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.

 

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.

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The 10 funniest “Saturday Night Live” sketches starring women

Many a super-famous comedian has been launched into the big leagues by the legendary Saturday Night Live. But our favorite SNL *cough* female comedians *cough* don’t always get the recognition they deserve. From Gilda Radner to Cecily Strong, the women of SNL have set themselves apart as the queens of sketch comedy. Break out the popcorn and rosé for what I think are the top ten SNL sketches starring badass women. (If you think I’ve missed one, throw a piece of popcorn at me and tweet it at @GOLDcmdy!)

1. Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna

If only all commencement speeches went something like this…

2. Kate McKinnon in Actress Roundtable

Host Margot Robbie couldn’t even wait until she was off camera to give McKinnon the laughs she so deserved.

3.Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

There’s no comedy chemistry like best friends playing worst enemies.

4. Kristen Wiig as the Target Lady

Classic Peg!

5. Bronx Beat with Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler

Let’s face it. We all know a few moms like Betty and Jodi.

6. Ana Gasteyer as Martha Stewart

Ana Gasteyer has Martha Stewart’s real recipe for success.

7. Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer

*Cue sad trombone sound effects*

8. Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong in Asian-American Dolls

Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong push the envelope in the pushiest way.

9. Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher

Aren’t we all Mary Katherine Gallagher?

10. Jane Curtin on Weekend Update

Aaaaaaaaand the buttons come off!

 

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Kaitlin Goldin is a student, writer, actress, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area. She is currently a junior at Marin Academy in San Rafael, and she is credited with such historic events as creating the internet, finding the cure to polio, and discovering the classic combination of Oreos and peanut butter. She also enjoys long, romantic walks on the beach and monster trucks and all that crap.

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