Throughout her career as an advertising copywriter and creative director, Anne Stesney had Amy Sedaris sell laundry products, NFL football players style their daughter’s hair, and shredded millions of dollars in a woodchipper. Her work has been featured in the NYTimes, The Today Show, and many other places that even her parents have heard about. Her advertising work has won Cannes Lions, One Show Pencils, and even a Clio. Her parents have never heard of these awards. In her spare time, she is a bona fide comedy nerd, writing sketches and sitcom pilots while performing stand-up in various clubs around NYC. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Favorite response to a heckler or troll?
I found not responding bothers them the most.
So, how was your worst gig (noting that you survived)?
I haven’t had any bad gigs, but I’ve had bad open mics, you know the ones. Male-heavy and filled with guys making porn and other graphic sex jokes while ignoring the one or two women who get on stage.
I will say that this is slooowly becoming more of the exception than the rule, and a lot of these younger men are becoming more aware and inclusive.
What were you like as a teen?
I was passionate about comedy but didn’t ever think I could make a career from it. I would obsessively watch Carol Burnett reruns after school, then create my own characters to entertain my friends.
On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young (female/non-binary) comedian?
Focus on the actions of being in comedy: the mics, the writing, the shows. Don’t focus on the results. The results will come.
When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?
I’m still coming up! Having my husband support me is the number one thing. Also NOT FOCUSING ON THE RESULTS.
Best comedy advice you ever got?
Keep trying. Also, mics are not for killing or bombing, they’re for PRACTICING. Once I adapted this attitude, I enjoyed the necessary process of mics much more.
Worst comedy advice you ever got?
Don’t make jokes about your “day job” because your “real job” should be being a comedian. Well, maybe if you have rich parents you can do that, but most people need to work other gigs and those gigs are rich with relatable, connective stories we can joke about.
Favorite response to “What’s it like to be a woman in comedy”? (If applicable.)
It’s like being a person in comedy.
How has being funny helped you in your offstage life, either recently or when you were younger?
It has absolutely helped me in my career. I’m great at presenting work, I come at ideas from many angles, I’ve developed friendships with younger generations which keeps me more fully connected to culture. And I can crack a good joke in a stuffy meeting which loosens things up considerably.
Feelings about the word “comedienne”?
I don’t mind it. It sounds French and sexy.
Was there one person who inspired you to go into comedy? If so: Who, why, how?
It was always something I wanted to do, but my Dad is the first person who inspired my love for comedy with his own humor and by introducing me to All In The Family and SNL. A former boyfriend took me to an early ASSCAT show where I learned about classes at the UCB. And my husband took a stand-up class which led me to take one too. So what I’m saying is that men had everything to do with my comedy path. But good, supportive men. Yikes. Hope I don’t lose my feminist card!
What single word always cracks you up?
I need more than one word to crack me up. I’m gluttonous.