Anamaria Leon is the chemical engineer of your dreams

Anamaria Leon is a standup comic, producer, and writer based in New York. Her comedy has been described as charmingly surreal and even “I’ve never heard a set like hers” with topics ranging from her mental health and sexuality, to adopting a cat veteran. She has been featured in The New York Times and Time Out New York. You can watch her short film about her first year in comedy here.

What were you like as a teen?
If you can believe it I was in the physics club and dreaming about becoming a chemical engineer. I knew I was funny, but also blushed whenever anyone outside of my inner circle of friends looked at me, so I didn’t focus too strongly on anything performance-related back then.
Did you have an un-sexy starter job?
My first job was working in Americorps in a college access program that is now defunct. #nonprofits. I was still a pretty nervous individual despite working in a highly social job so I only stayed for one service year before moving back to New York.
What do you consider to be your biggest comedy achievement to date?
Having regular gigs! I’ve built up my comedy community this year through improv, taking classes, and GOLD of course! With a solid and growing comedy community, I’m able to perform regularly and try out new material in front of live audiences instead of grouchy mics.
When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it? 
My initial core group of women comedians in NYC. For the first few months, my involvement was mainly being an audience member for their bringers, but not booking gigs of my own. They grew pretty impatient with my shying away from the stage, and eventually, I gave in and started giving it a go.
Have you ever dealt with hecklers?
I’ve only really dealt with friendly hecklers. People who are really into what I’m talking about. I’m slowly getting better at crowdwork since I want to make sure the audience feels appreciated.
Best comedy advice you ever got?
There is no one else offering what you have to offer.
Worst comedy advice you ever got? 
“Bringers are part of the show business deal. Everybody has to do them.” Not necessarily! While they can get you “out there,” I’ve only gotten a maximum of one “free” gig after doing a 5 person bringer. I haven’t heard from the club since, and I killed BOTH nights! Go where you’re appreciated. You can gain more from small bar gigs than a bringer show.
On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian? 
Bringers. Are. Scams.
How has being funny helped you in your life? 
I’ve made most of my friends by being funny. Both pre- and post- performer me has made friends this way.
What specific things do you think a novice comic should do to shape their voice? 
Writing a set can be like writing a song. If you practice delivering or writing in the style of your favorite comic, you stretch your comedy muscles and see what feels like “your” voice.
Was there one person who inspired you to go into the comedy world?
Ah, unfortunately, it was a man. John Mulaney. I rewatch his specials as a comfort watch.
What is your go-to show when you’ve had a bad day? 
See above. Gilmore Girls is also a good and super unique comfort watch.
What single word always cracks you up?