After stage managing and fetching people things for years in New York, Nancy Cohen moved to Los Angeles to be a television writer. She has written on numerous shows, including The King of Queens, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Gravity Falls, Fuller House and Alexa & Katie. She’s currently writing and pitching pilots. Nancy lives in Hollywood with her husband, Brian Frazer, also a writer, and puppy Hubbell, not a writer. In her spare time she takes and teaches tap dance classes.
Describe your worst gig.
My first writing job was in a comedy room of not-so-nice people, which resulted in lotsa tears on my car ride home. In their defense, I was green and should’ve been more prepared for ‘the room’, in my defense, they were mean.
Favorite response to a heckler or troll?
I can’t type it here.
What were you like as a teen? (Did you have comedy #goals? Were you already funny, or not so much?)
I had zero comedy goals as a teen. People tell me I was funny but I have no recollection of that. I do think I’ve always been drawn to dark comedy, though. When I was 10 I told my father that when I die I want my ashes to be given to Liza Minnelli so she can throw them around onstage.
What’s your first impulse when someone says “women aren’t funny”?
I can’t type it here.
When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?
I’d rather be writing than doing anything, except for tap dancing.
Best comedy advice you ever got?
Worst comedy advice you ever got?
Laugh at your own jokes so they stay in the show. Eww.
How has being funny helped you in your offstage life, either recently or when you were younger?
When I grew up, my Dad had numerous illnesses but he always had a sense of humor. And my mother was an extreme-worrier, which, when you take a step back, is pretty funny. Also, I met my husband, who’s also a comedy writer, while writing on a show.
Favorite response to “What’s it like to be a woman in comedy”? (If applicable.)
I feel like a person in comedy, not a woman in comedy.
Was there one person who inspired you to go into comedy? If so: Who, why, how?
Linda Day, a TV director who is no longer with us, read my first sample script and said, “Kid, you got it. Move to LA, you’re not getting any younger.”
On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young (female/non-binary) comedian?
Keep getting up after you fall down — that’s life.