Q+A Archives - GOLD Comedy

Hollie Harper has the perfect response to hecklers

Hollie Harper is a writer/songwriter/director/comedian from Cape May, New Jersey. She has a Bachelors in Fine Arts for acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University, formerly the Goodman School of Drama. Her plays/short films have been in the Samuel French One Act Play Festival, the Denver Pan African Film Festival and Urbanworld Film Festival.

She’s written and produced 12 romantic comedies and created the sketch group, AMERICAN CANDY in 2009. She has taken it to Gotham Comedy Club, Comic Strip, BAM Café, the Greene Space, and has had 45 original productions of her sold out show. 


Describe your worst gig.

My sketch group performed for a local lawmaker’s inauguration where they basically talked and walked around the whole performance. I was pissed…..and it was TWO HOURS PAST SCHEDULE.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll? 

(listens and nods)….uh huh…. GIRL SHUDDUP!!!

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

I was silly as hell. I had goals to be a comedic actress not ever realizing it was sketch because NO Black women were on SNL…but Whoopi Goldberg and Tracey Ullman were beacons of light

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

I guess your mom wasn’t funny because NO ONE with a funny mother says that.

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

My ideas. I had some dark days and the ideas in my head that made me laugh always kept me going….I wanted to live JUST to see my ideas come to light.

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

It a hell of a lot better than the 90’s when I started…I’m old but I look good, lol

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Create the sketches YOU want to see…that is the ONLY way they will be good.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Stop telling stories

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

When I was a waitress my funny bone got me great tips and being funny all my life helps me make friends easily.

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

Tracey Ullman and Whoopi Goldberg….sorry there were two.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

It’s cool…feels 80’s but I bow down to those women from the 80’s. Bette Midler did a half a dozen movies that were long form sketch comedies.

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

Do whatever the fuck you want and cut people off that don’t get you….they will slowly have you distrusting your comedic voice….trust me from experience!

What single word always cracks you up?

FUCKOUTTAHERE


Connect with Hollie on Twitter.

Sophie Zucker’s math teacher inspired her to do comedy

Sophie Zucker is a comedian, living in Brooklyn. She’s currently starring as Abby on Apple TV’s Dickinson, opposite Hailee Steinfeld. She is also a writer on the show. Sophie has performed original work at Joe’s Pub, Union Hall, The Duplex, Littlefield, Brooklyn Comedy Collective, Second City, UCB, Vital Joint, and Annoyance NY and trained at most of those places, too. Other favorite TV/Film credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; the Mindy Kaling feature Late Night, and Comedy Central’s The Other Two. She also had a monthly show with her all-female comedy collective Ladies Who Ranch at Union Hall. 


Describe your worst gig.

A variety show I did in between a friend’s birthday party. I had rushed there from the party and had to bolt as soon as my bit was over, so I was stressed and not present. I ended up doing an outrageous character that bombed, which is the worst kind of bombing because you’re stuck in whatever crazy hair and makeup you’re in, and there’s no way to walk it back. I felt extra bad because another friend’s parents had come to see me, and all I could think when I was playing to silence was them going back to her and being like, “Sophie is a professional comedian? Are you sure?”

Favorite response to a heckler or troll? 

This wasn’t my move, but I saw incredible comic Meaghan Strickland once turn her entire set into interviewing a relentless heckler and it was brilliant. Hecklers usually don’t want THAT much attention, so she was able to make him uncomfortable (instead of the reverse), but putting a spotlight on him. That was probably my favorite.

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

As a teen, I loved any kind of attention – positive or negative. I wasn’t necessarily into Comedy Proper, but I loved making my friends laugh (either with me or at me), and I did love performing (musical theater lol). So, all the pieces were there.

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

That that person is probably ancient? I don’t know, I’ve never heard someone blatantly say that except for maybe some reply-guy dad in my mentions, who should probably be taking care of his kids?

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

The friends I made! Comedy is a communal art-form, whether you’re collaborating with people on projects or seeing the same people at shows and mics. It’s really social. I lean into that because I’m an extrovert, and shutting down the bar with my friend Maya on a Wednesday is truly my version of taking care of myself. So even when I was feeling about my career professionally, I knew I could always turn it around just by hanging with my funny friends in the back of a bar-show. Actually, the night I found out my grandma died, I still went and did a friend’s improv show because I knew it would make me feel better!! And it did!!!!!

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Your job is not to book, your job is to provide a consistent body of work. All that really means is focus on your art, not the success of your art, and the success will come.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Someone told me if I wanted to write for TV, the best and fastest way to do it was to get an assistant job in the industry. So I got an assistant job and I got fired (but I’m still a TV writer).

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

In high school, I got called a slut like every day of the week. A normal person would’ve been mortified but me, being the budding character actor I was, just adopted it as part of my personality 🙂

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

My high school math teacher once told me I had great comedic timing. I think I was probably trying to argue my way out of a D in AP AB Calc.

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

Being ironically detached from your art is boring and overdone. You chose this career. Commit!


Connect with Sophie on Instagram and Twitter.

Carolanne Miljavac is living out her comedy dreams

Carolanne is a comedian and author of  She Laughs: Choosing Faith Over Fear which talks about looking on the bright side of life in the face of poverty and grief, and how you can too! Carolanne has cultivated a massive online presence across multiple social media platforms as well as performing live stand up. She is married with three kids residing in Saint Joseph, MO.


Describe your worst gig.

Fortunately, I’m new enough that I haven’t experienced anything too terrible just yet, but I did have a show with a random 10 year old boy in the front row. Really threw off my stripper bit.

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

I was always the group goof performing skits for friends, providing comedic relief in tense situations, and the self depreciation queen to hide my own insecurity. But comedy as a profession was nothing more than a daydream. I didn’t think I’d ever have enough courage to pursue it as a career, although I thought about it every day.

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

Never give up on your gift.

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

Just kick them in their tiny balls right then and there.

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

Support from family and friends, faith, and a promise I made to say yes to every opportunity I’m given in life after losing my 7 year old niece to cancer.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Get comfortable in moments of silence. I used to feel like I was failing if my audience wasn’t laughing every few seconds.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Memorize your set. The more I think the worse I perform. You gotta trust in your ability to be witty and unplanned.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Dead silent death stare.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

It’s spelled wrong.

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

It’s like making people laugh for a living, while also being a woman.

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

It has helped to lift people up in times of struggle, bring people together in times of divide, and provide a much needed relief from the worries of the world. As long as you have the ability to laugh, there’s hope for joy in your future.

Was there one person who inspired you to go into comedy? If so: who?

Gilda Radner. She was just so goofy, fun, and unafraid to be just plain ridiculous. I admired her ability to be unapologetically silly as a little girl either getting laughed at or told she’s “too much.”

What single word always cracks you up?

Cooter….especially when followed with poot.

 

Connect with Carolanne this Friday, Feburary 19th for a live show! Get tickets here. 

Kat Radley knows how to identify douche bags

Kat Radley is currently a staff writer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Her debut comedy album, “The Important Thing Is That I’m Pretty” with Uproar Entertainment premiered at #4 on the iTunes Comedy Charts. Kat has also appeared on FOX’s Laughs, and has made multiple appearances in many prestigious festivals such as The Laughing Skull, World Series of Comedy, and Women in Comedy Festival. She performed at the premiere Berlin Comedy Festival and has also toured Europe.

She is currently based in New York City.


Describe your worst gig.

There are so many. It is hard to choose just one. I did do a show at a Pizza Parlor while a children’s birthday party was going on and it was still light outside. Turns out seven-year-olds are not my target audience.

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

Holy shit! Time travel DOES exist! What year have you traveled from, sir?

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

Knowing that there was absolutely nothing else I would rather do, so I had no choice.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

The people who don’t quit are the ones that make it.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

“You’re not ready to move to LA.” (I went anyway).

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Hey! My dad IS here!

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

It’s a quick way to identify douche bags.

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

Just keep going.


Connect with Kat on Instagram and Twitter.

If you reject Christiana Mbakwe you’ll regret it

Christiana is a Brit in the U.S. , and a graduate of Columbia Journalism School. She has written for outlets such as the Baltimore Sun, Foreign Policy and Complex. She is currently a staff writer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 


Describe your worst gig.

Pregnancy. Nausea every day for 10 months, sciatica and it was unpaid. Kid was great so it all worked out thankfully.

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

Precocious, self-assured and voted “most controversial” by my sixth form.

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

Love God, love people and grab on to joy wherever you can find it.

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

I really don’t know because the first thing people tend to notice is that I’m black.

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

My (very Nigerian) belief that anyone who rejects me is an idiot and will one day regret it.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Be patient.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

Shut the f*** up

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

The most important words are what you call yourself.

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

When you make people laugh (especially strangers), it loosens a lot of the tension that comes with being around a new person. I’ve found in the corona world where we’re all wearing masks and trust is at an all-time low, it’s made life a lot easier.

What single word always cracks you up?

Bayang. Especially when preceded by the words “not the.”


 

CeCe Pleasants had a Walt Whitman poster as a teen

CeCe Pleasants has been a professional TV comedy variety writer and producer for a very long time. She can’t tell you exactly how long, because then people will find out how old she is and she will be tossed off a roof by Ryan Seacrest. This is the law of Hollywood. She has written for many shows you haven’t heard of, and some you have. She wrote on MXC, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Bill Nye Saves the World, and she was the co-head writer of Wipeout for three seasons. She has been nominated for some WGA awards and two Emmys. She has won zero times. She currently writes topical comedy for The Late Late Show with James Corden


Describe your worst gig.

I was the only woman on a show and the emcee introduced me thus: “And now, a girl!” (He did not say my name.)

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

The two posters in my room in high school were of Walt Whitman and a cow, so maybe I was unintentionally funny.

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

That’s why I keep wood chips shoved in my vagina so the jokes don’t fall out.

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

Fear. Desperation. My Mom. Love of comedy. In that order.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Be yourself. Don’t be afraid of your own voice.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

You have to be unhappy to be funny.

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

Please address that question to my tits.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

No. Hard pass.

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

Tons of free subs.

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

I had this very celebrated dance teacher in musical theater school named Harry Woolever. He told me, “You’ll never really be a dancer, but you’re very funny. You should do comedy.”

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

Learn that it’s okay for some people not to like you! Learn it early! Learn it often!

What single word always cracks you up?

Farts!


Connect with CeCe on Instagram and Twitter.

Jenn Welch wants you to lean into the bomb

Host Jenn Welch (Cosmo, Washington Post, The AV Club, @DeadDadTinder, lady with ADHD) coined the term “LadyHD” 12 years ago when she was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 28 and then she got distracted and then two years ago she realized it was the perfect title for a podcast and now here she is, making a podcast. Join her each week for funny, meandering, honest chats with all sorts of ladies with ADHD. It’s a weekly celebration of ladies with high-def brains.


Describe your worst gig.

A rowdy pub at midnight on a Friday in a brightly lit back room with no stage. It ended up being a ten minute conversation between me and the only person paying attention: a woman who questioned every premise before I could finish a joke.

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

I was a very late bloomer who used comedy to make up for her lack of boobs.

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

They aren’t worth my time.

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

I spent my twenties *not* doing comedy. No matter how bad a set goes, it can never be as bad as that.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Record your sets and listen to them!! Immediately!! Use those recordings to rewrite!!

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Never sit on the stool.

Favorite heckler or troll?

I love sharing a good silent beat with the audience before moving on with my set.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

It’s fancy dumb.

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

It’s definitely helped me process a lot of dark stuff. I think I wrote five minutes of material just observing people at my dad’s funeral.

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

Lean into the bomb.

What single word always cracks you up?

Oboe.


Connect with Jenn on Instagram and Twitter.

And don’t forget to check out her new podcast, LadyHD! Follow along on Instagram and Twitter.

 

marcia belsky

Marcia Belsky is funnier than all those boys in high school

Marcia Belsky is a New York City based stand-up comedian, writer, and musician. She co-wrote Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical with Melissa Stokoski in 2018, which played in New York City and Brooklyn, as well as in Washington D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Recently her musical comedy was featured on Comedy Central’s Taking The Stage, which included her hit song “100 Tampons.”


Describe your worst gig.

Probably the small town gigs in Oregon, anywhere where I have to do comedy in the middle of a bar while TVs are on.

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

As a kid I was obsessed with musical theater and as a teen I was pretending like that wasn’t the case — I think I was already funny but also probably annoying as hell.

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

They probably don’t think women are funny because they don’t like women or a world that they’re not used to — I just try to starve them of attention or reaction and am happy to be in a community that doesn’t feel that way.

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

It was the only thing I knew I would never quit because I got to be in charge. I think trying to focus on the work and not on the reward helps me stick with it but it can be hard.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Build your own audience and it doesn’t matter who doesn’t get you, only who does.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Any advice that is focused on the hustle and churning out content rather than creative quality.

Favorite heckler or troll?

Someone made an account called Fartcia Smellsky and kept tweeting at me.

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Hate the word comedienne, almost always used by a man in his 50s who is 5 seconds away from booping you on the nose.

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

Probably every boy in high school who I would watch absolutely crush and I would think “I am funnier than him.”

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

I always wanted to be consistently funny. I think making a career out of honing that is interesting because now when I’m at parties people find out that I’m a comedian and I feel like I need to tone it down or everyone thinks I’m performing.

What single word always cracks you up?

Butt.


Connect with Marcia on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Not that long ago, Taylor Garron was “homely and strange”

Taylor Garron is a comedian, writer, and actress based in Brooklyn, NY. She has edited at The Onion and Reductress, and her writing has been featured in The New Yorker, Vulture, NY Mag, and on Adult Swim. She has also been featured at The Satire and Humor Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest, Women in Comedy Festival, and on Comedy Central. Watch for her book, co-written with Eva Victor: Look I Bought Plants: And Other Poems about Life and Stuff, coming May 2021!


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

I was homely and strange and an overachiever. And the kind of peer abuse that comes with that is the kind of shit makes you funny.

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

Don’t be funny for anyone else, be funny for yourself. It’ll show!

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

My eyes roll back into my skull and I involuntarily begin chanting in tongues.

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

Continuously reminding myself that I was doing this because I enjoyed it, not because it was going to make me famous.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

To make friends who were on my same level and don’t try to network up. Your immediate peers are the ones who will cheer you on/read your pilot/go to your bar shows when you’re starting out. They’re also the ones who will pull you up with them when the time comes.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

That I had to go to a bunch of daytime open mics at those weird comedy clubs around NYU to get any stage time. They didn’t do anything for me, they weren’t fun, and I got sexually harassed a bunch by the mostly (deeply unfunny) male hosts and open micers. All kinds of not worth it!

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

I studied French in high school and college, so it appeals to that side of me. I feel like anyone who calls me a comedienne should immediately have to hand me a croque-madame.

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

Being able to disarm people in conversations by being lighthearted off-the-bat or making a joke at my own expense is great for making friends and making people people feel comfortable around me. It also makes customer service people and baristas and servers more inclined to hook you up with freebies or break a policy for you, which is sick.

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

It’s the same thing as being a man in comedy except you’re much hotter.

What single word always cracks you up?

Fart, especially if said in a Boston accent. How could it not?


Connect with Taylor on Instagram.

 

Milly Tamarez HOT TAKE: Star Wars is irrelevant and unnecessary

Milly Tamarez is a stand up, and writer based out of Brooklyn, New York. She has written for NPR, Buzzfeed, Reductress, MTV, BRIC, and worked on a collaboration with HBO and The Root. She has been featured on Thrillist, Vice, BET, Flama, Above Average, Univision, and Comedy Central.   She is the one of the creators and producers of Flexx (a satire magazine for people of color) and Diverse as Fuck Festival a festival that highlights diversity in comedy. Milly is also one of the founders of the all women of color improv team Affirmative Action. Her work has been featured in Vulture, Bushwick Daily,The Daily Dot, HelloGiggles, Galore Magazine, Adweek, and CodeBlack Report. Milly can be seen performing at theaters and venues across NYC.


Describe your worst gig.

I did a comedy show after sabbath at an orthodox Jewish family sleep away camp. A dozen men were vaping at the same time. I said the word “underwear” and there were multiple groans.

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

Outgoing and silly, I loved the TV show “Jackass” and swimming in the pool. I was funny but no goals of being a comedian.

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

Find the right balance between curating your online persona while being vulnerable and real.

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

They have no sense of humor.

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

Having a community of peers that I enjoyed being around.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Overnight sensations are 10 years in the making.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

You must watch “Star Wars” if you wanna do improv.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

“Wait a second, who ARE you?”

Feelings about the word “comedienne”?

Whatever helps you sleep at night.

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

I have many aspects of myself and there were a ton of different people who spoke to those different parts of me. I would say the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” was fun for me as a kid. I know. It’s a lot.

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

Humor helps me process traumatic situations and show the ridiculousness of political / pop culture events through satire.

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

Scary, overwhelming and empowering all at once.

What single word always cracks you up?

Calling someone a “bozo.”


Connect with Milly on Instagram and Twitter.