Most of you know by now that in addition to being extremely passionate about writing and social media, I am a comedian. I have always loved comedy. I can remember as a kid staying awake way past my bedtime, just so I could watch Saturday Night Live. I would watch old clips of Gilda Radner and Jane Curtin and think to myself, “Wow, I want to do that.”
Comedy has influenced my entire life.
One of my earliest memories that I have is: I was two years old, sitting at my kitchen table eating dry cheerios and I stopped to look around. My mom said to me, “Honey what’s wrong?” I said, “Mom, where are the cameras?” This was a completely honest and heartfelt question. I honestly believed that my life was like an episode of The Truman Show (Even though that movie hadn’t even been made yet, that’s what I thought my life was. I thought I was on T.V. and on stage all the time).
I began acting in elementary school, and always played the comic relief. I started writing sketches and bits and putting on little plays for my parents or my friends. When I was in drama in middle and high school, I would always write a sort of “sketch revue” and try to have one of my sketches featured at an assembly or something like that. I performed all the time.
Then it came time to choose a college. I had been offered golf scholarships to a couple of large division-1 schools. [CONFESSION: Yes, I have played golf my entire life. Yes, I was the only girl on the golf team for a long time. No, I am not a loser. No, I am not better than Michelle Wie.] Well, I knew that golf wasn’t my true passion… comedy was (is). I went to visit Christopher Newport University and I heard they had a sketch comedy troupe. I went to see a show and fell in love. I was not going to go to another school. I WAS going to go to CNU and join CNU TONiGHT and be a writer and performer and be awesome. And I did.
Then in college, I took my first class in improvisation at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in New York City, NY. I got bit by the improv bug. The feeling of ultimate positivity, being totally in the moment, and completely without a script was the most freeing thing I have ever done – and I have never looked back. I even moved to North Carolina to take classes at the DSI Comedy Theater. Improv is addictive.
I share this with you because of all these experiences (and the ones I have yet to experience) have helped to shape who I am and shape my perspective. Maybe it will help you understand me more. Maybe it’s just a good story. Maybe this is a waste of your time. Who knows?
But as I have come to love comedy and love writing and LOVE improvisation, I have come to totally and utterly admire these two women: Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch. They are incredible writers, incredible performers, and incredible women. They have truly influenced the entire industry to prove that YES, women ARE funny.
[I also totally love and admire Amy Poehler, but she isn’t in this video. But it’s okay. SIDE NOTE: I met Amy Poehler the summer after I graduated from college when I was taking comedy classes in NYC (PICTURE PROOF HERE). I think I was able to say a total of ten words to her. I totally froze. I suck.]
I haven’t seen this video in a long time! This is an awesome clip from an ABC news interview with Tina and Rachel from A LONG time ago. In the interview, they talk about their hilarious two-woman sketch show “Dratch & Fey.” Thanks @callmeKP for the link. They also talk about the stigma that comes with being a woman in comedy and how they have worked to combat that stigma. If you can’t see the video, click here. We can learn a lot from these women, no matter what field of “expertise” we are in.
QUESTION: Do you think that the battle that many women have had to face in comedy is similar to a battle women have had to face in business? Do you think the “male-dominated comedy business” and “male-dominated business-business” are changing? What progress have we made? Women in the United States STILL only make 78 cents to every man’s dollar for the same position and same work. I want to hear your thoughts.