Best Joke
Any story my mom tells. She's from Thailand, and English is her second language, so sometimes she gets all mixed up and delivers the punch line too early. And then she's like, "No, no, no! Wait! Crap!" That moment is usually funnier than the actual joke ever would've been. I crack up every time.

Best Fall Activity
Making soup. My favorite for a chilly day is tomato basil. I roast some tomatoes covered in olive oil, salt and pepper until they get super juicy. Then I pour them into a pot, let that simmer and add a ton of basil and chili flakes—the longer it sits, the better it gets. When it's done, I fun it through a food mill or puree it. So flavorful, and a big batch can last a week.

Best Date Night
Comedy clubs. John [Legend, her husband] and I love going to the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles or the Comedy Cellar in New York. Up-and-coming comedians perform there, but then randomly Chris Rock will pop in to try out new material. Even if all we do that night is eat at home and then go to a comedy club, we feel we did something really fun.

Best Way to Tame Nerves
A glass of wine. I don't like to over-rehearse before a shoot or an interview, so I just have a little quiet time with some vino. Of course, I can't overdo it—I don't want to be too relaxed!

Best Family Tradition
At holiday dinners, we leave out plates of food for deceased relatives. It comes from my mom's Thai background. She'll light incense and make a couple of plates for Grandma and Grandpa. Coincidentally, it always ends up being the part of the meal nobody was going to eat anyway, like the turkey neck. But it's nice to know that even after I go, I'll have a place at the table.


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