Carmen Lynch, one of our favorite NYC-based comics, performed on Letterman on Friday night. It was her first time on the program and she was awesome. The former Last Comic Standing finalist enjoyed several applause breaks as she talked about her bedroom secrets, fear of mice, and more. Watch her full set after the jump and be sure to follow Carmen @lynchcarmen
Standup Women Update
To record her debut stand-up album, Beth Stelling wanted to go back to Chicago, where she got her comedy chops and became a local favorite. The trip was somewhat of a homecoming, after moving to Los Angeles and having a very busy and exciting year. Call it intervention by the comedy gods or just bad luck, but shortly before Beth took the stage at Chicago’s Comedy Bar, her joke book was stolen from her boyfriend’s car. Refusing to let this bring her down, Beth managed to weave the whole story into her material, with a healthy and hilarious dose of deadpan delivery. Watch Beth tell the story below and be sure to check out Sweet Beth, her album which comes out tomorrow.
Jamie Lee is awfully proud of her roots–both Texan and Jewish. With a little help from her Sketcher Shape-Ups, they’ve helped mold (dare we say “shape”?) the funny person she is today. Jamie stopped by Conan last night to do a funny little set for you to enjoy. We’ve got the video after the jump. Give it a watch!
As comedy enthusiasts have known for a while, it’s been one heck of a year for Tig Notaro. Last night, she stopped by Conan for an interview and a full recap on everything going on in the world of Tig. After battling some serious health issues (including pneumonia and breast cancer), going through a tough break-up, and losing her mother, Tig powered through to give a hugely-acclaimed show at The Largo in Hollywood. Louis CK was so impressed with the show, he is working with Tig to release the audio version of the performance through his own website. Live (as in “to live”), will be available for $5 starting October 5. You can watch Tig’s full chat with Conan and Andy Richter below.
Nikki Glaser has a rich, strong bond with her mother. Like any good mother, Nikki’s mom expects regular phone calls and teaches her about the dangers of cigarettes. Well, not exactly. We’ll hand it over to Nikki, who did a terrific stand-up set on Conan last night. You can catch more of Nikki’s comedy on her Rooftop profile and be sure to follow her on @NikkiGlaser.
Fresh off of recording her debut comedy album to sold out crowds in Chicago, Beth Stelling jetted back to Los Angeles to perform on Conan last night. We’ve long been fans of Beth and her stellar deadpan delivery on everything from fatherly bonding to her OB/GYN visits. Beth did an awesome set last night, talking about CVS coupons, pitching herself as a contestant on The Bachelor, and more. Watch her full set below and stay tuned for updates on her upcoming CD, Sweet Beth. You can also follow her @BethStelling.
Comedian Erin Judge will be quick to tell you she has mixed feelings about Whole Foods Market. While she undoubtedly falls into the young, urban liberal demo that the supermarket courts religiously, Erin is in her comedy zone when poking fun at the store and its Singles Night events (a real thing hilariously recounted by Erin). Erin’s debut comedy album, So Many Choices, is available today and is already getting some great reviews from critics. We chatted with Erin in the midst of The Pink Collar Comedy Tour to talk about her love for Chris Rock, her performance on the Live at Gotham Comedy Central series, Mitt Romney’s comfort zone, and more.
Rooftop Comedy: You recorded your album at the Broadway Playhouse in Santa Cruz, California—a community-focused black box theater. Why did you decide to tape your album there?
Erin Judge: I had done a two-woman play a couple years ago, called The Meaning of Wife, with my best friend and we had a run at The Broadway Playhouse and it was one of my favorite experiences performing ever and I loved the audiences there and I loved the vibe, so I thought it would be the ideal place to record my album.
RC: How did you start out as a performer?
EJ: In college, I did improv comedy. I was part of my college improv comedy troupe. From there, I hosted a variety show, my senior year of college, which was more of a stand-up-type environment to be performing in and then after I graduated, I decided to start doing stand-up, because I had always loved stand-up growing up. All of my favorite comedians were stand-ups; I watched Comedy Central religiously as a kid. So I started with improv, but I think I was destined to end up in stand-up because it’s what I loved as a child.
RC: Who were some of your favorite comics growing up?
EJ: I remember Janeane Garofalo and Margaret Cho. Chris Rock was my favorite growing up and I remember seeing so many people and memorizing so many routines. I also remember watching the show The A-List, which was hosted by Sandra Bernhard—she’s amazing.
RC: Do you think there’s a growing comedy scene at Wellesley College?
EJ: Yeah there really has. It’s pretty cool. Wendy Liebman, who’s a pretty famous stand-up, she graduated from Wellesley before me. And then, she and I have had many opportunities to perform together. Since I left, I’ve noticed a lot of Wellesley graduates going into the comedy world. Many work at UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] and do sketch and improv. One recent graduate was just on an episode of 30 Rock. It’s pretty cool to see arts and entertainment coming into more of a focus at the college.
RC: Last year, you were featured in The New York Times magazine, proving to know very little about Twilight. Are there any pop culture franchises you guiltily or maybe not-so-guiltily adore?
EJ: I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I love True Blood. True Blood and Buffy are the limit of my vampire interest. Those are my addictive pleasures—no matter how absurd True Blood gets, I will always be loyal to it. It’s extremely campy and just gets campier. As the mythology expands, it’s gotten bigger than it can be contained. It’s fun and it can be ridiculous. I also love Girls. I think the show is really funny and I like that it’s brave and I like that the female protagonist doesn’t have to be loveable, huggable, wacky, goofy. She can just be obnoxious and actually somebody you might not like and I think that’s something brand new that the show is doing. I guess that’s the one show I’m really on the bandwagon for right now.
RC: As a writer, what did you make of the internet kerfuffle when the show premiered?
EJ: I always think it’s a missed opportunity whenever a show lacks diversity in the cast and I personally, if I ever had the opportunity to put together a team of people, I look around the world of comedy and my friends that I would hire and it’s a diverse group of people. If you look at the people W. Kamau Bell is putting together for his show, you can see that there’s just amazing, talented, diverse people out there and it always surprises me when people don’t tap into that. That said, Girls is going for a very specific angle, which is basically what Lena Dunham knows and feels comfortable writing about and I don’t think anything that anybody does creatively should have to represent anything except exactly what it represents. She’s really funny. She’s really brave and she is doing a lot of things that I think are different and new. She’s just not doing absolutely everything one could possibly do to forward women in television.
RC: You’ve also performed on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham series. What was that experience like?
EJ: It’s pretty cool. I think a lot of us, a lot of my friends and I who are in comedy have that as our first credit, which is just a cool memory to have. I remember Myq Kaplan and Baron Vaughn both called me up around that time and told me that they did too. So it was a very exciting time for all of us. It was just out of a competition that we did called Open Mic Fights that Comedy Central used to run around the country and I was still living in Boston at the time. But they had seen me do their competition and decided to put me on the show. Tommy Davidson was the host and I got to meet a bunch of really cool other comedians as part of performing on that show. It was just a lot of fun and I still get people following me on Twitter and emailing me through my website who see the video on ComedyCentral.com so it has wide reach too.
RC: What stories from your album do you especially like to perform?
EJ: The thing that is really one of my favorite things to talk about right now is when I was bullied. On the CD it’s called ”Erin Solves Bullying Forever”. It’s a story about me getting bullied in high school and it’s a fun story right now because bullying is so relevant and in the news and I think it’s an inspiring story and a funny one. People can take it as inspiration and motivation to overcome that stuff.
RC: Speaking of your teenage years, you have some great stories about your experience with Sex Ed in Texas public schools. It doesn’t seem like things have progressed much since then.
EJ: It’s amazing how little things have changed and it’s amazing how it’s still this “teach you to be afraid of your body” attitude—even though there’s cable. Even though these kids can go on the internet and find out this information. That’s why the show on MTV called Savage U—I think Dan Savage is a genius and he has this show where he answers sex questions on college campuses. I think that’s really providing a really great platform for Sex Ed outside schools for kids.
When people can’t find out about information at school, they look on the internet. And the last place you want people finding out about Sex Ed is the internet. If you don’t know what “69” is and you ask the internet, it won’t give you a subtle answer.
RC: As you discuss on So Many Choices, you’re openly bisexual. Do you ever feel pressured as a performer to incorporate that into your act?
EJ: A lot of people do ask me questions about bisexuality after I get offstage. They’re like, “So, are you really bisexual?” and I’m like, “Yeah”. [Laughs] I don’t mind talking about it. I think it’s interesting and I find a lot of my experiences in life that are both funny and have to do with that and have to do with people’s confusion and ambivalence toward it. I just read an article today about Mitt Romney and a Sex Ed pamphlet in Massachusetts and it was about bullying. He didn’t mind the word “gay”, but he wanted them to take out the word “bisexual”, because it was too racy for him. I find that kind of stuff fascinating and I love talking about my personal life and my own experiences and I think that one of the things that makes my story a little bit different is I’ll talk about my ex-girlfriends and then I’ll talk about my ex-boyfriends. Through my stories I like to make myself a bit more normal, because it is normal to me. It’s something I’m really happy to talk about and some of my best material comes from that subject matter.
RC: I agree totally. One especially memorable track recounts you attending your ex’s wedding. Not to spoil anything, but the story ends with the line “I was up to my snatch in porch”—if that’s not an amazing tag, I don’t know what is.
EJ: [Laughs] I’ve had somebody tell me to put that on a t-shirt. “You might be a redneck, if you’re up to your snatch in porch”.
Premiering this weekend, StandUp in Stilettos features some of the most popular female comics today. Each half hour will showcase a range of talented comedians who you may recognize from TV, including Retta (Donna from Parks and Recreation, pictured above), Mary Lynn Rajskub (aka Gail the Snail from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and host Kate Flannery (better known as Meredith on The Office). Also appearing on the show are a bunch of Rooftop friends and club headliners, like Maria Bamford, Erin Jackson, Lisa Landry, Kelly MacFarland, Christina Pazsitzky, and more. Check out a trailer for the show below as well as some clips of the featured comics and be sure to tune in to the first episode on June 16.
Comedian Dana Eagle has come a long way since her childhood Christmases spent in the Catskills, her parents sneaking her in to watch foul-mouthed comics. This Saturday, Dana will record her new comedy album, showcasing her playful takes on such “serious” topics as bi-polar disorder, confronting gay hate, and years of being a slave to “self-help” books. Dana, who regularly opens for Bill Maher, has performed on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, and Comics Unleashed. We sat down to chat with Dana about being an underdog, performing in Iraq, and being pigeon-holed as a gay comic.
Rooftop Comedy: On Saturday you’ll be recording your new comedy album. Why did you want to produce a CD now?
Dana Eagle: A lot of people keep asking me and it does seem like one of those rites of passage for a comedian to be able to say that this is me, this is who I am, this is what I’ve been working on. It makes me feel official.
RC: Some comics have their album release meticulously calculated and others just make the move when it feels right.
DE: I don’t think it feels right. I will say that. [Laughs] And that’s one of the things I’m finding—you have to set deadlines, because nothing ever feels right. You just have to go in with all your awkward glory and do it. I could title the CD that –Awkward Glory.
RC: Did your family background influence you to become a comic?
DE: You kind of had to have a sense of humor with my family, because no one really had a filter. If you got a bad haircut, no one tried to politely cover what they thought. No one tried to build you up and say, “Oh, no. It looks really good”. They’d say, “Wow. What happened?” So you kind of had to have a thick skin and my parents took [my brother and I] to a lot of comedy too. We were Jewish and always went to the Catskills for Christmas. They always had comedians there. It was really cool. My parents would bring us and we knew we were at an adult thing and they were letting us watch it, but that didn’t give us permission to repeat what we were hearing.
RC: Has your comedy persona/voice evolved a lot since you started out?
DE: I definitely started out going with the underdog thing and I think that’s continued. I guess the biggest change right now is, somewhere in the middle I dropped that I’m gay and I talk about that and that’s been a bit of a tricky thing because there’s this perception out there that once you’re talking about being gay, it’s a gay show. It’s always been this tricky thing that club owners and promoters don’t know what to do with. There tends to be two different promos—there’s the one you drop off at the LGBT center and there’s the one for everybody else. It always seems to be the more I talk about those things that would make me blush or turn red in public, that tends to be the stuff that everybody connects with the most. When I talk about the difficulty of being gay and then when I was diagnosed with bipolar, I hated doing them. I didn’t want to reveal that much about myself, but I couldn’t resist the laughter. They just always seem to hook into those things.
RC: It’s interesting that we live in an age when there are more openly LGBT comics than ever before, but there are still these limiting expectations for “gay” jokes.
DE: It’s a little bit tricky. I think that was always the thing about not coming out. You kind of feel like, well, this is a part of my life, but you don’t want it to eclipse every other part of you. I think what happens for a lot of us, who do the mainstream clubs, they just advertise us as they would any other comic and then we drop it in the middle and it’s a little gay surprise!
RC: Do you think there’s still a lot of misunderstanding about bi-polar disorder?
DE: I think the thing that I find in comedy is that a lot of people will stay behind after to talk to me—especially college students. Kids are getting diagnosed younger and younger, so it just seems to be on everybody’s radar. A lot of comedians make jokes about it—how everybody has something. I’m always more concerned about the people who don’t go and get diagnosed. I’m always concerned about that person that’s like, “I don’t know. I never needed a therapist”. Well, you’re the reason the rest of us are going.
RC: You’ve done quite a few shows overseas for US troops now. What do you take from those shows?
DE: It’s pretty compelling. I’m always very interested in the news and events. I think it definitely broadens my world view. The first year I went was 2007 and that was definitely when the climate here in the United States was everyone was very restless. That was the year of peak protesting. So when I returned, I felt like everybody kind of wanted an answer from me and it was my job to have one for what’s going on over there. I think the more I’m exposed to things, the more I realized, there is no black and white. Everything is just shades of gray. You try to make sense out something you can’t make sense out of. That’s my take.
Tig Notaro returned to the Conan stage last night, building off her hilarious last visit in September. Topics of the day included unusual reflections on her name, the bathing style of toddlers, and stool sounds. Be sure to watch all of Tig’s Rooftop clips. You can catch Tig on her weekly podcast Professor Blastoff, where she is joined by Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger. Great job Tig!