Bonita Elery was a very moody teen

Bonita Elery is one actress, improviser and sketch writer to keep on your radar. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she knew at an early age that she was destined for stardom. Her fun-loving, comedic personality emerged at a young age. She knew that the countless hours spent in front of a mirror, wielding a hairbrush as a microphone and donning a towel as a wig, would definitely pay off. She knew her place was to be around a camera, shining in the spotlight and brainstorming ideas behind the scenes.
After graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta, she worked as a graphic designer for Fox News in Atlanta, Georgia. Then, after a successful experience in the corporate world, her dreaming expanded to new heights, and she wanted to pursue something bigger. She sold her house, stepped out on faith, moved to New York City, and caught the acting bug. From that point, she knew that entertaining others was exactly her dream, and that she could do this for the rest of her life. Check out her reel here.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

I’m sorry that you are hurting. But can we not? I got a sleeping kid in the back seat of my Honda Civic so I’m trying to finish this quickly!

Describe your worst gig.

My last open mic in person was brutal. Room was so quiet I could hear cotton hit the ground. I had on so much makeup too and the sweat pouring down my face from the intense lights made me look like hot candle wax. I wanted to run off stage and cry and question my life—but I finished and so many people came up to me and told me how funny I was. I played the tape back and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was. And I survived and I’m ready to do it again!! Remember, kiddos—you can’t bomb at an open mic. That’s why it’s called an open mic and NOT a show!! 🤣

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

I was very very spoiled and moody. I’m Catholic and grew up in the suburbs. All I wanted to do was be a rapper and get street cred. No one took me seriously so I went and got a gold tooth thinking that would help me on getting street cred … IT DID NOT! I always thought I was funny and I often talk to myself for hours and laugh and laugh. I could never tell if people were laughing with me or at me but my sense of humor is weird and morbid and I like it like that!

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

We have to be funny. Because being funny involves being patient and we do that a lot especially when we lay down with men who never let us finish first.

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

Improv really introduced me into the comedy world and the crowd’s laughter keeps me coming back.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Jump off the cliff and build your parachute on the way down.

Worst comedy advice you ever got? 

You can’t make a living telling jokes. And to that I say, right, ’cause you selling Avon and drugs is #career #goals, right?

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

It’s like having the best donut on a Saturday in your bed—and you don’t have on pants!

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

If I can make fun of all the troubles in my life—and make other people laugh—then maybe I don’t have it so bad.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

I prefer the world Super Woman of the FUNNIES ’cause that’ just rolls off the tongue better.

Was there one person who inspired you to go into comedy? If so: Who, why, how?

My mommy is the best. She’s has no filter and says all of the things. Yes she is my SHERO. I’m not crying you’re crying.

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young (female/non-binary) comedian?

Wear clean underwear. You never know if tonight’s the night you hook up with your future boo!

What single word always cracks you up?