Candy Lawrence is a mainstay in the Chicago stand-up world—you can see her all over the city and she’s opened for some of the biggest names in comedy like Todd Barry, Jen Kirkman and Moshe Kasher. She’s been a part of Queer Comedy at Zanies since the show’s inception and is back this month, featuring for James Adomian on March 25th. Chicago comedian Kris McDermott (for L Stop) sat down to talk to Candy about how she got her start, how she decides what’s fair game and what’s not, and what’s next for her.
Kris McDermott: How’d you get started in comedy? I know you came from a sketch background, but what made you start stand-up?
Candy Lawrence: I got really drunk one night at Town Hall Pub and Adam Guerino (of Queer Comedy at Zanies) asked me to do stand-up at one of his shows. I slurred, “suuuuuuure I’ll aljldj do stand-upppppp…..” And so, I was kind of locked into it. I made myself do it and I never turned back.
KM: You’re part of the queer comedy world as an out lesbian. Did you ever make a conscious choice to talk about your sexuality or not?
CL: I am most definitely open about my sexuality. I don’t hide it, it’s a part of me. And besides, I love joking about burlap tuxedos. Why not talk about that?
KM: So is there anything you flat out won’t talk about onstage, or, you don’t want to talk about right now?
CL: It’s not that I’m AGAINST it, but I wouldn’t ever talk about politics… I wouldn’t say, “oooooooh Candy is soooo edgy.” I just look like I’m having fun up there. I’m not trying to push the envelope.
Unless, there’s literally an envelope onstage, then maybe I’ll push it offstage.
KM: I wouldn’t describe you as edgy, but I would say you’re nuts in the best way. You’re getting pretty well known for being zany and doing a fair amount of improv. Has the amount of stuff you allow yourself to do onstage changed over time?
CL: Yeah, I definitely improvise a lot more than I used to. I think ever since my dad passed away four months ago, I was kinda like, fuck it, have fun. Besides, I get bored of doing the same jokes over and over and over again. So, it’s really fun to play with my environment and the people around me. It’s my favorite part of doing stand-up.
KM: You’re pretty open about your struggles with your own mental health. Does comedy make the coping easier? Is that too cliché to even address?
CL: I think it’s really important to educate people about my illness (bipolar II.) Most people don’t really know that much about it. And yes, at the end of the day, it’s quite a relief to go to a show and get onstage and forget about my problems for at least an hour. My sense of humor really gets me through the day. Why not laugh about the movie Kindergarten Cop instead of crying in my salad for two hours?
KM: As one of the most recurring acts for Queer Comedy at Zanies, have the shows changed since you first started doing them over two years ago?
CL: They just keep getting better and better. And the audiences are so great/big/supportive. I swear, I say the word, “the” and they start laughing.
KM: The last time James Adomian did Queer Comedy at Zanies, you hosted the show. Are you excited to be featuring for him this time around?
CL: I really am. He’s hilarious. And to be honest, hosting isn’t my cup of smooth move tea. One time I hosted I asked if anyone was celebrating their Quinceanera. Smoooooooth move.
Queer Comedy at Zanies has been named the Advocate.com‘s “9 LGBT Friendly Comedy Shows You Should Be Supporting,” Timeout Chicago‘s “Critic’s Pick,” The Redeye’s “Do” and included in Chicago Reader’s “The Agenda” and “Culture Vulture” with the praise “More, please.” The March 25th show is headlined by James Adomian and features Candy Lawrence, Natalie Jose and Bill Cruz, and is hosted by Adam Guerino.
Queer Comedy at Zanies presents James Adomian!
Tuesday March 25th at 8:30pm Zanies Comedy Club 1548 N Wells.
Tickets are $20 and available at Chicago.zanies.com or at the door.
Audience members must be 21/+. Two item minimum.