What comedy most inspires you?
Standup comedy for sure. To just get on stage and basically say, “now that I have everyone here, this what I most want to say” is so insane and yet so inspiring.
Which comedian most inspires you?
Dave Chappelle. I think he is this generation’s Richard Pryor. I’ve seen him do three hour shows were the audience would yell out topics and he would run with it. A modern day prophet. He’s got such a distinct point of view that any topic he’s going to have a funny take on it. He’s funny and insightful.
Which comedian scares the shit out of you because you know you'll never be that good?
Why and how did you get into comedy?
I got a degree in journalism and started interning at a radio station in the news department. The radio station would always try to end the news with a joke so I’d get there early and try to be the one that came up with that joke. Then after college I ditched becoming a journalist and looked into comedy. I got hooked and never looked back.
What drives you to do what you do?
I didn’t have the best childhood (it wasn’t the worst either) but my mom had severe epilepsy and would have seizures all over town and when she was having an attack she would take off her clothes. It sounds kinda funny (in a dark way) but it was traumatizing as a child. So humor became my coping mechanism. Then as I got older, standup became a way to justify my weird childhood.
Describe your perfect Tuesday.
My perfect Tuesday would be sleeping until noon, driving up the Pacific Coast highway (with no traffic obviously... so it’s basically a fairytale) and spending the night at Asilomar camping grounds with my husband.
Describe your worst experience on a coach.
I had shows in Joshua Tree with two other comedians, Christina Walkinshaw and Pamela Walt, and I called dibs on the pull out couch at our Airbnb. This couch was from the 1950’s and the springs poked me in the back all night and jacked up my back so badly that I could barely turn my neck the next day.
[I know that I said "coach" not "couch" but I enjoyed the answer so who cares?]
Best sofa you've ever slept on?
My in-laws have a great couch. Every Christmas (which I have already starting referring to as “Snack Expo 2018”... I’m seriously looking into getting shirts made) when I go visit I watch TV, eat snacks and usually fall asleep on it with their dog. It’s heaven. Hmmmm, maybe that’s my perfect Tuesday.
Best piece of advice a comedian ever gave you?
“As long as you’re having fun, they can’t hate you” but I don’t remember who said it, and it’s not entirely true. I’ve tested it.
Worst piece of advice a critic ever gave you?
He wasn’t exactly a critic, but a club owner once told me to wear stilettos, a miniskirt and jump on stage like I was a wrestler, walk the perimeter of the stage then “mean mug” the audience. Then grab the microphone and say “I know you came to see the headliner, but now you gotta deal with this cunt!” Then start my act. And honestly, that weirdly might’ve worked for someone but that’s definitely not my vibe at all.
Tell us a joke.
I had to follow a comic who did a Bill Cosby impression so I said “Be careful of any comic who does a Bill Cosby impression but needs a volunteer from the audience”. Not my best joke, but it’s topical.
What's the furthest you've travelled for the least amount of money/open spot?
Just this past summer! I made a pit stop in Edinburgh on my way to a friend’s wedding in Greece. I performed on 5 shows and the guy gave me 5 pounds afterwards. For all 5 shows.
Best chicken you've ever tasted?
There used to be a dive bar in my college town of Lawrence, Kansas called the Yacht Club. It’s now gone, but they had the best chicken ever!
On a scale of 1-10 , how hungry are you right now?
Now a 10 since we started talking about chicken. Thanks a lot!
Melissa is the executive producer of The Dreams In Gary's Basement, a new documentary on Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons - see here for the Kickstarter campaign. She is also a writer and producer on Funny You Should Ask
To find out more about Melissa, including up coming shows: