What’s your favorite response to a heckler or troll?
I try my best to affectionately f*** with them back… shower them with a bit of snarky kindness. With trolls that seem non-psychotic, sometimes I’ll take the convo into DMs and let them know they can be a human, and be cool… and often that turns them into a real human. If not I just block them. It’s quite simple!
Can you describe your worst gig?
I catastrophically bombed one gig so hard that it has become what my nightmares are made of. I was ‘featuring’ on the road in a podunk town in southern Illinois. This was probably 9 years ago. I had exactly a half hour and it wasn’t all stellar. I had to do 35 minutes and figured a stretch would be no problem. Well when I walked out, it was a room of all elderly couples. Like, very old. They hated me, everything I was talking about, and I bombed to silence the entire 35 minutes. After that day, I knew there was no horrifying moment I couldn’t endure and I honestly haven’t bombed like that since–probably because it made me certain nothing could ever be worse.
Did you have an un-sexy starter job?
I bartended and waited tables for many years, and I can’t even complain about it because it built character, I made great money, and it was flexible so I could have the schedule I needed for shows and travel.
Obviously, it wasn’t glamorous, but far better than farming and the things I did for money growing up… I actually cocktailed at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills where Sebastian used to work, and a bunch of the veteran servers would introduce me to people in the entertainment industry that used to come in when he worked there.
I had worked a small part during that time on a set in New York, and a team I waited on at the lounge recognized me on a work trip to LA. I had also at that time had one of my pilots in the semi-finals with an NBC pilot pitch competition and that team happened to be with NBC. My waiting on them got me in with the production team at NBC and Peacock, and I was on a talent-holding deal for quite some time with them. It opened up the doors to many of my network connections and allowed me to pitch and create other series.
What were you like as a teen?
I was exactly a micro-version of what I am now: a straight-A, Honor Roll student who was a performer. In high school I was in dance outside of school, had written a series of thought books that were essentially like preliminary standup that older kids would have me perform at parties, and I was the top student in all my AP classes, especially English Lit where I won awards for my writing. Kind of wild that I ended up being a combo comedian and entrepreneur. My track record would only suggest such!
On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?
First and foremost, don’t forget to enjoy your life amongst the hustle. You never get time back, and you reflect on your relationships and how you made people and yourself feel far more than your “achievements.” Also, regardless of if you feel victimized or not, you cannot allow yourself to live in a victim mentality.
You control your own destiny. No circumstances or things you’ve endured can stop you from becoming exactly what you’re supposed to be. If someone makes a roadblock? Go around that shit.
And also, rather than allowing yourself to feel envy for someone else’s achievements, look at them as fuel. If someone else has something, that means it’s available and it can be yours too. Fight through telling yourself a story that isn’t useful or even true. Use your energy to focus on positive forward momentum instead of bringing others down.
When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?
I always knew I had a story to tell, and that I would do it in a unique way. We all have a story, and how we get to bring it to the world is what makes us stand out. I knew I had something to say and I wouldn’t stop until I figured it out, and could positively affect others with it.
Best comedy advice you ever got?
At 21 years old in Second City Chicago… “Natasha, you’re gonna make it. You’ve got the talent and the drive, but it’s gonna take 15 years to get to where you want to be. So prepare to hustle and celebrate the little wins along the way.”
Worst comedy advice you ever got?
Write about what you think the industry wants to see. lol
How has being funny helped you in your offstage life?
I launched a startup last year, MyBreakUpRegistry.com, on the coattails of my comedy special being shot on my canceled wedding day. I knew comedy and entertainment were hard careers, but launching a startup as a solo founder I was told was the hardest path to be on… BUT when I started pitching to investors and partners and collaborators, turns out they were floored by my background, confidence, and ease in a room. I pitch the crap out of my startup without even having to try, and it’s made my company gain traction I would’ve never imagined having the background I have.
What is your go-to show or movie to watch when you have had a bad day?
My Best Friend’s Wedding. The song at the dinner table! And Julia Roberts is so hot in it… hilarious classic.
What specific things can a young comic/comedian do to shape their voice?
Produce a weekly show that you host. You’ll get to know other comics you book, and learn the hard way how to host well (ie: it’s not about you it’s about creating a warm room and making the other comics look good). Also hosting gives you the flexibility to have fun on stage while still working through new material. But always keep in mind, hosting is a crazy hard skill and you’re job is to keep the room in a good place, not do 5 minutes in between each comic 😉
Was there one person who inspired you to go into comedy?
Lucille Ball. I did my first solo comedic performance in a theater class in college and played characters of my grandma and her twin sister making Christmas cookies. I crushed, and it was very Lucille-esque. That performance is where I was told to get into improv, and the rest is history.
Do you have a writing routine?
I hate to say that I don’t. If I feel stuck, I make sure to spend time with friends or family because I write the most in organic and fun settings. I take sparks of sparks of something that actually makes me laugh and I’ll sit with it and write out beats after emailing notes to myself. I take those beats to the stage and nestle them in between other material and essentially write on stage, with thoughtful tags done preemptively.
What single word always cracks you up?