December 2020 - GOLD Comedy
marcia belsky

Marcia Belsky is funnier than all those boys in high school

Marcia Belsky is a New York City based stand-up comedian, writer, and musician. She co-wrote Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical with Melissa Stokoski in 2018, which played in New York City and Brooklyn, as well as in Washington D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Recently her musical comedy was featured on Comedy Central’s Taking The Stage, which included her hit song “100 Tampons.”


Describe your worst gig.

Probably the small town gigs in Oregon, anywhere where I have to do comedy in the middle of a bar while TVs are on.

What were you like as a teen? (Did you have comedy #goals? Were you already funny, or not so much?)

As a kid I was obsessed with musical theater and as a teen I was pretending like that wasn’t the case — I think I was already funny but also probably annoying as hell.

What’s your first impulse when someone says “women aren’t funny”?

They probably don’t think women are funny because they don’t like women or a world that they’re not used to — I just try to starve them of attention or reaction and am happy to be in a community that doesn’t feel that way.

When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?

It was the only thing I knew I would never quit because I got to be in charge. I think trying to focus on the work and not on the reward helps me stick with it but it can be hard.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Build your own audience and it doesn’t matter who doesn’t get you, only who does.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Any advice that is focused on the hustle and churning out content rather than creative quality.

Favorite heckler or troll?

Someone made an account called Fartcia Smellsky and kept tweeting at me.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Hate the word comedienne, almost always used by a man in his 50s who is 5 seconds away from booping you on the nose.

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian?

Probably every boy in high school who I would watch absolutely crush and I would think “I am funnier than him.”

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life, either recently or when you were younger?

I always wanted to be consistently funny. I think making a career out of honing that is interesting because now when I’m at parties people find out that I’m a comedian and I feel like I need to tone it down or everyone thinks I’m performing.

What single word always cracks you up?

Butt.


Connect with Marcia on Instagram and Twitter.

 

[More than] 21 female and non-binary comedians to watch in 2021

Well, 2020 was NOT GREAT. It was definitely not great for comedians, whose gigs and paychecks went poof in this raging dumpster fire IN a dumpster fire. But somewhere in there, we found things to laugh about (and plenty of time to binge-watch…everything). And comedians like Sarah Cooper and Taylor Tomlinson (and tons more) forged new tools and found platforms for their hilarity and creativity. Like COMEDY DUMPSTER FIRE PHOENIXES, they have RISEN. Here are just 21 of the MANY female and LGBTQ+ comedy performers and producers who used this year to give us a taste of their potential. We can’t wait to see what they’ll dish out when we’ve got happier stuff to laugh about.

1. Mae Martin made a name for themself with Feel Good, a semi-autobiographical series about their struggles with love and addiction. The show is an intimate, thoughtful comedy on queer identity, and with Season 2 on the way, we suspect Mae Martin will become a household name.

2. Patti Harrison is pretty much unstoppable at this point. She steals every scene in her role on Hulu’s Shrill as Ruthie, Aidy Bryant’s asshole co-worker. She’s now writing for the funnier and funnier Big Mouth—and she totally steals the…funeral in the Amazon Prime comedy special Yearly Departed.

3. Marcia Belsky is poised to be the next big-name comedy songwriter. Following on the success of her Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical (Praise be!), her 100 Tampons has been stuck in our heads since we heard it—and has rocketed (that’s a NASA pun) to TikTok lipsync stardom.

4/5. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri made clear that they are a force to be reckoned with with their Comedy Central series Ayo and Rachel Are Single. Now, with Ayo stepping in as Sissy on Big Mouth and Rachel starring in Shiva Baby, it’s clear that their recent success is only the beginning.

6. Naomi Ekperigin (who talked to GOLD here!) brought her hilarious old soul (she enjoys “a fleece pant” and a procedural) to the novel coronavirus moment with her podcast Couples Therapy (co-hosted with her husband, Andy Beckerman). An in-demand TV writer and podcast guest herself, she brings that Ekperigin energy everywhere, and we can’t get enough.

7. Bess Kalb was head writer on Yearly Departed (which, unlike 2020, we want to relive daily), with other credits including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The New Yorker. Check out her new book Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, a hilarious memoir tracing four female generations of her family.

8. Kerry Coddett (who talked to GOLD here!) isn’t afraid to tackle tough questions on her podcast On the Chopping Block, in which she hashes out cancel culture with fellow comics and celebrities. You may have seen her on HBO’s Crashing or Iliza Schlesinger’s Sketch Show, and we know you’ll see more of—and love—her in 2021.

9. Beth Stelling tells it like it is in Girl Daddy, her new special on HBO Max about being a woman in 2020 (which we suspect will also be relevant in 2021). Her sharp, honest sense of humor makes her the friend we all need to help us get through it all.

10. Maeve Press (who talked to GOLD here!) nailed a breakout role in Freeform’s hilarious and moving gem Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, but she’s also an accomplished standup veteran. Did we mention she’s only SEVENTEEN? This gal is definitely going places.

11. Jes Tom (who talked to GOLD here and who has helped teach our classes + hosted our live shows!) has shared the stage with standup comedians like Awkwafina, Aparna Nancherla, and Rosie O’Donnell. Their ultra-vulnerable special COLD BREW is a required viewing, especially for any queer folks dealing with heart break.

12. Shaina Feinberg is the writer/director behind the webseries Dinette, which the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum called “a gem”—and which left us dying to spend more time with its warmly/sharply bantering gang of women/non-binary folks. Season 2 is on the way, so yay—and while you wait, watch Senior Escort Service, Shaina’s offbeat elegy for her dad, and (pre)order her book Every Body: An Honest and Open Look at Sex from Every Angle (Jan 2021).

13. Rakhee Morzaria has her roots in sketch comedy and improv and has been featured on shows like Beaverton and What We Do in the Shadows (oh how we love that show). Note to Self, her web series about being a second-generation Canadian, is the perfect binge for anyone craving some millennial humor.

14. Zainab Johnson is featured on Upload on Amazon Prime and 100 Humans on Netflix. Her goofy standup comedy showcases her unique perspective as the youngest of 13 kids from a Muslim family.

15. Sudi Green is the master of making her followers laugh in 200 characters or less. A writer for Shrill and SNL, she is in prime position to break out on her own in 2021.

16. Teresa Lee has been crowned queen of socially-distanced comedy as co-host of Comedy Quarantine on Instagram. The world needs her innovative spirit to keep things interesting in this seemingly endless corona-cation.

17. Mitra Jouhari shines in Three Busy Debras, her irreverent sketch comedy show on Adult Swim about three rich friends in suburbia. You can also find her handiwork in Big Mouth and High Maintenance.

18. Eva Victor posts hilarious front-facing videos all over the Internet. If you love to make fun of straight people, Eva is the comic for you.

19. Mary Beth Barone (who talked to GOLD here!) knows exactly how to bring out the funny of her 20-something life in NYC. Her live comedy show, Drag His Ass, is a treat for anyone looking to laugh about f*ckboy culture.

20. Shalewa Sharpe has been making people laugh for years now in comedy clubs from Atlanta to NYC. Right now, you can get a taste of her everyday humor on her ultra-active social media. (We love her Taste Testin’ videos best of all.)

21. Hannah Pilkes slays social media with her character acting, morphing from Cindy Lou Who to the woman over-confidently getting into the hotel hot tub with ease. If you love My Favorite Murder, give her podcast Murdergram some love.

Bonus round

We don’t want to sound biased, but there are so many comedians to watch who are part of the GOLD fam!

Sophie Zucker steals the show in Apple TV’s Dickinson. She always leaves us laughing, whether she’s acting on the silver screen, performing with the ever-funny sketch comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, starring in a self-written musical—or hosting an open mic in the GOLD club. (Back in the day, she was a GOLD live class TA!)

Avery Lender has been doing standup for eight years, and she is ONLY NINETEEN. She started her own satire magazine in high school and is now one of the youngest-ever editors at B.U.’s The Bunion. (She also TA’d our good old fashioned live classes! Without a mask, even!)

Emmie Young-Kershaw is also an experienced standup at just 18, with comedy credits including Mohegan Sun and unhinged impressions of irritating customers she’s served at the ice cream stand. She’s both on her way to study comedy at Columbia College of Chicago and…on her WAY.

Tessa Abedon has a growing YouTube channel filled with self-deprecating satirical videos. Watch her latest videos, “HireMe” and “My Final Animation which I did turn in for a grade,” for some quick laughs in under five minutes. And then hire her.

Did we leave someone off the list? Let us know @goldcomedy!

Not that long ago, Taylor Garron was “homely and strange”

Taylor Garron is a comedian, writer, and actress based in Brooklyn, NY. She has edited at The Onion and Reductress, and her writing has been featured in The New Yorker, Vulture, NY Mag, and on Adult Swim. She has also been featured at The Satire and Humor Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest, Women in Comedy Festival, and on Comedy Central. Watch for her book, co-written with Eva Victor: Look I Bought Plants: And Other Poems about Life and Stuff, coming May 2021!


What were you like as a teen? (Did you have comedy #goals? Were you already funny, or not so much?)

I was homely and strange and an overachiever. And the kind of peer abuse that comes with that is the kind of shit makes you funny.

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?

Don’t be funny for anyone else, be funny for yourself. It’ll show!

What’s your first impulse when someone says “women aren’t funny”?

My eyes roll back into my skull and I involuntarily begin chanting in tongues.

When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?

Continuously reminding myself that I was doing this because I enjoyed it, not because it was going to make me famous.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

To make friends who were on my same level and don’t try to network up. Your immediate peers are the ones who will cheer you on/read your pilot/go to your bar shows when you’re starting out. They’re also the ones who will pull you up with them when the time comes.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

That I had to go to a bunch of daytime open mics at those weird comedy clubs around NYU to get any stage time. They didn’t do anything for me, they weren’t fun, and I got sexually harassed a bunch by the mostly (deeply unfunny) male hosts and open micers. All kinds of not worth it!

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

I studied French in high school and college, so it appeals to that side of me. I feel like anyone who calls me a comedienne should immediately have to hand me a croque-madame.

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life, either recently or when you were younger?

Being able to disarm people in conversations by being lighthearted off-the-bat or making a joke at my own expense is great for making friends and making people people feel comfortable around me. It also makes customer service people and baristas and servers more inclined to hook you up with freebies or break a policy for you, which is sick.

Favorite response to “What’s it like to be a woman in comedy”?

It’s the same thing as being a man in comedy except you’re much hotter.

What single word always cracks you up?

Fart, especially if said in a Boston accent. How could it not?


Connect with Taylor on Instagram.

 

GOLD Comedy class

5 ways to find your comedy crew

It’s a lonely world. Find the peeps who get your jokes and have your back. 

Who would win in a fight: Santa, or Cindy Lou Who? It’s MY JOB TO DECIDE.

Why? Because my comedy writing group is doing a comedy writing Secret Santa. You give a writing prompt, you get a writing prompt, and then you write whatever funny thing it inspires. And that prompt is MINE. 👆

This comedy-writing exercise is designed to boost our holiday spirits and our short-form writing chops. That’s what we do in my comedy crew: a low-key group of comedic comrades from college that meets every Friday for writing support, motivation, and accountability (i.e., to light a fire under my butt and remind me that THAT much Netflix is not “research”). I especially love that they encourage me to be weird with my comedy. A gang of like-minded nerds and weirdos: THAT is my #happyplace.

The point: EVERYONE NEEDS A COMEDY CREW. If you love and want to make comedy, you need a comedy community—a safe and supportive (virtual) place where everyone gets your jokes and has your back. How do you find a comedy community? How do you make one? I assure you, if this socially awkward egg can do it, so can you! Here’s how to make it work.

1. Talk to your funny friends.

That’s how I found my weekly writers’ workshop. See if your funny friends or even friendly acquaintances are in such a group, and see if they’ve got room for you—or if they want to start one.

2. Get on the TikTok.

TikTok is a social media platform where the youths gather to—OK, I know you know this. This platform reigns supreme in allowing you to be the creator of your own content. I can’t learn the dances in time for there to already be a new one to learn, but I CAN make short videos that help me figure out my own voice, style, and audience. Make what makes you laugh, and you’ll draw in likes—and like minds. Keep an eye out for people you could collab with!

3. Attend open mics (and TALK to people).

Fellow funny humans are making the best of quarantine by hosting open mic nights online. This is a perfect opportunity to workshop some jokes and try to get a set under your belt. (Next to NO ONE crushes on Zoom, so the stakes are relatively lower.) You will start to see some of the same people here and there, so be friendly and say hello. Most comics will tell you they met their crew hanging around open mics, so this is your chance to do that, without even wearing shoes.

4. Tweet tweet!

Twitter may not be YOUR social platform, but it’s great for itty bitty comedy. Post your (very concise) thoughts AND selectively comment and riff on others, and you’ll see connections start to blossom in real time. We stan consensual sliding into the DM’s of your followers to express how funny they are and the general encouragement of posting more hilarious content.

5. GOLD Comedy, durrrr

Behind the GOLD curtain (you know, paywall) you will find SUCH! A! SUPPORTIVE! COMMUNITY! filled with comedy nerds LIKE YOU who had been looking for a place where they can learn from each other and comedy pros, offer VERY NICE YET HELPFUL feedback, and feel like they belong.  

I hope this has been helpful! Now I’m off to have Santa Claus get his ass whooped by Cindy Lou Who. What? Did I ruin it? I mean really, who do you think was going to win?


Em Pasqua has been using quarantine time to binge-watch all seasons of The X Files. They are also shamelessly addicted to board games at this time. You can find Em on Instagram (@drastic_antics) or on Tik Tok making fun dumb content (@e_pity_me), unlike everyone else.

 

Milly Tamarez HOT TAKE: Star Wars is irrelevant and unnecessary

Milly Tamarez is a stand up, and writer based out of Brooklyn, New York. She has written for NPR, Buzzfeed, Reductress, MTV, BRIC, and worked on a collaboration with HBO and The Root. She has been featured on Thrillist, Vice, BET, Flama, Above Average, Univision, and Comedy Central.   She is the one of the creators and producers of Flexx (a satire magazine for people of color) and Diverse as Fuck Festival a festival that highlights diversity in comedy. Milly is also one of the founders of the all women of color improv team Affirmative Action. Her work has been featured in Vulture, Bushwick Daily,The Daily Dot, HelloGiggles, Galore Magazine, Adweek, and CodeBlack Report. Milly can be seen performing at theaters and venues across NYC.


Describe your worst gig.

I did a comedy show after sabbath at an orthodox Jewish family sleep away camp. A dozen men were vaping at the same time. I said the word “underwear” and there were multiple groans.

What were you like as a teen? (Did you have comedy #goals? Were you already funny, or not so much?)

Outgoing and silly, I loved the TV show “Jackass” and swimming in the pool. I was funny but no goals of being a comedian.

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?

Find the right balance between curating your online persona while being vulnerable and real.

What’s your first impulse when someone says “women aren’t funny”?

They have no sense of humor.

When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?

Having a community of peers that I enjoyed being around.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Overnight sensations are 10 years in the making.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

You must watch “Star Wars” if you wanna do improv.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

“Wait a second, who ARE you?”

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian?

I have many aspects of myself and there were a ton of different people who spoke to those different parts of me. I would say the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” was fun for me as a kid. I know. It’s a lot.

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life, either recently or when you were younger?

Humor helps me process traumatic situations and show the ridiculousness of political / pop culture events through satire.

Favorite response to “What’s it like to be a woman in comedy”?

Scary, overwhelming and empowering all at once.

What single word always cracks you up?

Calling someone a “bozo.”


Connect with Milly on Instagram and Twitter.