Tag Archives: NC comedy

Nikki & Sara Live… for real!

13 Apr

You guys! I got to meet Sara Schaefer and Nikki Glaser and it was awesome!

They performed at UNC last week along with Lewis Black and J.R. Havlin.

Lewis Black performs stand-up all over the US, but most people know him from The Daily ShowJ.R. Havlin is a writer for The Daily Show and Sara Schaefer and Nikki Glaser host their own show on MTV (Nikki & Sara Live). It was a pretty impressive line-up.

nikki and sara 05

When my mom heard that I met successful comedians who have jobs and get paid, (something I’m not sure she believes actually exists) she was thrilled. “That’s great! These things are a great networking opportunity.”

Yes, mom …in theory.

My friend, who knows me better, had a better grasp of the situation and just laughed in my face. “Was it a catastrophe?” she asked, already knowing full well that it was.

For any other person, meeting these two comics would have been a great networking opportunity. When they say to “make a memorable impression”, however, I am pretty sure they don’t mean “make that person fear for their life.”

Friend: It probably wasn’t as bad as you think.

Me: At one point, I told Sara Schaefer that I stalked her on the Internet.

Friend: Yikes.

I am mega-awkward, you guys.

People throw the word “awkward” around a lot. Everyone claims that they are soooo awkward, but in the end they rarely have the stories to back it up.

Allow me to explain the difference:

awkward versus normal

And it’s cool. I make it work. While I don’t flourish in social situations, usually I can pass for a normal human person. If I maintain a stoic front, no one knows that inside, my internal dialogue consists only of a sustained scream.

But when I’m around people I like or respect, it all goes to shit.

To help you better understand, I made another chart:

meeting someone I like or respect

So, basically, I’m not at my best around people I look up to.

During their time at UNC, Nikki and Sara did a panel discussion in the afternoon… to which I arrived late. I tried to get there on time, but  parking in Chapel Hill is a hellish nightmare and I had to park on the side of a mountain which was forever away from the main campus . And because we are experiencing such BEAUTIFUL sunny weather, I looked like a bedraggled swamp monster by the time I got there. I spent most of the panel trying to bring my body temperature down to an acceptable level (i.e. whatever level that would allow me to stop sweating like a maniac).

Afterwards, Sara and Nikki stuck around a little bit to talk to people. They were both incredibly gracious and thanked us all for coming, and we all went our separate ways.

Except en route to my car, I realized Nikki and Sara were also walking toward Franklin St. and I was

Remember: When meeting new people- it is important to respect their boundaries.

Remember: When meeting new people- it is important to respect their boundaries.

inadvertently shadowing them (like a stalker).

In an effort to appear like less of a creeper, I attempted to make small-talk with Sara Schaefer.

It was a disaster.

At this point, I wasn’t just battling innate bashfulness, I was coping with a colossal caffeine high. My three cups of coffee had finally decided to kick in.

I wasn’t just making awkward small-talk—I was doing it at the speed of light!

I cannot stress how nice she was. She answered all my questions and talked with me the whole way to Franklin St. She deserves a medal because I don’t even think I was speaking words at one point.

My favorite part was when she asked what college I went to.

Me: Oh– uh, Guilford Greensboro.

Don’t bother googling that college.

It doesn’t exist.

Friend: You couldn’t remember what college you went to?

Me: I mean… I remembered. I was just having trouble …speaking words.

Friend: Wow. She probably thought she was talking to a stroke victim.

The next day, when Brittany (my awesome UNC friend who hooked me up with tickets to everything) invited me to talk with the comedians after the show, I declined. I was grateful for my previous encounter with the two comics and I knew I hadn’t gotten any better at being an adult within the past 24 hours.

Not only did I successfully steal this poster, they both signed it. Victory!

Not only did I successfully steal this poster, they both signed it. Victory!

Instead, I went upstairs to steal a poster so I would have a souvenir of the performance. As I was busy working poster off the wall, the door beside me opened and all the comics who performed came filing through.

In an effort to stave off a panic attack, I chose to throw all my focus behind stealing this poster–which is a brilliant plan: “Don’t mind me, I’m just stealing things...”

Recognizing me from yesterday, Nikki Glaser came over and offered to sign the poster– because she is a super nice person.

I honestly have no idea what I said– or if I said anything, but I do know that I flattened myself against the wall like a scared injured bird.

Me: [head in hands] I shouldn’t be allowed around people. It’s always a disaster.

Friend: Well, surely being able to talk to people in your field won’t be a skill you need in the future.

Me: I hate you.

Yes, I am a graceless idiot and this might sound like a tragic mis-adventure, but that weekend was totally a win.

In my life, awesome things are just inextricably entwined with awkwardness. That is just how it is.

Ultimately, I got to meet and talk to two ladies I like and respect.

I’m not only a huge fan, I’m incredibly indebted to them.

They helped me get better at comedy.

When I’m in a creative slump, it helps me to look to people who are doing what I want to do. If it’s trouble with writing, I turn to writers for advice. When I am struggling with comedy, I turn to comedians. Nikki and Sara are part of that creative crew that I turn to when I’m feeling discouraged.

I’ve watched Glaser in A Day in the Life of a Female Comedian about twenty times, read Schaefer’s Advice to a Young Comedian (& Myself), watched their stand-up clips, and listened to them on podcasts talking about their own struggles with comedy. It’s been incredibly helpful and made whatever problem I was facing seem much more manageable.

It is also encouraging to see them succeed.

They have turned writing and being funny into a career. I basically want to be them when I grow up (which, I know, is a weird statement to hear from a 28 year old… and it is possible that Nikki Glaser might actually be younger than me… but, whatever, NEVER MIND THAT!).

The point is, meeting them was awesome.

I’ll never forget it.

(Although, I fervently pray that they have no recollection of me whatsoever.)

carpe diem bitches

Hey, remember January?

19 Mar

January was a pretty great month.

My calendar looked like this:

2013-02-01_02-44-18_587

(The circles are shows. There are a lot. Which is awesome and makes me want to do awesome air kicks all day.)

I also got invited to do my first podcast.

Why haven’t I posted about the podcast until now?

Because I am hilariously bad at self-promotion!

Anyway, in January, I sat down with Michelle Maclay and John Sideris to be interviewed for their podcast, “Small Town Funny.” It was mega-fun and made me feel like a professional comedian.

Michelle and John are two local NC comedians that I have performed with and have often (graciously) included me in some of the shows they run. “Small Town Funny” is a pretty cool little podcast that interviews comedians and asks them about their writing/creative process and how they come up with jokes.

The discussion, of course, wanders to other topics.

My episode talks about Armenians, my strange academic career, what goes into producing a show, and the virtues of Greek people. Everyone is hilarious on the episode and merriment is had by all.

We recorded the episode at Michelle’s- but “Small Town Funny” is moving into an actual recording studio. WCOM 103.5 will start broadcasting “Small Town Funny” in the coming weeks (because this podcast is legit and cannot be stopped!).

Anyhoo- listen to my episode. You can go to the site and check it out (or download it on iTunes).

Afterwards, you should leave a comment.

Just know, that it will be hard to top the first comment:

Picture 1Thank you, Sir Walter Raleigh. You are doing everything right.

Holy smokes, you guys! Awesome news!

2 Feb

April-Richardson

This is April Richardson.

She is a writer/performer on Chelsea Lately.

She is also one of the featured comics of the 2013 North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival.

Picture 2

Every time she is on Chelsea Lately, she is hilarious. Her stand-up is wonderful and she has shared the stage with some pretty amazing comics.

Basically, everyone should be super psyched she is in this year’s festival.

But, WAIT! IT GETS SO MUCH BETTER!

I’ve also been lucky enough to be performing in this year’s festival. After one of my shows, I was approached and asked if I wanted to open for April Richardson.

At first, I just thought I had misheard and I was just experiencing some sort of wonderful/euphoric fever dream.

It turns out- that conversation actually happened!

whaaaaa

Here is proof!

So now, I am one of the comics opening for April Richardson.

I am mega-pumped! (Seriously! I have never used so many exclamation points in my life!)

If you are in/around Chapel Hill/Carrboro tonight, you should come out and see some awesome comedy.

It will be a blinding brilliant light of awesome.

hoorayJENNY CHALIKIAN, MATT D, APRIL RICHARDSON

9pm @ DSI (200 N Greensboro St./Carrboro, NC 27510)

Tickets are $14 ($10 for students)

(order tickets online)

Ultimate Comic Challenge (part 2 of 2)

20 Nov

Not only did I create a series of mediocre posters for the UCC, each challenger had a flyer personally made for them.

This was, of course, completely unsolicited on the part of my fellow comedians.

I don’t know why, though. These flyers are completely AWESOME.

Comedians tend to be critical of themselves (or simply consumed with self-loathing). There aren’t many opportunities to revel in being super awesome. Hence- the flyers.

Despite being super ridiculous (Especially Troy and Leo. I am so sorry!), it was my tiny tribute to the comics.

I’ve become friends with most of the comics that were in the semi-finals. They are a bunch of really great and really talented guys.

They have made my time in comedy a lot of fun.

So, here are some of my favorites.

Ultimate Comic Challenge (part 1 of 2)

20 Nov

Idiot Box is my favorite comedy venue in Greensboro. It’s downtown and nestled comfortably between five bars. Plus it is one of the few places where you can get paid to do shows.

FUN FACT: Comedians love alcohol and money!

Every year, Idiot Box hosts the Ultimate Comic Challenge. Comics compete in a tournament to be the Ultimate Comic. The final round takes place in the Carolina Theater (which is pretty dope) and the winner gets $1000 dollars.

That is so many dollars!

In the rounds leading up to the final round, the comic who gets the most votes not only goes on to the next round- they get $50.

FUN FACT: $50 dollars in Comedian World is, like, $200 dollars! (We are notoriously bad with money, you guys!).

Last year, I only made it past the first round. I had only been doing comedy for six months so I counted it as a victory.

This year, I made it to the semi-finals which was a great experience… and an even greater victory.

“12 comics compete to make you laugh… and then you decide their fate like some sort of depraved emperor.”

The comics in this year’s competition were much better than last year. All of the shows were great because all of the comics were great.

If I had been competing against this year’s line-up last year- I wouldn’t have even made it past the first round.

My set was notably better than last year as well.

It’s nice to have moments where you see that you are moving forward. There are more fails than successes on stage. Progress is hard to measure and it is aggravatingly slow. So it is incredibly refreshing have tangible evidence that you are getting better (and that all the horrible/awkward moments on stage are worth it).

Unfortunately for everyone, the day before the UCC Semi-finals, I had way too much time on my hands and flooded Facebook with UCC posters I made on Paint.

(Paint. Not MS Paint or even a cheap knock-off of Photoshop- Paint. It is free to download and it crashes if you try anything fancy- hence the incredibly pedestrian look of all the posters are sporting.)

Alas, I did not make it past the semi-finals but I ain’t fussed! The audience was packed and the show was awesome from start to finish.

(And if I continue on my current trajectory, I’m going to smoke the competition next year.

The finals will be at the Carolina Theater on January 25th.