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Amy Eisenberg Interview

AmyEBy Kris McDermott

Ask comic Amy Eisenberg what she likes to write jokes about, and you’ll get a long list. “Moms die, dads leave, government cheese, I’m short…” Her comedy is loud, fearless, and unapologetic—much like she is. Amy’s featuring in February’s edition of Queer Comedy at Zanies here in Chicago on February 25th  so L Stop got an exclusive interview with her to talk about her self-proclaimed faggotry, her new projects and how she reads a crowd.

KM: How did you get started in comedy?

AE: Every good story has comedy and tragedy. My tragedy has become comedy!

KM: I know you got started in the performance world, but you’ve been getting a lot of exposure around Chicago lately producing a new showcase, Just Dickin’ Around (JDA). How’d you get into producing?

AE: I wanted to create an environment where comedians, particularly females, could have an honest and non-discriminatory environment to tell jokes in while showcasing their talent. I like labeling myself as an O.G.-Orphan Gangsta. Being an accomplished orphan, I’ve taken on the role of parenting my own show, which is my baby. I call her, Just Dickin’ Around!

KM: Just Dickin’ Around is interesting because it’s a showcase for women and it’s an open mic for women—one of the few in the city that draws those sort of lines. Do you think there’s more of a need for these kinds of ‘niche’ spaces in comedy?

AE: I feel like these “niches” shouldn’t even be a thing because comedy is universal. Don’t get me started.Okay, yes, comedy, can definitely be a hostile place for queer folks and women, because there is extra unneeded banter from people who think they can get away with it just because you’re a woman, gay or ethnic… what came first, the chicken or the egg? Discrimination or the niche? The discrimination came first– the niche is just a response to the discrimination.

KM: How did JDA get started?

AE: I had a vision to create an honest and fair environment for stand-up comedians, so they could have the opportunity to make mistakes, grow and learn while being fearless with their work. A space that they could feel free in.

KM: Sold. Where can people find it?

AE: Just Dickin’ Around has four showcases a month. The first and third Thursdays of the month at Hydrate Night Club Chicago, the second Thursday of the month at The Parlour in Andersonville, and The fourth Thursday of the month at Halsted’s Bar and Grill. This show is brought to you by Krista Atkinson, Marla Depew, Tamale Sepp, and myself– all producers and bad-asses.

KM: You’re open about being a queer comic—do you ever sit down and think, “I need to limit how many gay jokes I will tell tonight?” Are you afraid of being limited with that label?

AE: No, I’ve never really feared being pigeonholed as a gay comic, because being gay is such a small piece of who I am. It’s not all of me.

Regarding doing x% of gay jokes with gay themes for a particular audience: Before I go on stage I try to read the crowd and do x% of any jokes that I feel the crowd will resonate with. Not necessarily limiting or pushing gay jokes, but catering to the audience itself. There have been times I’ve misread a crowd and had to pull back on the gay material for a gay audience, just to turn right back around and pull out more gay material for a straight audience. But most of the time, I just say fuck it to and do whatever material I feel like doing in that moment, because there is something about living in the moment that is so beautifully dangerous.

KM: Whose comedy do you love? Local or national, doesn’t matter.

AE: My comedic inspirations are varied: Chelsea Handler, Beth Stelling, Puterbaugh Sisters, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Katt Williams, George Carlin, Joan Rivers. Also my little cousins are brutally hilarious, and are a huge inspiration to me.

Event Info:

Queer Comedy at Zanies presents Casey Ley!
Tuesday February 25th at 8:30pm
Zanies Comedy Club 1548 N Wells.
Tickets are $15 and available at Chicago.zanies.com or at the door.
Audience members must be 21/+. Two item minimum.
Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/483737821748910/

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About K. Guzman

Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.

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