Comics Archives - GOLD Comedy

[More than] 21 female and non-binary comedians to watch in 2021

Well, 2020 was NOT GREAT. It was definitely not great for comedians, whose gigs and paychecks went poof in this raging dumpster fire IN a dumpster fire. But somewhere in there, we found things to laugh about (and plenty of time to binge-watch…everything). And comedians like Sarah Cooper and Taylor Tomlinson (and tons more) forged new tools and found platforms for their hilarity and creativity. Like COMEDY DUMPSTER FIRE PHOENIXES, they have RISEN. Here are just 21 of the MANY female and LGBTQ+ comedy performers and producers who used this year to give us a taste of their potential. We can’t wait to see what they’ll dish out when we’ve got happier stuff to laugh about.

1. Mae Martin made a name for themself with Feel Good, a semi-autobiographical series about their struggles with love and addiction. The show is an intimate, thoughtful comedy on queer identity, and with Season 2 on the way, we suspect Mae Martin will become a household name.

2. Patti Harrison is pretty much unstoppable at this point. She steals every scene in her role on Hulu’s Shrill as Ruthie, Aidy Bryant’s asshole co-worker. She’s now writing for the funnier and funnier Big Mouth—and she totally steals the…funeral in the Amazon Prime comedy special Yearly Departed.

3. Marcia Belsky is poised to be the next big-name comedy songwriter. Following on the success of her Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical (Praise be!), her 100 Tampons has been stuck in our heads since we heard it—and has rocketed (that’s a NASA pun) to TikTok lipsync stardom.

4/5. Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri made clear that they are a force to be reckoned with with their Comedy Central series Ayo and Rachel Are Single. Now, with Ayo stepping in as Sissy on Big Mouth and Rachel starring in Shiva Baby, it’s clear that their recent success is only the beginning.

6. Naomi Ekperigin (who talked to GOLD here!) brought her hilarious old soul (she enjoys “a fleece pant” and a procedural) to the novel coronavirus moment with her podcast Couples Therapy (co-hosted with her husband, Andy Beckerman). An in-demand TV writer and podcast guest herself, she brings that Ekperigin energy everywhere, and we can’t get enough.

7. Bess Kalb was head writer on Yearly Departed (which, unlike 2020, we want to relive daily), with other credits including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The New Yorker. Check out her new book Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, a hilarious memoir tracing four female generations of her family.

8. Kerry Coddett (who talked to GOLD here!) isn’t afraid to tackle tough questions on her podcast On the Chopping Block, in which she hashes out cancel culture with fellow comics and celebrities. You may have seen her on HBO’s Crashing or Iliza Schlesinger’s Sketch Show, and we know you’ll see more of—and love—her in 2021.

9. Beth Stelling tells it like it is in Girl Daddy, her new special on HBO Max about being a woman in 2020 (which we suspect will also be relevant in 2021). Her sharp, honest sense of humor makes her the friend we all need to help us get through it all.

10. Maeve Press (who talked to GOLD here!) nailed a breakout role in Freeform’s hilarious and moving gem Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, but she’s also an accomplished standup veteran. Did we mention she’s only SEVENTEEN? This gal is definitely going places.

11. Jes Tom (who talked to GOLD here and who has helped teach our classes + hosted our live shows!) has shared the stage with standup comedians like Awkwafina, Aparna Nancherla, and Rosie O’Donnell. Their ultra-vulnerable special COLD BREW is a required viewing, especially for any queer folks dealing with heart break.

12. Shaina Feinberg is the writer/director behind the webseries Dinette, which the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum called “a gem”—and which left us dying to spend more time with its warmly/sharply bantering gang of women/non-binary folks. Season 2 is on the way, so yay—and while you wait, watch Senior Escort Service, Shaina’s offbeat elegy for her dad, and (pre)order her book Every Body: An Honest and Open Look at Sex from Every Angle (Jan 2021).

13. Rakhee Morzaria has her roots in sketch comedy and improv and has been featured on shows like Beaverton and What We Do in the Shadows (oh how we love that show). Note to Self, her web series about being a second-generation Canadian, is the perfect binge for anyone craving some millennial humor.

14. Zainab Johnson is featured on Upload on Amazon Prime and 100 Humans on Netflix. Her goofy standup comedy showcases her unique perspective as the youngest of 13 kids from a Muslim family.

15. Sudi Green is the master of making her followers laugh in 200 characters or less. A writer for Shrill and SNL, she is in prime position to break out on her own in 2021.

16. Teresa Lee has been crowned queen of socially-distanced comedy as co-host of Comedy Quarantine on Instagram. The world needs her innovative spirit to keep things interesting in this seemingly endless corona-cation.

17. Mitra Jouhari shines in Three Busy Debras, her irreverent sketch comedy show on Adult Swim about three rich friends in suburbia. You can also find her handiwork in Big Mouth and High Maintenance.

18. Eva Victor posts hilarious front-facing videos all over the Internet. If you love to make fun of straight people, Eva is the comic for you.

19. Mary Beth Barone (who talked to GOLD here!) knows exactly how to bring out the funny of her 20-something life in NYC. Her live comedy show, Drag His Ass, is a treat for anyone looking to laugh about f*ckboy culture.

20. Shalewa Sharpe has been making people laugh for years now in comedy clubs from Atlanta to NYC. Right now, you can get a taste of her everyday humor on her ultra-active social media. (We love her Taste Testin’ videos best of all.)

21. Hannah Pilkes slays social media with her character acting, morphing from Cindy Lou Who to the woman over-confidently getting into the hotel hot tub with ease. If you love My Favorite Murder, give her podcast Murdergram some love.

Bonus round

We don’t want to sound biased, but there are so many comedians to watch who are part of the GOLD fam!

Sophie Zucker steals the show in Apple TV’s Dickinson. She always leaves us laughing, whether she’s acting on the silver screen, performing with the ever-funny sketch comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, starring in a self-written musical—or hosting an open mic in the GOLD club. (Back in the day, she was a GOLD live class TA!)

Avery Lender has been doing standup for eight years, and she is ONLY NINETEEN. She started her own satire magazine in high school and is now one of the youngest-ever editors at B.U.’s The Bunion. (She also TA’d our good old fashioned live classes! Without a mask, even!)

Emmie Young-Kershaw is also an experienced standup at just 18, with comedy credits including Mohegan Sun and unhinged impressions of irritating customers she’s served at the ice cream stand. She’s both on her way to study comedy at Columbia College of Chicago and…on her WAY.

Tessa Abedon has a growing YouTube channel filled with self-deprecating satirical videos. Watch her latest videos, “HireMe” and “My Final Animation which I did turn in for a grade,” for some quick laughs in under five minutes. And then hire her.

Did we leave someone off the list? Let us know @goldcomedy!

Black Lives Matter

I founded GOLD Comedy to help make sure that girls get taken seriously. Some people say our purpose is “empowering” teen girls, but there’s more to it.

 

Girls already have their own power. It’s on everyone else to respect that. 

 

So really it’s more about (let’s call it) “de-empowering” everyone else. That’s the kind of cultural and structural change I’m really talking about.  That kind of change needs to happen in the comedy world, which—not coincidentally, like the world-world—is (despite obvious progress) still structured from the ground up to privilege and promote straight cis white men. 

 

That kind of change requires more than just—for one thing—not telling (or sharing) racist jokes. (Though that’s obviously imperative.) It means telling (and sharing) anti-racist jokes, especially if you’re white. It means not just opening doors for comics of color and everyone else outside what’s still the norm. It means breaking them down and building new ones.

 

Comedy—as content and business—is too often a tool for normalizing, perpetuating, and promoting violence, racism, and racist violence. But the reason we’re here is that comedy can also be a force for good, even stronger than a balm or a break. (“The best medicine” is a cure for COVID-19.)

 

Comedy, handled right, provokes and demands new ways of thinking, helps shift the standards of what’s acceptable (and what’s not). Comedy (and comics) (especially white comics) (and white industry gatekeepers) really can do their part to help drive—both slowly and as seismically as we’re seeing right now—the kind of structure and culture change required to ensure that black lives matter.  

 

This is almost literally the least we can do, but it is important to follow and share the anti-racist work of comedians of both color and of, shall we say, pallor. A teeny tiny sampling of some who may not yet be on your radar: Ted Alexandro, Kerry Coddett, Sarah Cooper, Ayo Edebiri, Negin Farsad, Jena Friedman, Ziwe Fumodoh, Akilah Hughes, Dwayne Kennedy, Leighann Lord, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Jeff Simmermon, Elsa Eli Waithe, WellRED Comedy (Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, Drew Morgan), Kristina Wong. (Tag @goldcomedy on Instagram or Twitter with other recommendations!)

 

Also, I recommend following and supporting Teens4Equality. It’s the group that organized Nashville’s recent15,000-person #BLM in five days, founded by six teen girls. Told you they had power. 

Mini Q+A with Chloe Prendergast

Chloe Prendergast is a British-American student and performer who grew up in Atlanta, GA. Chloe is the winner of Yale’s 2018 Last Comic Standing competition, after which she opened for SNL alum Sasheer Zamata at the school’s winter comedy show. She is the president and founder of the Coven, a stand up collective at Yale for women and gender nonconforming people, and the Publisher Emeritus of The Yale Record, the oldest existing humor magazine in America. Outside of comedy, Chloe has worked on the US Senate races of Democrats Michelle Nunn and Jim Barksdale and the Georgia Governor’s races of Sen. Jason Carter and Rep. Stacey Abrams. She is currently working on her senior thesis in the Political Science department at Yale on the use of humor in Northern Ireland as a social and political force throughout and since the Troubles. You can follow her on Twitter @prenderghost! 


BRIEFLY describe your worst gig.

Doing a stand up audition in a full theater to three people, all typing notes on their computers! Scary and distracting!

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

Your life is as interesting as anyone else’s!

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

Oh no! This person has been living in a bunker with no women and no television for the better part of the last 50 years.

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

I am very far away from “up” in comedy.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

You should do stand up!

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Oooh you should turn this [mildly weird event] into one of your little jokes!

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

It’s a constant battle between being funny and figuring out what to do with my long, long hair!

Feelings about the word “comedienne?”

Is it French?

What single word always cracks you up?

Aubergine (that’s French!)

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

Eeek! There are too many amazing, funny, talented people to name just one.

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

Being able to tell jokes about my regular life puts lots of not ideal situations into perspective. Seeing the funny parts of bad things makes them easier to handle.

Photo via: L. Thomas


Chloe Prendergast is a British-American student and performer who grew up in Atlanta, GA. Chloe is the winner of Yale’s 2018 Last Comic Standing competition, after which she opened for SNL alum Sasheer Zamata at the school’s winter comedy show. She is the president and founder of the Coven, a stand up collective at Yale for women and gender nonconforming people, and the Publisher Emeritus of The Yale Record, the oldest existing humor magazine in America. Outside of comedy, Chloe has worked on the US Senate races of Democrats Michelle Nunn and Jim Barksdale and the Georgia Governor’s races of Sen. Jason Carter and Rep. Stacey Abrams. She is currently working on her senior thesis in the Political Science department at Yale on the use of humor in Northern Ireland as a social and political force throughout and since the Troubles. You can follow her on Twitter @prenderghost! 

Mini Q+A with Kate Robards

Kate Robards is an award-winning writer and performer based in New York City. Kate’s play trilogy Mandarin Orange, Ain’t That Rich, and PolySHAMory have racked up awards and performances across the country and abroad. Kate is a graduate of UCB improv and the one-year professional acting program at The Barrow Group.  She performs stand up and improv regularly in New York City, and has a standup series called Strawberry Milk. It’s just as good as it sounds.

Buy tickets to the monthly Strawberry Milk: A Standup Comedy Show on 7/26 here!


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

Start your own show and book the people you love the most! Know that there is no right or wrong path to making your way in comedy. It is just sticking with it!

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

Allow yourself to change, always.

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

Lauren Weedman. Even though she doesn’t identify as just a comedian, she’s a performer, writer, actors and she’s hilarious. I saw her solo show BUST at Studio Theatre years ago and was blown away by her work. The comedy and drama of it all made me say, I want to do that. Plus she’d written this hilarious book “A Woman Trapped in a Woman’s Body.” I was and continue to be in awe of her and her work.

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life?

I waited tables and worked in restaurants in high school and undergrad. I was literally using my personality and jokes for tips.

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

Fun! I’ve found strength in my fellow female comedians. I have started two female helmed comedy shows in NYC. I love it!

Describe your worst gig.

I’ve bombed a lot. I don’t beat myself up about it and instead I just celebrate every time I get on stage. I constantly remind myself ART AIN’T FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. Yes, comedy is art.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Trust your instinct. Your jokes may not work initially but don’t abandon them. Tweak your premise and see how you can get the audience. Trust yourself.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

You should wear sweatshirts. Don’t dress like you dress because women won’t laugh at you because they’ll be jealous that their date wants you not them. Of course this was from a male comedy club owner.

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

I’m still coming up, but my most essential trick to stick with comedy is to surround myself with good, kind people who believe in me and encourage me. This is crucial. There are some people who don’t get it. You can love them, but put your blinders on to negativity. My mom wrote me an inspiring email that has become a mantra after I was a finalist for Sundance Episodic Lab but was ultimately rejected. I have it memorized. The subject was- Keep on truckin’ The body of the email just said, “You are strong and work hard. You are in a business that does not necessarily reward being good. Much of it is based on luck, a twist of fate, or something strange that cannot be planned. Keep on going. Adjust when you need to. Remember to be kind to yourself a well as others. Love you”

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Thanks for listening, contributing, coming. If you want me to work with you on your performance, I do coach aspiring comics and performers. Hit me up after!


Kate Robards is an award-winning writer and performer based in New York City. Kate’s play trilogy Mandarin Orange, Ain’t That Rich, and PolySHAMory have racked up awards and performances across the country and abroad. Kate is a graduate of UCB improv and the one-year professional acting program at The Barrow Group.  She performs stand up and improv regularly in New York City. She performs a monthly standup series called Strawberry Milk. Buy tickets to the monthly Strawberry Milk: A Standup Comedy Show on 7/26 here.

Mini Q+A with Jo Firestone

Jo Firestone is a Brooklyn-based comedian who can be seen on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Joe Pera Talks With You, High Maintenance, Shrill, The Chris Gethard Show, and more. She can be heard on Maximum Fun’s Dr. Gameshow, a podcast she co-hosts with Manolo Moreno. Her album, “The Hits” is available on Comedy Central Records, and if you like puns, check out Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers. She is very willing work with animals please consider her for animals. Jo also performed at our first GOLD Comedy LIVE!


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

“Stop it, father.”

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

This question is unnecessarily morbid. Just try to be yourself and dive into what you think is funny.

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

😘

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

Supportive friends. Some really memorable shows.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Lukas Kaiser once told me if you need a bigger audience at your show, offer free pizza. It works without fail.

Describe your worst gig.

There’s so many bad ones they all blur together. I guess that’s somewhat comforting— you do years of “worst gigs” and you won’t remember any of them on the day you have to fill out someone’s questionnaire.

Feelings about the word “comedienne?”

Seems like it should be a fancy cheese.

Photo via: Mindy Tucker


Jo Firestone is a Brooklyn-based comedian who can be seen on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Joe Pera Talks With You, High Maintenance, Shrill, The Chris Gethard Show, and more. She can be heard on Maximum Fun’s Dr. Gameshow, a podcast she co-hosts with Manolo Moreno. Her album, “The Hits” is available on Comedy Central Records, and if you like puns, check out Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers. She is very willing work with animals please consider her for animals. Jo also performed at our first GOLD Comedy LIVE!

Mini Q+A with Grace Holtz

Grace Holtz is a Chattanooga-based comedian and performer. She previously was a co-host for the Once a Month comedy show and helped lead GOLD Comedy’s Comedy Camp at the Chattanooga Public Library.


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

That even with a microphone and a PA system my voice will never be as loud as an arrogant man still putting his two cents in at a comedy club where he used a Groupon.

BRIEFLY describe your worst gig.

I told several anti-police force jokes before a cop approached the stage to tell me to shut up. I would’ve used the retort to that heckler but all I did was give him my license plate number.

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

Realizing no one had my voice in my city. I felt unique for one of the first times in my life.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Make your strongest joke your last.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Wear makeup.

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

Same as a man. Just harder.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Lose it.

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

Always get to know out of town comedians in your town. Each booking could lead to a level up.

What single word always cracks you up?

Duty

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

Joan Rivers and my bff who is way funnier and never had the guts to do it.

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life?

Understanding that all people have a voice. It’s not your responsibility to change their voice, but empathize and move on if they don’t deserve your ears.

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

Your talent is to turn your pain into humor and help someone else’s pain shrink a little bit. Even if your audience doesn’t like you, you’re the one walking home with a paycheck.


Grace Holtz is a Chattanooga-based comedian and performer. She previously was a co-host of the Once a Month comedy show and helped lead GOLD Comedy’s Comedy Camp at the Chattanooga Public Library.

Read Alex’s bio here.

Mini Q+A with Veronica Dang

Veronica Dang is an award-winning director/actor/writer and comedian. You may have seen her on TV or teaching people about Yellow Fever at comedy clubs around NYC. Check out her webseries Subway: The Series, which is on Marie Claire’s list of “Webseries You’ll Want to Ditch Netflix for.” She also started NYC’s 1st Asian American sketch comedy team Model Majority. Their live shows have been on Timeout NY’s list of “Best Comedy Shows in NYC.” 


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

When I do standup comedy, most people feel sorry for me so they don’t heckle. But if they did, I would just say “Mom and Dad, I’m so glad you finally came to see me!”

Describe your worst gig.

I was a costumed mascot for a famous children’s cartoon character at a public park event in 90+ degree weather. I couldn’t see, had trouble breathing and moving in a large, heavy costume with big head and feet. I wasn’t allowed to talk but had to do photo ops (where adults can be a bit handsy), play tennis with two thumbs, and dance battle while baking in my own sweat all day.

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

Eat whatever you want and keep doing comedy no matter what other people say. Comedy world doesn’t need more privileged mediocre white heterosexual males with mommy issues.

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

Walk away. I don’t need that kind of stupidity in my life.

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

The world is messed up and I need comedy to help me deal with it. It also really helps to create your own work, that’s why I make my own films which have won awards 😉 and started NYC’s first all Asian-American sketch comedy team, Model Majority.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Always be doing comedy and you won’t actually die on stage.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Replace all minorities and women in your script with white men.

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

I don’t know. What is it like to be a man in comedy? It seems like a lot of dick and pedophilia “jokes.”

Feelings about the word “comedienne?”

I prefer comedian but will accept any label that indicates I’m funny and doesn’t use racial slurs or insults.

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

Helped me avoid being bullied and beat up.

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

Produce your own shows/work and make friends with people who know bookers or have own shows.

What single word always cracks you up?

manamana

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

Not one person, but one entity. My family inspired me to be a comedian because I needed a way to complain about them without them knowing.

Photo via: Leslie Hassler


Veronica Dang is an award-winning director/actor/writer and comedian. You may have seen her on TV or teaching people about Yellow Fever at comedy clubs around NYC. Check out her webseries Subway: The Series, which is on Marie Claire’s list of “Webseries You’ll Want to Ditch Netflix for.” She also started NYC’s 1st Asian American sketch comedy team Model Majority. Their live shows have been on Timeout NY’s list of “Best Comedy Shows in NYC.” 

Read Lynn’s bio here.

Mini Q+A with Kelsey Caine

Kelsey Caine is a beautiful New York comedian and writer originally from Texas. Her family describes her comedy as, “Stop telling jokes about us. It hurts your brother’s feelings.” She is most well known for her viral satirical character Penis C.K., who’s making fun of exactly the sex offender you’re thinking of. Kelsey is a New York Times contributor, a Miss New York USA pageant state finalist, and a controversial performance artist. Kelsey is a graduate of The New School with an MFA in Creative Writing, double majoring in Writing for Children and Nonfiction. Inspired by the #MeToo Movement Kelsey began advocating for sexual assault education in schools, focusing primarily on all-boys schools. She is writing a book on the topic entitled “What To Do With #MeToo” represented by Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group.


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Since I’ve been doing stand-up as my beloved satirical character Penis C.K., who’s mocking exactly the sex offender you’re thinking of and all sex offenders, my favorite thing to say to trolls on the internet that say they hate Penis C.K. is, “Yeah, that’s a good thing. He’s a sex offender.”

Describe your worst gig

I’ve had some people leave during Penis C.K., which I totally understand. Especially if you’ve experienced sexual assault, then I’m sure it’s hard not to think about your own experience. And for that I’m truly sorry. I’m a sexual assault survivor and my intent is to try and help bring attention to the very common sexual assault that people face everyday and are told not to talk about, not to trigger survivors. I’m trying to trigger sex offenders into seeing the pain they’ve caused. I say that very clearly during my performance. Most audiences get what I’m doing and like Penis C.K. I’ve mostly had great shows audience wise, but Penis C.K. has deeply upset some comedians. My worst show was definitely being hate Instagram storied by another comic on a show. He didn’t watch my full set, but he really hated the concept. He didn’t think it was what stand-up comedy should be and wanted me to stop. It was really strange because I had never met him before, and he was so mad at something he didn’t even fully watch. You can totally hate Penis C.K. There’s a lot of comedy that I hate. But I would never tell another comedian what to do, except not sexually assault anyone.

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

Don’t acknowledge them.  Block them.

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

I’m really funny. I know it. It’s just true. Everything else is just practice.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Open with your best joke. Then the audience will trust you and think all of your jokes are that good, but it’s a trick. You tricked them! The rest aren’t as good, but they’ll never know.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

I should dress hotter. My mom said it, but still.

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

I tell them the truth, it can be horrible. Why do you think so many comedy legends are sex offenders? There’s no HR in comedy, and there are so many stupid fucking boys who legitimately think harassing people is okay or even funny. I know rapists who are national headliners. It’s terrifying. But that’s not everyone. There are also great people in comedy. Who are kind and funny and make it worth it to be a woman in comedy.

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

Being funny has always helped me. I couldn’t read until I was nine. Because I have dyslexia. And being funny really helped me deal with that. I never thought I was dumb even for one second. I really thought reading was going to blow over, and that it was unnecessary to learn how to read. I’d gotten that far without knowing how to read. That’s a hilarious perspective. It’s gotten me far in life.

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

Okay my god, please don’t do bringer shows. If you have people that will come out to watch you do comedy PUT ON YOUR OWN SHOW. Your own show will put your name out there better than being on any bringer show. In my experience, club bookers don’t even watch their bringer shows. So who are you doing it for? It’s hard to realize that just going to open mics and hanging out around at comedy clubs isn’t going to make you famous. Look at what the people you perceive as successful are doing. They probably host their own show, or podcast, or make Instagram videos, or write funny articles. Do that, try everything!

What single word always cracks you up?

Context is everything. No single word is funny, even if one word makes me laugh it’s because of the context. But there is a video of Jerry Seinfeld breaking down the “funny words” in one of his jokes, and it’s hilarious. He says something like, “CHIMP, DIRT, PLAYING, and STICKS. Out of seven words in my joke, four of them are funny.” I just don’t think about comedy like that, and I love hearing people talk about it. It’s so funny.

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

My parents. They kept telling me I could become anything I wanted to be, and I took them up on it. My dad is still the funniest guy I know, and now I know a lot of guys who think they’re funny. And when the day is done, my mom is still my biggest fan. Even though a lot of my content truly makes her uncomfortable.

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

Don’t worry about the people who hate you. People are going to hate you, and the people who hate you aren’t going to help you. Find the people who like you and think you’re funny, and work with them. Start your own show. Start your own open mic. Have something to offer people. You don’t have to wait for people to book you, you can start booking the people you want to work with. Put yourself in a position of power.

Photo via: Mindy Tucker


Kelsey Caine is a beautiful New York comedian and writer originally from Texas. Her family describes her comedy as, “Stop telling jokes about us. It hurts your brother’s feelings.” She is most well known for her viral satirical character Penis C.K., who’s making fun of exactly the sex offender you’re thinking of. Kelsey is a New York Times contributor, a Miss New York USA pageant state finalist, and a controversial performance artist. Kelsey is a graduate of The New School with an MFA in Creative Writing, double majoring in Writing for Children and Nonfiction. Inspired by the #MeToo Movement Kelsey began advocating for sexual assault education in schools, focusing primarily on all-boys schools. She is writing a book on the topic entitled “What To Do With #MeToo” represented by Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group.

Read Alex’s bio here. 

Mini Q+A with Iris Bahr

Iris Bahr is a critically acclaimed writer, actor, director, producer and novelist. Having starred on numerous television shows (for full credits see imdb.com) , she is best known for her recurring role as Svetlana (which she wrote and directed for Mark Cuban’s Hdnet) and her recurring role on Curb your Enthusiasm, where she plays the Orthodox Jewish Girl that gets stuck on a ski-lift with Larry David. Her critically acclaimed solo show, “DAI (enough)”, in which she plays 11 different characters in a Tel Aviv cafe moments before a suicide bomber enters, had an extended hit run Off-Broadway and won the prestigious Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Performance, as well as 2 Drama Desk and UK Stage Award nominations for Best Performance and Sound Design. She has performed DAI around the world, including at the United Nations for over 100 ambassadors and delegates. Her first solo show, “Planet America”, received an LA Weekly nomination for Outstanding Solo Show and is currently in development as a feature film. Her critically acclaimed third solo show, I LOST YOU THERE, just completed a run at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC. Follow her!
 

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Tears.

Describe your worst gig (noting that you survived).

Overnight gig in Connecticut, I was at a hotel where a massive Narcotics Anonymous convention was going on, which involved lots of edgy folks leaving every few minutes to smoke cigarettes.
 

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

Don’t date another comic.
 

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

It involves either walking away or Karav Maga.

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

Daddy issues.
 

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Keep creating.
 

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Give up.
 

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Classy.

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

It has definitely helped finding some light when dealing with profound loss and grief.
 

What single word always cracks you up?

ointment.


Iris Bahr is a critically acclaimed writer, actor, director, producer and novelist. Having starred on numerous television shows (for full credits see imdb.com) , she is best known for her recurring role as Svetlana (which she wrote and directed for Mark Cuban’s Hdnet) and her recurring role on Curb your Enthusiasm, where she plays the Orthodox Jewish Girl that gets stuck on a ski-lift with Larry David. Her critically acclaimed solo show, “DAI (enough)”, in which she plays 11 different characters in a Tel Aviv cafe moments before a suicide bomber enters, had an extended hit run Off-Broadway and won the prestigious Lucille Lortel Award for Best Solo Performance, as well as 2 Drama Desk and UK Stage Award nominations for Best Performance and Sound Design. She has performed DAI around the world, including at the United Nations for over 100 ambassadors and delegates. Her first solo show, “Planet America”, received an LA Weekly nomination for Outstanding Solo Show and is currently in development as a feature film. Her critically acclaimed third solo show, I LOST YOU THERE, just completed a run at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC. Follow her!

Read Cassandra’s bio.

How to write a funny tweet

Real talk. You want to be funny on Twitter. But how do you do it? Back when we first wrote about how to write a funny tweet, we had only 140 characters. Now that we have twice as many to play with (!), so we thought we’d double the number of articles on this topic, too!

Being funny on Twitter is very similar to being funny IRL. Twitter is a terrific place to: See what resonates with an audience, find YOUR audience, get practice writing jokes. You may find that if a joke lands well on Twitter, it will also land well in your standup set or in your script. And. That. Is. #UsefuLInformationForYouToKnow

In your phone, keep a notebook page dedicated to funny tweets. You can even title the page “FUNNY TWEETS.” My page is called TWEETS, IDEAS, SKETCHES because I abhor labels and I like to keep it open as to what my random musings will turn into.

On that page, you can digitally scribble every passing observation that strikes you. The note you take down doesn’t have to be funny. Just write what grabs you as truthful or piques your interest.

At this point, your thought is a lumpy piece of dough. Before you can share it with the world, you will get out your rolling pin, shape that baby up,  and then put it in the oven. (I haven’t baked bread since Girl Scouts, but probably that’s roughly the sequence of events?)

  1. The Dough: A thought that makes you laugh and feels truthful, even in its lumpy form.
  2. The Rolling Pin: Give it a set up and a punchline.
  3. The oven: Put some hashtags on it so it becomes part of a larger conversation.
  4. Feed bread to strangers on the internet: See how people respond. If people reply to you, that may be an opportunity to add tags to your initial joke! You know you’ve made a fun tweet when other members of the Twitterverse dive in and play with you.

Okay, so that’s how you get inspired. But what form will your tweet take? Here are a few genres of tweet that may slay:

  • Internal monologues, especially when written like a script:

  • Comparisons (again, this is really good show vs. tell):

  • Comparisons (again, this is really good show vs. tell):

  • Captions: Some photos just beg for elaboration.

  • Honest, sardonic, sad, socially responsive tweets, such as the constant gifts that Aparna Nancherla bestows upon the Twitterverse. I don’t know what to call the “genre” here, so I’m making Aparna her own genre. Read her tweets and you will see why.

Since I’ve got you here, let’s talk about how to structure a Twitter joke. The additional characters mean that you can express yourself more naturally, without resorting to letter-words (u c what i mean?) and awkward abbreviations. Say it out loud a couple of times before you tweet it to make sure the reader can hear your voice, as if you were performing the tweet live.

You don’t have italics, but you can convey timing and expression with all-caps, some-caps, and no-caps, as well as with too much or too little punctuation. Voilá, all-caps as a stand-in for yelling:

And lack of punctuation to indicate utter resignation:

Sometimes it’s funnier — I can’t explain why — to just dispense with punctuation altogether, or to just not really end a sentence because you ran out of craps

Hashtags are another modern-day form of punctuation you can play with. Feeling the urge to tweet, but not the inspiration? You don’t have to come to Twitter with a brilliant idea. You can roll up to it with a wide-open, blank brain. See what news events and hashtags are trending, and treat that as a brainstorm extravaganza!

For instance, as I write this, #NationalBowtieDay is trending, which reminds me of my friend’s dad, who always wears bowties. He is a classy gent. That, in turn, reminds me of how people have stopped having manners and being classy. Makes me think of…. Okay…. Here is the lumpy dough version of my future tweet:

Bowties are about class and a type of man* who is rare in this day and age.

That feels truthful to me, but it’s kind of a lumpy thought. I need to knead it. Here’s the rolling-pin version, as I attempt to give it a set-up and punchline.

I dedicate this #NationalBowtieDay to the men out there who know themselves well enough to say, Hey. I’m just gonna spill ketchup on a tie anyway, so why not upgrade to a bowtie? To thine own self be true, gentlemen.

So I took the idea of respecting a man in a bowtie and asked myself, why do I respect this person? Well, maybe it’s because he’s a dork, and he knows he’s a dork, and he keeps it real with himself.

But this tweet is not ready for the oven yet. It needs to be shorter. Trying again:

I dedicate this #NationalBowtieDay to the men out there who spilled ketchup on their ties so often that they just. stopped. wearing them. Knowledge is power, gentlemen. To thine own selves, be true.

Okay! I like that! It keeps my initial idea of “classiness” intact by including old timey sayings like “knowledge is power” and my amended Shakespeare quote: “To thine own self, be true.” It honors the initial germ of the thought that men who wear bowties are kind of going against the grain and being a little subversive by not wearing ties, yet still managing to be old-fashioned and more classy than the times require.

I put a couple of periods in there (“just. stopped. wearing”) because I want you to hear how I would read it aloud. Now that I’ve put my tweet in the oven and shared it with the strangers of the Twitterverse to see how they receive it! If I get some funny gifs back, I will definitely retweet them because I am obsessed with a well-placed gif.

Here’s the tweet I made just for you! See how it fares! Twitter is live theater, folks, so I make no promises:

Your turn! Tweet your funny-ified thoughts to the world and mention us, @goldcomedy, so we can share in the fun you are creating!

*Womyn and genderfluid folx also wear bowties. Sometimes they wear the BEST bowties. For the purposes of my tweet, I am focusing on the traveling-salesman image of an old-timey gent in a bowtie.


Read Emma’s bio.