How to Suck Less at … Being Funny in the Nude

The “How to Suck Less” series wasn’t a series until we realized that to suck a little less, we should make it one. And so we have. Chesscrafting masks, skateboarding and monsters are just a few of the activities we’ve covered so far.

I actually didn’t like stand-up until I was 27. And strangely, right when I started, Trump got elected. But I was born an artist and actually went to school for cartoons. Looking back on my life, however, I was always a comic. My mom was obsessed with clowns and decorated our apartment full of them when I was growing up.

So maybe that’s why I always made people laugh. I was the class clown my whole life, and I loved to laugh and be silly. Seeing Eric Andre in 2016 convinced me to try the mic. So I did, and I hit my first open mic at the Helium Comedy Club in Portland. 

I often feel that yelling, arguing, being super angry, fighting and so on is hilarious. Anger is a well full of the best shit. But I’m autistic, which means I’m too neurodivergent for normal jobs, so it had to be comedy. Or art. I got my BFA degree, so it’s clear: I was never going to do anything dull or standard anyway.

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I mean, I’m not normal. My mom is silly, but I wouldn’t say she was particularly funny. And my dad, who wasn’t around? Yeah, I guess he gave me the gift of humor. I mean, he tried being funny.

My biggest show so far has been with George Perez, so I’m on my way. Besides which, this is a good time for comics. My top two comedians right now are Bill Burr and Eric Andre. I also love Theo Von, Tom Segura and Maria Bamford. Some comics at the Comedy Store, like Ron Taylor. And tons of fuckers on Instagram, like Kyle Dunnigan.

And the thing with being a female comic — or just being a woman, period — is that people have weird ideas no matter whether you look sexy or not. So the Comic Strip where we strip and tell jokes? Like trying to do two very hard things well at once. So I don’t need to disarm them by being miserable or self-deprecating. There are ways around the whole “you’re attractive” thing, and it’s not harder for me, actually, because I look this way or that way, or I am naked.

It’s easier. And I use it as much as I can to crush my counterparts who wouldn’t think twice about making it hard for me in this business. It doesn’t take away from my being funny. I just go onstage, pull my hair back and make faces. If you’re funny, you’ll last. And to get through cash dry spells? Get on OnlyFans!

But you want my take? Here’s my take!

HOW TO SUCK LESS AT … BEING FUNNY IN THE NUDE

1. When you’re starting out, find something that pains you. Once you do, turn it into something funny, but keep it trivial. Please don’t go up there and start unpacking your trauma like you’re in therapy. Do that shit when you’re 14 years in. 

2. Be professional. It doesn’t sound like it has a lot to do with being funny, but in comedy, we have no human resources department. Being professional when you don’t have to be goes a long way in this business. 

3. Be authentic. Be yourself. That means talk like you would offstage. 

4. You control the energy of the room. If you’re having fun, more often than not, the audience probably is too. If you’re nervous, or goofy, or whatever, everyone will feel what you feel. 

5. You’re never really done with a joke. Keep adding on tags and new ways to word stuff, if possible. I saw Bill Burr bring back a joke/story he told fucking 30 years ago. 

6. Don’t plant yourself at just one single club. Work all over the place and create content on a regular basis. 

7. Write relatable material, but make it something that’s specific to you and your story. I’ve seen so, so many jokes become parallel-thinking jokes … like, everyone is coming up with the same idea. 

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