Mini Q+A with…Jena Friedman

Jena Friedman is a stand up comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker. She is currently a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer and has worked as a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and written for Late Show with David Letterman. Her critically acclaimed stand up special, American Cunt, is now available on Amazon. Follow her.

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

I wasn’t able to do anything else. It was like an addiction.

What advice do you have for leveling up from open mics to shows?

Start your own weekly or monthly show, hustle to get audiences there, and build your own scene.

Describe your worst gig.

It was when I first started stand up, a guy shouted a really lewd comment at me and I just walked off stage. I’ve gotten better at dealing with hecklers since then.

Favorite response to a heckler or troll now?

“Hi mom.”

How has being funny helped you in your offstage life?

I have found that in almost every situation humor really helps defuse tension and bring people together.

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

My college advisor. She encouraged me to write my senior thesis on improv comedy. I don’t think I would have ever realized comedy could be a viable career choice if I hadn’t studied it first.

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

Better than it ever used to be!

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

Just do it.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

To not wear high heels onstage. I don’t usually, but either way, it doesn’t matter.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

A manager once told me to “just do it.” He was probably quoting his sneakers because his company dropped me shortly thereafter, but it still resonates.


Jena Friedman is a stand up comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker. She is currently a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer and has worked as a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and written for Late Show with David Letterman. Her critically acclaimed stand up special, American Cunt, is now available on Amazon. Follow her.


Read Cassandra’s bio here.