Interview with Comedian Sarah Tollemache at New York Comedy Club

Joseph Santiago interviews comedians Sarah Tollemache at New York Comedy Club

Comedian Sarah Tollemache sat down with Joseph Santiago at the New York Comedy Club to discuss her thoughts on stand up comedy and so much more.

What was your process in developing this special?
I just did five minutes on TV but I had to make it clean and punchy and take out a lot of unnecessary words.

Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
I think I’ve gotten a lot cleaner and a little bit more comfortable on stage.

What happens if they don’t laugh?
I try to move on to the next joke and make it seem like it wasn’t a thing, but sometimes the audience just isn’t into your set and that’s when I move away from the set and try to engage with the audience to draw them in and then when they’ve warmed up to you I’ll try to go back to my set.

How often do you perform comedy per week?
On average probably once a night. Some nights are more jam packed and some not so much.

What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
I love The Stand and New York Comedy Club

How often do you write jokes?
At least once a day, but most aren’t good. I like Twitter so I”m always trying to think of something to put on Twitter.

When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?

When I started doing regular spots in NYC at the clubs.

How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?

I’ve always wanted to be a standup comic since I can remember. I remember repeating Eddie Murphy bits when I was in first grade.

What are the most important rules you live by?
It doesn’t have to be perfect right away. You can go back and fix it.

What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
Anything by Roald Dahl, particularly The Twits.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Keep going.

Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
Hanging with friends, working out and going outside and keeping busy.

What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
My phone, a razor, and mascara

How to handle hecklers from the stage?
A lot of times I let them keep talking because usually, they’ll say something stupid that you can point out. I try not to turn on them.

What advice would you give your younger self? 
Move to New York earlier in your career and try to quit drinking earlier.

What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
That you learn a lot more when you bomb and you have to go up a lot.

Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
How long do you spend developing new material? Sometimes a year. I’ll keep adding tags to jokes and till it turns into a bit.

Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
I think we’re obsessive people which tend to lend itself to addiction. Also, comedy can be quite isolating at times. A lot of times you’re going to spots all by yourself.

What’s your drink of choice?
Now, it’s Diet Coke and Coffee.

Greatest cartoon of all time?
I love the Far Side

Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
I would be a bird

So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
Not at all but I can see why people think that.

Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
Once a week.

So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
I want to be a working comic and act. Having my own show would be pretty cool.

What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
That we might be regressing.

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