Interview with Stand up Comedian Angela Cobb at Broadway Comedy Club
We sat down with the very funny comedian Angela Cobb at the Broadway Comedy Club. We discuss the show business, developing new jokes and more.
Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
I’ve only been doing this for 7 years but it does seem like it’s become a bit more about other factors that aren’t what the person does on stage. Ie: less about the person’s actually stand up abilities and more consideration paid to their other endeavors : podcasts, one person shows, social media presence, videos, etc. this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I feel we need to try to maintain the happy medium of people who both have lots of things going for them but are also, plain and simple, killer behind the mic.
What happens if they don’t laugh
They’ll laugh at the next one.
How often do you perform comedy per week?
I try to get up at least 5 times a week. The best is when you can do multiple spots in one night. Sometimes it’s much more. Sometimes, admittedly, it’s less.
What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
Broadway Comedy Club, The Stand, QED
How often do you write jokes?
I need to write more, admittedly. I find the more I’m around comedy…particularly an open mic when everything is really fertile and new, I tend to be more inspired to write new stuff. Also when something happens to me that makes me want to write a joke. Of course one can’t always rely on that. I try to write at least one new joke a day or flesh out one new idea. But I feel writing is something I need to be more disciplined about, generally.
When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
The first time I got paid to feature on the road. Which was about 2 years in. Also when I got passed at my first club in the city, Broadway Comedy Club.
How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
I was always funny and I always wanted to do something in the arts – writing or performing. I’ve always loved an audience and entertaining people. My parents were big into home videos when I was a kid. At first, music was the goal. Comedy always was present, though. However, I think to stand up can be a hard thing to get into as you kind of have to do it on your own…there’s no “stand up club” you can join in 3rd grade or something. So for me, I got into it because in college I did slam poetry and spoken word. And I did a lot of funnier pieces. So after I graduated 2 guys who did stand up in college asked me to help them with this competition they were running. The deal was I could do some of my funnier poems and then also try some stand-up. The latter was the main part of that I focused on, and I guess you could say I’ve been doing it ever since.
Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
Most of my comedy influences aren’t stand-ups, oddly enough. The list includes Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, The Three Stooges, Monty Python…and honestly…The Beatles.
As far as stand-up comics, it’s mainly been the people I’ve worked with who have influenced me. People like LeighAnn Lord, Frank Vignola, Cory Kahaney, Vanessa Hollingshead, among others.
And honestly, my family is hilarious. I’m influenced perhaps the most by their humor.
What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
Probably anytime I had to do something math related in front of the entire class.
What are the most important rules you live by?
I try to remember what my Italian grandma always said to me when I’d worry as a kid: “Angela, you kill nobody.” Honestly, at the end of the day, it’s generally not as serious or severe as we or I make it out to be. I’m gonna mess up a lot but I just try to be a good person and admit my mistakes.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
I was a big fan of “The Monster At The End Of This Book” as a kid. Not sure what that means except maybe I like a bait and switch, twist ending. I also loved “A Fish Out Of Water” which I suppose showed my early willingness to engage in a suspension of disbelief.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Aside from my grandma’s advice above…
“Obsessing about your career is not the same As working on your career.” – Frank Vignola
Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
Medication. Nah, but seriously, I don’t always avoid despair. I try to. But I don’t always do it well. I get down. I get paralyzed by anxiety and depression at times. One thing I try to remember is that saying that an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. So I realize when I find myself in the thick of depression, that taking any positive action, however small, will lead to another positive action. Just as staying stagnant will lead to more stagnancy. I don’t always do this well, but it’s something that helps me.
What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
Some sort of coffee brewing method. Something to play music on. And probably some sort of blanket or coat.
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
“You only fear failure when you’re faced with it. When Tom and Jerry walk over the side of a cliff, it’s only when they look down that they fall. One day I decided I could walk in midair, so I’ve been doing it ever since, never looking down. ”
– Marty Feldman
How to handle hecklers from the stage?
I try to just shut down the situation and prevent it from escalating and freezing the room. So if they happen to say something funny that gets a laugh, I’ll admit that and then try to move on from there. I try to defuse the situation rather than make it worse. I suppose I try to ingratiate myself with them to some extent. To him honest, I don’t get heckled often and I don’t have any good heckler stories. Which makes me feel boring.
“What advice would you give your younger self?”
Trust me, men want to have sex with you.
What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
You get out of it what you put in. You have to hustle.
Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
You know you’re funny. Never lose that. Eventually, everyone will know.
How long do you spend developing new material?
It depends on some jokes work right away…others take weeks or months to pin down perfectly.
Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
I don’t know if there’s necessarily more in our world but I think we are more predisposed to talk about it and focus on it…sometimes dwell on it. The creative temperament in general though does lend itself to some of the characteristics of addiction, depression etc…there’s a certain dichotomy of being an isolator and a people person…and egomaniac and a loser. There’s a lot of dualities and living in one’s own head. I don’t think we are more depressed or addicted than anyone else per se, but we have more outlets in which to explore and talk about our issues than say, a bipolar accountant might.
What’s your drink of choice?
Coffee. Also, I like a good IPA. Or Heineken. Or a Bacardi & Coke, Gin & Tonic, Amaretto.
Greatest cartoon of all time?
I like the Looney Tunes.
Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
Marty Feldman once said he felt it was more about how comedians go from extreme emotions very fast…we go from laughter to tears very quickly. I think that’s very true. We’re probably sadder or happier than most on any given day. At least I feel that way about myself. I also think we are self-interested which means all sorts of other issues of “self”: self-aware, /
Self-conscious, self – deprecating, etc
Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
I want to get into the Montreal comedy festival. I want to get on late night TV. I’d like more opportunities to headline on the road. And ultimately I’d like to get to the point where I can 100% make my living from comedy.
What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
I think the disability aspect of society in general. I think we have so many ways now to at least create the illusions of both connecting and disconnecting from others that sometimes we forget what’s genuine.
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