Interview Stand Up Comedian Walker Hays at The Stand NYC
Written by Kaitlyn Murphy
With a striking name and look, I found Walker automatically when we met at The Stand NYC in NYC for this interview. I was interested to hear her story on how she balances acting and comedy, as she is not just a comic but an actress as well.
I first asked Walker when she realized she wanted to do stand up comedy and she joked “Well, I’ll let you know when I decide I want to do it.” As a comic myself I can relate to this and I’m sure many other comics can relate as well. It’s a career that will constantly have you doubting yourself but those doubts only push you to prove yourself wrong. Walkers comedy career began while she was living in LA, with the original purpose to solely pursue acting and modeling. The idea of stand up comedy was proposed to her when she saw a line outside of The Laugh Factory several times and she eventually asked what it was all about. She found out that it was a line of comics waiting to get a spot for the following weeks show to perform 3 minutes of material. With time on her hands and friends to support her she decided to give it a shot. After her first 3 minutes on stage she caught the ego high, that every comic who sticks with it gets on his or her first (successful) time on stage. Luckily for Walker her first time on stage as a stand up comic was in front of tons of friends where she received tons of laughs. From there she got stage time from friends who produced shows in the area. She described comedy at this time in her life as more of a hobby while she was focusing more towards her acting/modeling career.
As she continued to enjoy her comedy hobby she hit a wall with her acting/modeling career in LA and had to make a decision to stay or make her way over to NY. Originally being from Baltimore, Maryland she decided to make her way back over to the east coast and move to NY.
She’s been in NY for a solid 2 years now. For about a year she went back and forth between LA and NY. Although I’ve never traveled to LA and I’m from NY, my opinion is not at all bias when I say, I totally get why she decided to stay here in NY. Walker says there is a different energy in LA compared to NY. She said “In LA you’re in your own bubble. You’re in your own car. You’re going back to your apartment that you can mostly afford to live in by yourself, where in NY that’s a hard thing to do. So you’re living in your own microcosm trying to figure out if you’re good enough or not. But here in NY you learn pretty quickly how good or not good you are.” She also explained that being in NY allowed her to realize that being a comedian doesn’t just mean you get on stage and you then you get a show on NBC and then BAM you’re famous. She learned from meeting other comics, that there are so many different ways to go about this career.
In the past 2 years Walker has focused a lot of her time on comedy and has been on the road and performs all over NYC at clubs like New York Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, Dangerfield’s and many more. But within the past year she worked on a feature film, TRI. During her time filming she put comedy to the side to focus on her role. There was a lot of training and preparation for this role since she plays a Tri-Athlete. Walker said “I had the comedic part and I wasn’t supposed to be any good at it. Thank God! So well cast!” But she was still up at 3am swimming, running and cycling, training to be the “not so good” athlete in the film. The film came out this past December and can be found on Amazon, iTunes and ondemand.
With two careers on a successful path, Walker is a great example that hard work and dedication can truly lead you in a good direction. She says since she started this path of comedy, she’s been lucky enough to have many friends who continue to push her and remind her to keep going because she has what it takes. With this luck of having her friends push her she has also realized it takes more than just a support system to tell you to keep going, you have to have accountability. Accountability is the main piece of advice Walker gave me and any other comic striving in this business. She says “People tell you to keep going but you really do have to look at what you’re doing.” Whatever it is that Walker is doing is what I want to be doing because she is killing it. Make sure you check her out in the comedy scene and in her debut movie TRI out now!