20 Comedians on Being a Funny Teen
Being a teen is nuts. No joke! It’s a bonkers time for bodies and minds. Sex, drugs, rock and roll…AND you’re supposed to plan your whole life and take tests? Woof.
We asked our favorite comedians (inside and outside of the GOLD Club) what they were like as teens. Here are some of the whackiest, insightful, and emo answers. Ya’ know, teen stuff!
The two posters hanging in my room during high school were of Walt Whitman and a cow, so maybe I was unintentionally funny.
Pamela Rae Schuller
I was a tough teen. Besides having Tourette Syndrome, I was angry, depressed, and pushing the world away from me. Which meant my humor and snark were blanketed by meanness and anger. I was kicked out of public school and shipped away to boarding school for weird artsy kids (which I loved).
My boarding school saw something in me and signed me up for a comedy and improv class. It clicked immediately and that allowed me to channel my energy into something way more fun and productive. I started opening for comics I respected by the end of high school and I knew it was my path ever sense.
I was a huge musical theatre kid and very straight edge. (I didn’t smoke or drink ‘till college—IKR?!) I had sparkly dreams of being on Broadway and I thought I was A STAR. I had A LOT OF CONFIDENCE despite being an emo kid in East New York. I wanted to be “different” from my peers but I pronounced “ASKED” like “AXED” just like everyone else! Lol
FB memories remind me how cringe/judgy I was as a kid. Really I was just so insecure and pretending to not care about how hairy my legs are. Never played sports so don’t throw a ball at me, I will catch it with my face.
I got “you’re so weird” much more often than “you’re so funny,” but maybe they just weren’t ready?
Musical theatre nerd in a rugby/rowing boarding used-to-be-all-boys school. Think Harry Potter without any of the cool stuff… just Moaning Myrtle. But on Saturday nights Jen McGavin and I would sneak into the common room and watch SNL where I dreamed about being on the show and necking Colin Quinn (oh sweet 15 yo me).
In hindsight, I think I always wanted to write standup, but since i wasn’t a white dude who had complaints about my wife I just assumed I wasn’t funny. But I do remember writing a never-performed stand-up bit about seeing a cactus in a hospital gift shop (because nothing says “get better soon” than a plant that looks like an alien).
I have severe memory loss of most of my teenaged years. But I do remember wanting to form my personality off of April from Parks and Rec, and also purposely triggering myself on Tumblr.”
Dude, I was funny but did not have any comedy goals yet because I was a shy weird brown girl and did not know that was possible. I was really into prank calls though and I was honestly really good at them. I successfully convinced many kids at my school that they had stood up a woman at Applebees who had been waiting there for 6 hours. That’s my best bit. My friends loved it and those were my early experiences of loving getting laughs from an audience. 🙂
I was a creepy kid; I had a poetry book full of pretty dark stuff. I knew I was going to be a writer.
I’ve always wanted to be a comedian, but growing up in rural Arkansas doesn’t provide many opportunities. I was funny as a teen (or at least I tried to be) to the point of being annoying to my family.
I didn’t think comedy was something I could actually seriously do until over the pandemic. I started consistently going to outdoor open mics and started getting booked on shows as soon as venues opened back up.
As a teen, I think I was not my best self. As a kid, I was awesome, hilarious, and edgy! But as a teen I think I got afraid and went inside myself. I think I had zero goals. I am a late bloomer! But I did love comedy. I loved funny movies. And I think at times I was funny with my parents and closest friends and that always felt so good.
I was anxious and depressed. I threw up my food daily and drank like I was going through an ugly divorce. But I had great friends, a beautiful family, and their love made me feel free–which made me funny. I got sent to rehab when I was 16, and it only made me funnier.
I was a little naughty with a very foul mouth. Hit a few roadblocks in Kansas because of that.
Speech team in High School was what really flipped the switch in my head from “I’m funny” to “I want funny to be my job.” I felt like writing jokes, coaching other people, and then getting laughs in the room was such a clear and tangible cause and effect. It was like a superpower. Feeling emo now!!!!! Also, I wore a “Straight but not Narrow” button around…so that’s humiliating.
Man, I tried finding the photo of me in middle school with a film trophy but I don’t know where it is! Short story, I loved SNL, and to absolutely age myself, I would time the VCR (that’s right! No automatic recordings back then.) and since I couldn’t stay up late, I would watch it in the morning. I loved the cast of SNL while I was a teen, and it was a good one! Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon.
I was a closeted lesbian with a huge nose, an oversized sweater’s worth of eyebrows (which I plucked until they were that kind of speed-freak thin you see so often in mugshots), and breasts so big and ungainly that they would slam into walls if I took a corner too fast. So of course I was funny. Or at least loud, which sometimes passes for funny in a pinch.
But I had watched enough of E! True Hollywood Story to know that this was the perfect origin story for a successful career in comedy, and clung to that delusion to get me through.
I was a practical joker. I always had some kind of gag with me and I was an athlete and band nerd. I played basketball, volleyball, soccer, and track. I also played flute piccolo and oboe.
Covered in acne, flat-chested, and desperate for attention. Nothing’s changed.