Mini Q+A with Brittani Nichols

Brittani Nichols is a writer, comedian, and actor living in Los Angeles. Words With Girls, a comedy pilot (based on the web series of the same name) that she created and starred in, was produced as part of Issa Rae’s Color Creative TV and premiered at HBO/BET’s Urbanworld Film Festival. She co-hosts Brand New Podcast with fellow witch and comedian Ariana Lenarsky. Suicide Kale, the feature she produced, wrote, and starred in, is currently available on SVOD after winning numerous awards including the Audience Award at Outfest and Newfest. Brittani has appeared on Transparent and Take My Wife and her writing credits include StrangersTake My Wife, MTV’s VMA’s and the celebrity rap battle show Drop the Mic. Brittani is currently writing for the recently announced A Black Lady Sketch Show for HBO.


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

You’re boring.

Describe your worst gig.

Every gig is terrible because I’d rather be at home.

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

Get comfortable with the discomfort of saying no to things.

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

I live a life in which I avoid this scenario.

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

My friends coming to shows. If you’re not funny, and your friends have self-respect, they will not repeatedly come watch you be unfunny.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

All you need is a beginning, middle, and end.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

You should be able to make everyone laugh.

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

I’ve used humor as a comping mechanism since before I knew what a coping mechanism was. Being able to talk about things via jokes before I was in a place where I was willing to be vulnerable enough to talk about them plainly helped me make sense of myself, the world around me, and the things that happened to me.

What single word always cracks you up?

Whilst

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian? If so, who, why, how?

I don’t know that there was a period between wanting to be a comedian and becoming one. It was just the decision of, “Oh, this is what I’m doing now.” But Dave Chappelle was the reason I became invested in comedy and appreciated every aspect of it before I decided it’s what I would do.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

The only people I see use that word are men trying to be funny by putting it in their Twitter bios.

Photo via: Robin Roemer


Brittani Nichols is a writer, comedian, and actor living in Los Angeles. Words With Girls, a comedy pilot (based on the web series of the same name) that she created and starred in, was produced as part of Issa Rae’s Color Creative TV and premiered at HBO/BET’s Urbanworld Film Festival. She co-hosts Brand New Podcast with fellow witch and comedian Ariana Lenarsky. Suicide Kale, the feature she produced, wrote, and starred in, is currently available on SVOD after winning numerous awards including the Audience Award at Outfest and Newfest. Brittani has appeared on Transparent and Take My Wife and her writing credits include StrangersTake My Wife, MTV’s VMA’s and the celebrity rap battle show Drop the Mic. Brittani is currently writing for the recently announced A Black Lady Sketch Show for HBO.

Read Lynn’s bio here.

Mini Q+A with Lolita Morrow

Lolita Morrow is an up-and-coming New York based comedian who grew up in Houston, Texas. She’s performed at New York’s famous Caroline’s on Broadway and Broadway Comedy Club. Lolita’s southern charm and quick wit has allowed her to host red carpets and moderate panel events around the country. Her new comedy book, Think Like A Bartender –Cocktails For Life, will be released this fall.


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

One size does not fit all….not for pantyhose or comedy. Be Yourself!

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

The constant, persistent pressure from bill collectors. That’ll get you going!

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Do it for free.. it will pay for itself later.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

See previous answer.

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

When my grandfather kept hitting on my girlfriends…I had to laugh to keep from choking him out.

What single word always cracks you up?

Covfefe

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian? If so, who, why, how?

My grandmother! She was always laughing at everything I did…. well, now I know it was because of her dementia.


Lolita Morrow is an up-and-coming New York based comedian who grew up in Houston, Texas. She’s performed at New York’s famous Caroline’s on Broadway and Broadway Comedy Club. Lolita’s southern charm and quick wit has allowed her to host red carpets and moderate panel events around the country. Her new comedy book, Think Like A Bartender –Cocktails For Life, will be released this fall.

Read Cassandra’s bio here. 

Mini Q+A with Christie Buchele

Christie Buchele is an up-and-coming standup comic from Denver, Colorado, who also co-led GOLD’s debut hybrid F2F version of our online class at Park Hill Branch Library in Denver. Christie made a name for herself by the heart-wrenching and hilarious realities of being a woman with a disability. Christie has been featured on Viceland’s, Flophouse; Hidden America with Jonah Ray; and Laughs on Fox. Christie has performed at both the Crom Comedy Festival in Omaha, Nebraska, Denver’s own High Plains Comedy Festival and Hell Yes Fest in New Orleans. Follow her


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Thank you for your input! I am up/out here actually creating and putting myself out there. So I REALLY appreciate the opinion [of someone] who does nothing but tear others down. (BIG SARCASTIC SMILE)

Describe your worst gig.

I had to follow a duck that was pooping on squares for a raffle. They wanted a Jeff Foxworthy type but they got me! They did not laugh. I got boo’d and my Dad was there to watch it!

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?

There will be comics who are less funny than you, and comics that are more funny than you. Never let any other comic work harder than you.

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

The community. Comedy creates a family for you everywhere you go. If you are a comic, comics in other cities will be there for you and take care of you when you come visit and its a really special network. If you don’t feel supported in your community, start building your own or move to a more supportive comedy community.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

When people tell me to try and conform my voice to what the club or corporate scenes want in order to be more “accessible.” Straying away from my own authentic voice has never served me.

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

I don’t feel like people really know me until they have seen me do stand-up. It’s this amazing tool to introduce myself to the whole room and make them comfortable. I am a person with a disability so I feel like it really helps me feel more comfortable around so many new people because I get to explain my disability to everyone at once.

What advice do you have for how to level up from open mics + bringers to actual SPOT-spots?

Get onstage as much as possible. Actually WORK your jokes. A lot of people come to mics and try new stuff every time and they never sharpen the jokes they already have. Mix in new stuff with more established stuff so that you can get new stuff and also show the other comics and bookers what you can do.

What single word always cracks you up?

When I refer to my legs as gams

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian? If so, who, why, how?

Josh Blue was the first person I saw making jokes about having a disability. Because of him I knew I could too. Now I get to work with him all the time.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Just keep showing up.

Christie Buchele is an up-and-coming standup comic from Denver, Colorado, who also co-led GOLD’s debut hybrid F2F version of our online class at Park Hill Branch Library in Denver. Christie made a name for herself by the heart-wrenching and hilarious realities of being a woman with a disability. Christie has been featured on Viceland’s, Flophouse; Hidden America with Jonah Ray; and Laughs on Fox. Christie has performed at both the Crom Comedy Festival in Omaha, Nebraska, Denver’s own High Plains Comedy Festival and Hell Yes Fest in New Orleans.

Christie co-hosts a witty relationship advice podcast, Empty Girlfriend, which earned best Comedy Podcast by Westword Magazine and best Podcast for Sexpot Comedy in 2017. As one third of the Denver Comedy powerhouse, The Pussy Bros, Christie reps the Mile High City hard while crushing audiences with a wry, biting style that’s a bit sweet, a and a little bit surly; proving time and again you can say almost anything with a smile on your face and a gimp in your step. Follow her

Photo Credit: Carnefix Photography

Read Cassandra’s bio here.

Mini Q+A with…Rubi Nicholas

Rubi Nicholas has appeared on NickMom Network’s “Night Out” and “NickMom On…” series and has performed standup alongside comedy greats Judy Gold and Jim Breuer. She hosted the sold-out 2015 Lancaster City (PA) TEDx event in 2015 and then took it one step further with her very own TED talk at the 2016 live event. Follow her!


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

I’m a Pakistani comic. I’d rather kill than bomb, sir, but you are making me want to change my mind.

Describe your worst gig.

I had driven over 4 hours to the western slope of Colorado when I was doing comedy in Denver. When I got to the gig, I realized it wasn’t just a Japanese restaurant. It was a Japanese restaurant with a table top hibachi. That meant that during my set, people were cooking their food, talking with the wait staff about how to cook their food, and just generally not about paying attention to the lady on stage. They had a show right in front of them; I was just background noise. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was a large center table of only Spanish speakers. In my terrible fortune, I look like I might speak Spanish and they were mildly interested in checking me out until they just sort of shrugged and continued their loud conversation…I couldn’t even out heckle them. Awful. Just awful. But hey, at least it came with a really weird room in a Motel 6, though, right?

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?

Your dick is bigger than theirs. I promise.

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

Knowing that comedy can dismantle stereotypes.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

“Don’t wear suggestive clothing, it distracts the audience…”

Doesn’t really feel like “comedy advice” at all, does it?

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

I am one of those women who is deeply in touch with my inner Chad. I actually struggle with the notion that good comedy has anything at all to do with gender. It might take a little longer to break through getting booked, but staying funny, and staying on your grind is the only thing that works for any comic. To stay in comedy, one needs to be consistently funny. Being a comic in comedy is hard. Being a bad comic is worse. Meh, being a woman? We’re rising up actually and we are doing all right for ourselves, considering it’s only been an even playing field for oh, 2-3 years I’m guessing.

I’m more inclined to open doors for women through workshops, mentorship, writing together. I have 2 sisters and 2 daughters (full custody, no breaks)…my mother was a stay-at-home mom. My life is about women. I love being a woman, I love being a mom and I love being a comic. When you do something with love, with the knowledge that this is your calling, that there isn’t anything else that makes you feel perfect, it’s easy to brush off little slights along the way. Honestly, comedy has done more for me as a person than I can even express. It doesn’t matter to me if someone is not booking women at their room, I’ll move along and find another room—I love what I do and I know I’ll get booked.

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

As the only brown girl in my class, the weirdo that smelled of curry, the girl with the one eyebrow and mustache, I had a boatload of reasons to NOT be popular with the white kids that were the only other kids in the coal region in rural PA. Problem is, I’m an extraordinary extravert and love people so much all I wanted was acceptance and friendship. While I wasn’t pretty, or athletic or “normal” in so many ways, I was funny. Funny got me everything I’d ever wanted in school, friends, invitations to parties, a big peer group and even positive attention from my teachers at times.

Later I would learn to use stand up comedy as a tool, a mechanism to edit my life story and make it way less painful by making it relatable and funny. That is my comedy “why.” With my background, “sit down” and “shut up” were words I heard my whole life. When I started stand up, they said get louder, we want to hear you. It was a game-changer. Comedy allowed me to have my OWN voice. I am able to stand my ground in all other areas of my life because I no longer think of myself as unworthy of a voice. My voice is strong and powerful. I know that because I tried it out, and people listened….they still do. It’s a beautiful thing.

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian? If so, who, why, how?

I wouldn’t be a comedian if it weren’t for a series of flukes. I was a working mom, living in the suburbs of Denver, CO when my then 6-year-old saw a commercial on Nick@Nite (we had it earlier on mountain time before you give me the side eye for letting my kid stay up that late, I see you). The commercial announced “Nick at Nite is looking for the Funniest Mom in America–could it be you?” So, when she saw that, Sophie said, “Mom, you should try out for that show.” So that was it–the jump-off!

For standups: what advice do you have for how to level up from open mics + bringers to actual SPOT-spots?

Be consistently funny. Get up as often as you can in as many mics as you can. Once you know you are consistently crushing 10 minutes of material, start networking around the shows you want to be on. Ask your fellow comics that have shows if they would grant you a guest set. Crush the guest set. Always bring your A game to a show where the audience bought a ticket.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

I actually only see that word in writing. My inner feminist instinct is to raspberry at this word. My inner feminist is also 8 years old and recognizes this as nonsense. I’m a comic, full stop.


Rubi Nicholas has appeared on NickMom Network’s “Night Out” and “NickMom On…” series and has performed standup alongside comedy greats Judy Gold and Jim Breuer. She hosted the sold-out 2015 Lancaster City (PA) TEDx event in 2015 and then took it one step further with her very own TED talk at the 2016 live event. Follow her!


Read Cassandra’s bio.

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Mini Q+A with…Chanel Ali

Chanel Ali is a standup comedian who blossomed on the Philadelphia circuit before moving to New York City in 2015. Her stage presence and story teller style make her a crowd favorite as she covers her upbringing, her world view, and life as a comedian who doubles as a polite person in real life. She was recently featured on an episode of Night Train with Wyatt Cenac and performs regularly at Caroline’s on Broadway and New York Comedy Club. Follow her!


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Right now, I’m a babysitter, just juggling babies and killing it at my job. You’re the guy, who’s bringing in mooore babies. Let me work.

Describe your worst gig.

I once had a gig at a bar that didn’t have a stage. They told us to stand near the pool table and gave us a wireless mic while the crowd was screaming watching the Super Bowl. Every comedian got one minute in before the boos took over. Afterwards, we could only laugh for having the guts to even try it.

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

Comedy is minutes, tiny bursts of opportunity on a show or a mic. Whenever you’re lost, get back on stage again, and again, and again.

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

Steve Martin has a book called Born Standing Up and I read it after the first time I bombed in front of a lot of people. He said that his goal was to be good. Consistently good. Which is a hard goal. Moments of greatness happen all the time in comedy but consistency? It sounded daunting. I committed myself to the idea and invested heavily in learning from my mistakes. I became meticulous about my sets, keeping notes, taking audio recordings, studying the good, bad or weird.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Don’t get comfortable in how that joke goes. It could change overtime, it could get better or become different. The joke isn’t done until you say so.

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

Sometimes I try to get people to laugh in business settings. I’ll make a bill collector laugh on the phone and then make a better deal. It helps drop the tension in a lot of situations and creates an energy where people feel compassion.

What advice do you have for how to level up from open mics + bringers to actual SPOT-spots?

It’s that old saying, dress for the job you want. Every time you get on stage you have an opportunity to showcase yourself and your work. Sometimes you have to use an open mic to showcase a complete set, to show that you have the material organized and that you are ready to be booked. Put yourself in the mindset of a booker watching a bunch of open mic sets. If you were booking a show you would want someone who goes up on stage with a plan and executes it. You’d want someone who seems polished and fun.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Not my favorite honestly. I don’t want to be called that but I really don’t care if the next person does. I just like to be called a comedian. I think it’s gender neutral and I think it’s who I am, through and through.


Chanel Ali is a standup comedian who blossomed on the Philadelphia circuit before moving to New York City in 2015. Her stage presence and story teller style make her a crowd favorite as she covers her upbringing, her world view, and life as a comedian who doubles as a polite person in real life. She was recently featured on an episode of Night Train with Wyatt Cenac and performs regularly at Caroline’s on Broadway and New York Comedy Club. Follow her!

Mini Q+A with…X Mayo

X Mayo is a comedy writer, and the founding member of an independent all-black, 11-person improv/sketch comedy team My Momma’s Biscuits. X and co-host Shenovia will be hosting Unsung Heroes Of Black History, the only Black History Month show premiering at Upright Citizens Brigade. You do not want to miss the show  featuring character bits and sketches written and performed by black comics you might have seen on Comedy Central, the CBS Diversity Showcase, Netflix, TV Land, MTV, Upright Citizen’s Brigade and more. It’s on February 22! Get your tickets now!


On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young female comedian?

Be kind to yourself and protect your energy. Have clear boundaries. Boundaries aren’t walls to keep people out, they’re parameters to keep YOU safe!

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

Tell ’em, “BOY BYE!”

Best comedy advice you ever got?

“Ay yo X! Be YOU! People will love it!”

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

You can’t do more than one project at a time.

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

It’s helped me get out of a lotttttttt of traffic tickets!

Single word that always cracks you up?

Alopecia.

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian? If so, who, why, how?

There are multiple comedians who inspired me (Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Eddie Murphy, Lucille Ball and more) but when I saw Queen Latifah in Living Single, that was the first time I saw myself on screen. She looked like me, talked like me, walked like me — she inspires me to be a household name and pursue all of my dreams! In my mind I am Khadijah James.

 


X Mayo is a performer, writer, and the founding member of an independent all-black, 11-person improv/sketch comedy team My Momma’s Biscuits.

Photo via: Bijan Mejia

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Mini Q+A with Maeve Press

Maeve Press is a 15-year-old comedian, actor, and superhero from New York City. She was the youngest comic ever to perform at Boston’s Women in Comedy Festival, and was recently profiled on NPR’s Here & Now.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Shhhh….

Describe your worst gig. 

I showed up and half of the audience was made up of 7-year-olds, which maybe I could have dealt with, but the other half was their younger siblings. I’m not sure who was more confused, the kids or me. At one point a toddler screamed out, “But I don’t want to die!”

Comedy is tough. What helps you stick with it?

I think it is just my love of the art form. Every time I get a chance to speak the ideas in my head and make people laugh I feel like the luckiest person in the world and I just want to get back up again. Every person who has taken a moment after a show, comics and audience members, to tell me they enjoyed my show inspires me to continue.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

“It’s easy to bring the intelligence of a room down with cheap laughs, but almost impossible to bring it back up.”

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

“People won’t understand that,” or “People won’t accept that coming from a young girl.” If your material is honest, true to who you are, and makes you laugh, then do it. If it doesn’t work, you will figure out if it’s not worth it or if you need to find a better way to communicate your idea.

Did someone inspire you to be a comedian?

Tig Notaro. When I first started doing my own comedy I saw a few small clips of her on YouTube including the one where she’s pushing a stool around for about five minutes. I immediately saw that it was okay to be different and take risks.

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life?

I am socially awkward and I have always been self-conscious about having learning disabilities in school. Humor has helped me get through difficult times, accept myself, and put other people at ease.

Single word that always cracks you up?

Poop.

OK, I’m still young and I had to be honest.

What advice do you have for how standup comics can level up from open mics + bringers to actual SPOT-spots?

This is just beginning to happen for me. My advice is to get up as much as possible on the open mic level and try to treat them like they are real shows even if there are only two drunk people and a mop in the audience. Try to tape yourself as much as possible because you can learn a lot watching your own sets and you might need that tape to submit to try to get those actual spots as well as festivals.

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

You show me one Mussolini and I’ll show you one Lucille Ball.

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?

I just imagined myself on my deathbed and the first thing that popped into my head was an image of me as Snow White surrounded by the dwarfs. I will make the dwarfs into awesome comedians and  I’m singing to them, “If you think its funny, its funny, if nobody laughs, just believe in your instinct and tweak that thought… Honey.” There, I rhymed.


Read Cassandra’s bio here.

Mini Q&A with Kate Moran

Kate Moran is a comedian, writer, director, producer, painter, and actor based out of New York City. She wrote and directed the short film Are You Afraid of the ’90s? and is currently producing an “intersectional AF” all-female stand-up show, The Revolution, at QED Astoria.

Favorite response to a heckler?

Turn the tables by getting real personal and then shutting that sh*t down!

Describe your worst gig.

I did a bar show once when I was first getting started, there was literally no one in the crowd. I let my ego get the best of me and started drinking while waiting to get on, and once I got on, I was so drunk that I threw a stool across the stage. No one was hurt or even said anything, but in retrospect it was embarrassing and I vowed to never drink before a show again. It made me realize how much of this job, while it’s fun, is still a profession and professionalism outweighs over-imbibing every time.

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

Take care of yourself. You can’t come to the table with anything if you’re not at 100%, so take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. The tragic comic bit gets you only so far. Surround yourself with good people, eat well, sleep well, get professional help when needed, and be courageous to be truly, vulnerably you on-stage. That’s great comedy, that’s great art. And no one can touch that.

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

Keeping my head down and really focusing on my craft and my stories. Finding the humor in everyday life and discovering new and interesting ways to incorporate it into my set. My work is for me as much as it is for the audience. Working on comedy helped me work though my shame and turn it into truthful, impactful humor.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Record every single set and listen back. Also, punch up, don’t punch down.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

“Stay away from stories, sex, period jokes, politics.” I think the funniest material and the funniest comedians are the ones who are truthful and autobiographical. There’s something so genuine that the audience picks up on right away. If you speak your clever truth, anything can be funny.

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

It’s a great way to connect with others, I’ve always liked making people laugh. And I find that I’m able to be more myself, more honest, with humor. People don’t mind strong opinions from women so much if they’re laughing with you at the same time.

Single word that always cracks you up? 

Mahwah (the town in NJ) — I always shout it out when I pass a sign for it.

Was there one person who inspired you to become a comedian?

Margaret Cho. She was the first time I ever saw someone who looked like me and felt similar to me and talked like me on TV. It was life-changing and taught me that I’m okay: who I am and how I think and feel, is valid and real.

What advice do you have for how to level up from open mics and bringers to actual SPOT-spots?

Work hard, don’t think that the open mics that are 90% white cis straight men are indicative of the real environment or the industry as a whole. Find your people, reach out to other women, queer, trans*, and POC comics when you are at shows together, exchange information. If you’re good, if you’re professional, the offers will come.

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

Who broke up with you?


Kate Moran is a comedian, writer, director, producer, painter, and actor based out of New York City. She wrote and directed the short film Are You Afraid of the ’90s? and is currently producing an “intersectional AF” all-female stand-up show, The Revolution, at QED Astoria.

Read Cassandra’s bio here.