test is to schedule a surgery. Oh yes, I got my surgery. I am super, super grateful that I got my surgery to remove my fallopian tubes and affirm my identity as someone who never wants to get pregnant. But this wouldn’t be my life if I didn’t have to go through a fucking ordeal over it. “ – Sam
  • “So that’s why a bunch of Bostonians were like, “Nope, throw that shit in the river.” But when they do this, England goes, “I’m taking away all of your privileges. Self government? Gone. Boston Commerce? Gone. Nintendo Switch? Gone.” And how did the good people of the 13 colonies respond? They went, “The actions are intolerable! They are Intolerable Acts!” and then, oh hey, they started protesting. Like, they burned down a whole damn ship that was carrying tea in Annapolis.” – Tawny
  • “I knew if I woke up convinced that I died, I probably didn’t die. I mean, I’d probably know that anyway, because I don’t believe in an afterlife, but they were going to be giving me pretty strong drugs so anything was possible.” – Sam
  • “Like, straight up, Samuel Adams said in response to the Boston Tea Party, and I quote, “Hells yes! Brew that tea in the river and serve it! This is a protest and there’s no other option when it comes to defending our constitutional rights! Suck my dick, FUCK the police!” – Tawny
  • “ACT TWO: PAINMAGGEDON – I woke up feeling great one morning, and hadn’t even taken my pain medicine yet. I thought, I’ll make myself some breakfast while my partner sleeps in. He deserved it after fetching me water, cookies, and more cookies for the last 36 hours.” – Sam
  • “So a bunch of angry white guys storm the dissecting room and see a ton of bodies in various stages of mutilation, which makes them even angrier, so they pick up these various body pieces and start holding them up to the windows to the rest of the 2000 person mob outside, like, “Look at this fucked up shit they’re doing!” – Tawny
  • “The oatmeal sat in the microwave for about 20 seconds while I finished my imaginary conversation between my anxiety and my sassy coping mechanisms. Then, I got hit with a massive cramp. I abandoned my oatmeal to crawl into bed.” – Sam
  • “Posting snarky memes and berating someone doesn’t endear that person to your message. I would know because it’s my go-to move and it’s zero percent effective.” – Tawny
  • “One, I am eating raspberry chocolate oatmeal. It’s red like blood and truly a poor choice when you’re trying not to worry about bleeding out and dying. Two, watching my partner clean up after me, I think, wow, he would make a great dad. And he’ll never be one. That’s hilarious.” – Sam
  • “This is an area enmeshed with conservative evangelical christian leaning values – which means, you can eat bacon and watch rated R movies but grandma can’t come over anymore if she has a girlfriend, and terminating a pregnancy is the equivalent to using an infant as target practice at the beloved shooting range.” – Tawny
  • “Gotta jump on that sweet sweet surgery train before it leaves the station. And because who knows what the fuck is going to happen to my Healthcare as the evil oompa loompa and his terrifying cronies continue to trample on our rights.” – Sam

“Rats” and “Seven Year Anniversary”

In this episode:

  • “Glue traps are fucked up. Never in my childhood had my anti-pesticide, anti-poison, clean the house with vinegar, hippies-that-take-showers kind of parents ever used glue traps. The battle against the rodents must have taken a desperate turn for them to resort to this kind of weapon.” – Sam
  • “So anyway, the point is really that  my husband would be the kind of guy to have faked his own death…. and I did wonder for a couple of weeks if he was going to send me some encrypted message from Costa Rica with instructions on how to join him with Babbs.” – Tawny
  • “Now, crickets must die because they disturb my slumber, but I hate hate hate squishing them. And for some reason, killing ants is not a big deal. But I’ve never had to put down a mammal, even to end its own misery. ” – Sam
  • “I find comfort in thinking, “Well, at least, this is great material,” as I continue to observe all the chaos and drama around me. That’s not to say my life is purely dead husbands and PTSD induced flashbacks of his body on our kitchen floor…. ” – Tawny
  • “I instinctively knew that pretending to be a stand up comedian was going to keep me from having PTSD flashbacks about this.” – Sam
  • “Now, like many others who were quarantined whilst living alone, COVID has worsened my already existing case of “deprived and thirsty bitch syndrome.” So when I heard a dude’s voice go, “Hey,” you can bet your sweet socially distanced ass that I stopped to see who was talking to me.” – Tawny
  • “A bokken is a wooden practice sword. Duct tape a hammer to it, and this device of destruction is probably a remnant of my little brother, who like most little brothers, likes to make weapons.” – Sam

“My Frodo Baggins” and “The Little Mermaid”

In this episode:

  • “Or maybe I was just corrupted by the Satanic Bible on that fateful night and that’s why Laura Ingraham started to sound like an idiot to my awakening teenage brain.” – Tawny
  • “Our theme is coping with grief and trauma using humor, and, well, a lot of the trauma I have to joke about, isn’t what people want to hear. I even texted you that the rest of my trauma isn’t funny. I texted YOU, the widow. Like, your husband dying isn’t funny. What was I thinking? “ – Sam
  • “Today marks the six month anniversary of George’s death. It also marks the three years since George and I debuted the Dirty Bits Podcast, which was the show originally found on this podcast feed. We produced the show together after I used to crack him up by summarizing whatever history book or other nerd article I was reading at the time in my best southern Californian take.” – Tawny
  • “People don’t want to joke about death either! You’ve noticed that – the ways they try to tell you that you’re grieving wrong. But there are plenty of batman is an orphan jokes and far fewer touching on the fact that, you know, the Joker abused Harley. Birds of Prey was fun, by the way. But I’m slightly biased because I really like birds. Also, I was disappointed there were no birds.” – Sam
  • “I soon fell into a deep fangirl obsession with all things Peter Jackson and Tolkien but I directed a large amount of my attention to Elijah Wood’s depiction of Frodo, who was the Timothy Chalamet and Adam Driver of 2003. And by that I mean, these are the men you’re attracted to when you don’t quite yet realize you’re attracted to lesbians.” – Tawny
  • “It was the natural place to be after my Christian phase. Which was a solid move, by the way. Like, I didn’t want to keep having sex with my dickhead boyfriend, so I became Christian. Genius! Christians aren’t allowed to have sex! I just took everything my parents taught me about skepticism and progressive thought and threw it into the baptism pool so I could be a born again incel. “ – Sam