Mini Q+A with Emily Winter

Emily Winter has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” TV Land, Fusion TV, Glamour, and The Barnes & Noble Review. She’s an NBC Late Night Writers Workshop script judge, and co-creator of WHAT A JOKE, a nationwide comedy festival that raised more than $50K for the ACLU in 2017. Emily’s standup has been featured on SiriusXM, and she’s performed at SF SketchFest, Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, The Limestone Comedy Festival, and others. She runs two Time Out Critics’ Pick comedy shows in Brooklyn: BackFat Variety and Side Ponytail, and hosts a podcast that reached #1 in Podomatic training podcasts, HOW TO PRODUCE LIVE COMEDY. Her work has been profiled on The TODAY Show, The AV Club, Buzzfeed, Lifehacker, The Miami New Times, Bustle, someecards, The Boston Globe and others.


Favorite response to a heckler or troll?

When I was still pretty new in comedy, I told a bad male heckler, “You’re so hot. Too bad you’re an a**hole.” The room lit up, and I was really proud of myself because I still was insecure on stage. That moment gave me a lot of confidence.

Describe your worst gig.

I was once bumped from a show in Miami because a person in a rabbit costume wanted to do spoken word. That hurt.

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

Be kind, but do what you want.

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

Life without standup comedy felt a little bit like I was floating through New York City, desperate for meaning, attention, and purpose. Standup comedy changed all that. It gave me goals and a very concrete reason to get up, get out, and work.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Punch up, not down.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Don’t wear dresses. (I’ll wear what I want!)

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

It got me a job once! I made my former boss, a book packager, laugh during my interview, and he said he hired me to come up with book ideas because he liked my sense of humor.

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

Just keep plugging away. I know it’s so hard to hear. But when you get better, unfortunately YOU’LL be the first to notice. It’ll take some time for the rest of the world to catch on. So keep writing new jokes and weaving them into tried and true material to broaden your set while also showcasing your skills.

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

I wrote my first standup joke after enduring a physical assault. I’d always wanted to try standup, but I never NEEDED to try it until I was depressed and desperate for an outlet for my sadness, rage, and my joke about it all. I’m not glad that the assault happened, but I’m glad I made lemons into lemonade.

 


Emily Winter has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” TV Land, Fusion TV, Glamour, and The Barnes & Noble Review. She’s an NBC Late Night Writers Workshop script judge, and co-creator of WHAT A JOKE, a nationwide comedy festival that raised more than $50K for the ACLU in 2017. Emily’s standup has been featured on SiriusXM, and she’s performed at SF SketchFest, Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, The Limestone Comedy Festival, and others. She runs two Time Out Critics’ Pick comedy shows in Brooklyn: BackFat Variety and Side Ponytail, and hosts a podcast that reached #1 in Podomatic training podcasts, HOW TO PRODUCE LIVE COMEDY. Her work has been profiled on The TODAY Show, The AV Club, Buzzfeed, Lifehacker, The Miami New Times, Bustle, someecards, The Boston Globe and others.

Photo credit: Phil Provencio

Stay GOLDen

Sign up for our newsletters