Jackie Monahan is one of the many successful comedians you’ll find on television, the Internet and in clubs. With so many outlets to gain visibility, stand-up comics often find ways to gain exposure. Formats such as YouTube and podcasts are a couple of those mediums. Monahan recently stopped by to break down the in’s and out’s of becoming a household name and what you should do to become a successful comedian.
Q - Hi Jackie. How’s it going?
A - My life is very fun right now. Thank you.
Q - Real quick, why did you decide to go into stand-up comedy?
A - All my friends, classmates, and co-workers (not my family) hounded me to do stand-up. It was pretty much decided for me. My best friend dragged me to an open mike and then I was hooked.
Q - For those who have yet to discover you, describe your act for us.
A - I have been called delightfully inappropriate and fearless.
Q - Years ago, stand-up was primarily filled by men. Today, more and more women are venturing out onto the stand-up stages. How challenging is it being a female comedian versus being a male one?
A - It is hard to tell because I have not attempted it as a man. Yet, I have run into a handful of instances where I felt an unfairness because I was a female but I am sure that is the same with most jobs.
Q - A comedian’s dream was always to play “The Tonight Show.” With the new media consisting of many late night programs, cable specials like Comedy Central Presents and YouTube, what’s the “dream” to play for today’s working comic?
A - Those are still the same dreams; the difference is the results of being on either show are not as drastic. Being on “The Tonight Show” today, even if you kill, does not guarantee success. You still have to keep plugging away where in the past being on TV had a snowball effect of success.
Q - With the advent of the Internet, podcasts and YouTube, many comedians and random people are finding fame through viral videos and clips. Do you think it’s easier to achieve fame nowadays than it was 20 years ago, when there were fewer comedians but fewer outlets to get your work seen?
A - It is much easier now to get yourself out there but much harder to become a household name. There is so much going on; everyone is not watching the same TV shows. Someone could be a main character on a television show and still enjoy some anonymity that was not possible 20 years ago.
Q - Which comedians did you watch growing up and who was your biggest influence?
A - Eddie Murphy, Amy Sedaris, Mitch Hedberg and Steve Martin.
Q - What advice do you have for someone wanting to go into stand-up?
A - Most importantly, make sure you hate yourself and/or your parents. No, just do it. Do a bunch of open mikes to see if it is something you really want to do.
Q - Thanks for taking the time. Is there anything you want to add?
A - Thank you. Yes, follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/jackiemonahan.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.