MARYELLEN HOOPER – DIGNITY UNDER DURESS
MARYELLEN HOOPER joins us today on the School of Laughs podcast. A veteran in the world of stand-up, Maryellen Hooper’s comedy has taken her from clubs and colleges to theaters and television. She’s appeared on many late night talk shows including several appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Her half-hour special on Comedy Central called “Lounge Lizards” received rave reviews and was played on heavy rotation. In 1998, the comedy industry awarded Maryellen “Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic” at the American Comedy Awards. Recently, the Walt Disney Company has asked Maryellen to perform on all four of its beautiful cruise ships.
With the recent postponement of large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryellen has to adjust like all other comedians. The good news for us – she has time to join the podcast!
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We cover a lot in this episode, including …
Mary Ellen Hooper Show Notes:
- Adapting during COIVD-19
- Preparing financially for work interruptions
- Becoming a student of comedy
- How she started comedy in late 80’s
- Being an extra in Miami Vice
- Moving to New York
- Hanging with Adam Ferrara, Ray Romano, Kevin James
- The move from NYC to Los Angeles
- Moving from L.A. to Florida to raise family
- The showcase that got her 46 bookings
- How Disney Cruises were affected
- Finding comedy in tough times
- Working on a kids book
- Acting led to comedy
- Best advice for new comics
and much, much more!
To learn more about Mary Ellen Hooper check out her website.
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Thanks to our Patreon sponsor for this episode Club 52 member SETH KNORR
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Maryellen Hooper’s Top Tip for New Comedians
I started studying comedy. There’s different types of comedy. And it really helped me figure out who I was. So you have to figure out what your sense of humor is, and you have to do that. So you carry around a notebook with you for a couple of weeks. And anytime you laugh out loud, you write that down in your little book, and at the end of two weeks, you look and you’re gonna see what your sense of humor is. So it’s either gonna be physical is political, observational storytelling. Mine is stories about people being in what I call “dignity under duress”. Which is me being in embarrassing situations. That’s why like Brian Regan and you know all the physical storytellers. Because that’s what makes me laugh.
So, if you ever see comics, new comics, they’ll say, so in the news, the president blah, blah, blah. And then they’ll say, You ever notice when you’re walking down the street? you know, blah, blah. And then they’ll say, when I was young, my parents used to beat me. Okay, so now you have three styles going on right there. So usually, if you’re doing that, you’ll find that one of the three is going to get the biggest laugh, and they won’t be really consistent because you’re all over the place.
So it’s figuring out what your sense of humor is, what your style is what you think is funny, and it helps you write so much. Because, like, I’m not going to write a political joke because that’s not what makes me laugh. That’s not what I am. So it helps you to write. To know that I’m looking for situations where I’ve gotten myself into trouble and try to get out of them. So if you’re a Jerry Seinfeld, you’re looking at the world and figuring out what’s crazy about it. So that’s going to help you write that, you know, so that that was the thing that helped me the most.