Melissa Beck in 2000’s “Real World: New Orleans” and now, a mother of two in Long Island.
If the grand Belfort Mansion was New Orleans’ castle in 2000, Melissa Beck was its unwitting court jester, keeping “Real World” audiences cackling with her one-liners and tales of her dear parents, Shorty and Mercy. Now, her life more closely resembles a queen’s — she’s the mother of two little girls and is married to a Glassjaw rock star — but her wit is still razor-sharp, and her royal subjects (any and all with funny bones) are still loyal. See what she told Remote Control about life in Long Island, follow her unbelievably funny Twitter and keep up with the “Retro MTV: Real World” marathon all weekend long!
How did you wind up on the show?
I graduated college in 1999, and I had a cute little job at a law firm in Tampa. I thought I was doing great. And I’m not one of the “Real World” cast members that acts like they didn’t watch the show, OK? Because that show was my sh**. All the way through Hawaii? I saw all the motherf***ers except London.
So, I was sitting there going through some files and watching a marathon, and there was Ruthie. And I was like, hmmm, a brown girl: I can do that!
Do your experiences in New Orleans still carry into your life?
Listen, I can turn on my Twitter and write the words “Squee dabbo” and I will get like 48 mentions in a minute about “Come On Be My Baby Tonight.” That, itself, was worth all of my anxieties on the show.
Did you know that your trademark with audiences would be how funny you are?
I had no idea! I was always told I was crazy; that I was special-funny. But it was like the ’wear-the-helmet’ special-funny. My husband told me “You make me laugh,” though, and that was one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten.
You tried your hand as a comic in L.A. What was that like?
I went from New Orleans straight to L.A., went on the Craig Kilborn show and asked for a job on national television. I got one as a PA on “The Jamie Foxx Show.” I started doing standup, and I don’t know how I survived with my stomach in tact. I was the most anxious person ever, but having fun. If “Real World” threw me into my adult life, California showed me my real self. I’m really happy to have had that experience.
How did you meet your husband?
Remember my little paintings from the show? People starting emailing me after and asking if they could buy those as prints, so I started filling my own online orders. Then a mutual friend of my husband’s and mine was like “I have this friend who’s starting an online store for bands. Maybe he could do something with you.” I came out to Long Island and took a meeting with this guy, Justin Beck, and his office was the size of a Yukon and fit a fish tank, a stapler and Glassjaw shirts. I didn’t even know he was in Glassjaw, I just knew I had met someone who was as crass as I was.
How did you fall in love?
Every time I came to New York to do something with MTV, he would drive out from Long Island and take me to dinner because I was his most important VIP client, honey. He would take me to Chinatown, Wonton Garden and wine and dine my ass. Then, maybe six years in, when my business was dwindling, he called me. We started talking and dating, and one day at a gay club — because he used to take me wherever I wanted to go — I vomited all over the place, and he didn’t mind that it was all over him. I was like: Dude, we’re getting married.
Justin is my soul mate so much so that my little girl is named Maja for “Melissa and Justin Always.” But sometimes Justin does stupid sh** and I’m like, “Dude, we’ll legally change her name to Majat: Melissa and Justin Ain’t Together.”
Did your 22-year-old self expect to be a suburban housewife?
Never did I picture myself being, like, a breastfeeding warrior, or, like, a stay-at-home mom. But it has worked out nicely.
What’s life like with your daughters?
Listen, I would love to have a routine mom life like those girls on Pinterest, but what really happens is at 4 a.m., one child will puke in your mouth, and at 6 a.m., the next one will puke on your toe and ask for toast. My older one, Shalom, has a lot of autonomy. She’s not eating Oreos for dinner, but I don’t stifle her. If she says she wants to watch Glassjaw videos, that’s what we’re doing.
Your Twitter audience knows you’re fascinated by courtroom cases — since when, and how deeply does the obsession run?
I’m sitting here listening to HLN on Sirius network because that’s how obsessed I am with Jodi Arias. I was in journalism school around the same time as the OJ Simpson trial and JonBenet Ramsey, and I got totally into it — plus, my sister was a court reporter. I learned you’ve gotta know a little bit about a lot, and social justice and baby-killers and sh** like that interests me. I don’t know why. It drives my husband crazy. I send him YouTubes.
How are the great Shorty and Mercy?
Amazing as always. MTV dropped the ball, I gotta say. Shorty and Mercy would’ve been a show, honey. If Shorty had cash, like a Pauly D-type, do you understand all of the video game conventions he would be at with cameras? All the Troy Polamalu figurines he would have signed? Stop it.
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Photos: MTV and courtesy of Melissa Beck