Interviewed Stand UP Comedian Chrissie Mayr at New York Comedy Club
We met up with talented comedian Chrissie Mayr after her show at New York Comedy Club
What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?
Surround yourself with the hardest working people you can.
What was your process in developing this special?
I knew I wanted this album to be different than everyone else’s. I wanted to do tapings in all the places I’ve lived: Long Island, Westchester, CT and NYC. I found a producer I liked, booked the show dates and now we’re in the thick of it!
Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
It definitely has. When I started I just wanted to be sexy and shocking. I know myself and my style and point of view much better. I know how to cut the fat out of my jokes. I’ve got a better ear. My jokes are smarter. I’m a lot more thoughtful about it now than I used to be.
What happens if they don’t laugh?
I assume they are too distracted by my body.
How often do you perform comedy per week?
It varies. Anywhere from a couple times to 15 times.
What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
I love NY Comedy Club! I just did one of my album recording there on May 7th and they were so fantastic. Also the Stonewall Inn because “Comedy at Stonewall” is my baby and I’ve been doing that show there for 4 years.
How often do you write jokes?
Sporadically. Whenever inspiration strikes. Sometimes in the shower or after a good workout. I have a full-time 9-5 job so it’s a challenge. I am more motivated to write for something that has a deadline, like a roast battle.
When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
When I headlined the Hartford Funny Bone back in March. It was the first time I was the main act, doing an hour, and people had to leave their homes and pay money to see me. Then when I went back there in April to feature for Mark Normand it kind of solidified the whole thing. I realized wow this hotel room is paid for- all weekend- by comedy.
How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
When I interned at Conan senior year of college I knew the comedy world was fun exciting and that I wanted to be a part of it. One of the other interns, Liz Miele, had been doing stand up for a few years already and I admired that, (stand up seemed very scary to me at the time) so I ended up befriending her. I looked up to the writers like Brian Stack, Allison Silverman and Jose Arroyo. Jose gave me a book about comedy writing and the gesture was really meaningful to me at the time. I still have that book. I was such a nervous little intern. I’d stress all week how I was going to muster up the guts to ask the writers for advice. They all talked about how great improv was. So, despite a lackluster experience doing improv in college I decided to jump back in and enrolled at UCB. Between the UCB and the Magnet Theater I studied and performed improv for over 5 years. I completed all courses at both schools but the Magnet is where I was better educated and nurtured. So I decided to write and produced my One Woman Show “Hope” at the Magnet. After that ran for 5 weeks I started going to open mics with a couple of stand ups I met in improv. One of them was named Craig Hillelson and we became good friends and started a show together at the Parkside Lounge called “I Don’t Like Your Tone”. I loved the autonomy of stand up: You didn’t need to rent a room, coordinate 5 other people and pay a coach to do it. If you bombed it was all on you, there was nowhere to hide or another team member to blame if you weren’t funny. But it made killing even more rewarding. On stage is where I feel the most myself. What is better than creating laughter and understanding?
Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
I have many talented peers who inspire me in different ways. Tim Dillon for his wild abandon, Mehran Khaghani/Yamaneika Saunders for their energy. Mark Normand for his sharp writing and delivery. I love the way Oscar Aydin flirts with the crowd. Aaron Berg’s crowd work and hosting abilities blow me away every time. Matteo Lane’s body is very inspiring (have you seen his Instagram?!). Drag Queens. Samantha from Sex & the City. Jessica Rabbit.
What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
When I was 11 years old during a diving meet I was supposed to do a back dive but instead I fell off the board and just hung on to it. I thought if I never let go of the board it didn’t count.
What are the most important rules you live by?
Always look your best. Wear good shoes. Take care of yourself. Be grateful. Make time for the people you love. Have fun no matter what. If you’re not feeling well you’re probably low on magnesium or need a green juice.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
I liked “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”. It prepared me to be okay with seeing mice in my apartment when I moved to NYC.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Pass along things that no longer spark joy” -Marie Kondo
I like this quote because I tend to hoard clothing but also it applies to people, beliefs, etc.
Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
Seeing a therapist helps a lot. So do gel manicures. Getting massages. Following Ralph Marston on Twitter. Talking with my boyfriend Frank or my sister Amanda always help me feel better. Prioritizing fun.
What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
Sunblock, My boyfriend and someone who got pretty far on Survivor
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
“What you think about expands”
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”
How to handle hecklers from the stage?
I’m stern but sweet. Usually I pay a ton of attention to them until they feel loved and quiet down or they spin out of control and get kicked out.
“What advice would you give your younger self?”
Listen to your gut.
What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
Preparation is everything. Don’t wear anything on stage you don’t feel great in. Not everyone who is friends with you is friends with you.
Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
Write every day. Don’t date someone just because they have a Comedy Central credit.
How long do you spend developing new material?
As long as it takes until it clicks. This can take days or years.
Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
Sadness, Depression and Addiction are not unique to the comedy world, it’s just that we have a microphone. Specific to comedy I think it’s due to unrealistic expectations, not making enough money to support yourself, an inability to deal with rejection, an inability to get out of your own way, lack of a strong support system, late nights and proximity to alcohol breed unhealthy habits. I just don’t think many comics (and people in general) know how to take care of themselves, physically, mentally, spiritually.
What’s your drink of choice?
A green juice, Coconut water or Kombucha. If I’m turning up then I like to have a Tito’s and soda or a Dirty Martini. If I’m feeling basic then a Cosmo.
Greatest cartoon of all time?
Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
A rabbit so I can hump all day in peace.
So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
Not if you work on keeping balance within yourself.
Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
No, it’s who I am. You can pump the breaks or put your foot on the gas but you’re in this car for life, baby.
So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
To be able to fully support myself (and possibly a familyChrissie Mayr) off the money I make from comedy related endeavors. To continue to work on projects I’m excited about with talented people I like and respect. To have an apartment in the city and a house in LA. A clothing and shoe line would be fantastic!
What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
This culture of being politically correct at all costs is so lame and exhausting to me. College students spending most of their time trying to light Milo Yiannopoulos on fire instead of trying to learn something. I think the older you get the dumber you find college students. Except now it’s not just college students but a lot of my peers all around me. I think Libertarian thinking is on the rise and that’s kind of a cool thing. Also it’s very disheartening that healthy food is so expensive.
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