BY SID MARCH
Just before I interviewed Jackie Monahan, my poor little Facebook newsfeed was going wild with “I’m in Las Vegas,” and, “OMG this is so funny” posts. Cyber-guffawing about a boys only, what-happens-in-Vegas adventure had consumed my news feed. I could barely find posts about my friends’ irritating children. There were no LOLcats to be seen. Memes about drinking and politics had been wiped out … Something was wrong. I clicked “hide posts from this idiot” a dozen times, hoping to regain some sense of social network sanity. What could be so funny that they had to wreck my status-updating experience?
Turns out, they were sitting in Jackie Monahan’s audience. Oh.
Jackie is a riot. She has been doing improv and stand-up for about a decade, working with the Upright Citizens Brigade, amusing us via Sirius radio, her hit podcast “Girls on Girls,” movie roles, and of course, live with her unpredictable and disarmingly hilarious stand-up. She had a fine little chat with Lesbian.com about cats (of course), and what it’s like to be a choke-inducing comic and Dolly Parton karaoke expert.
Hi Jackie! I need your help. I wanted to cleverly reference some specifically hilarious jokes of yours, but I’m falling into laughing fits louder than my MacBook Air can possibly play a YouTube video. Since I can’t ever seem to watch your standup without choking on my drink, can you please describe what a night in the presence of J’Mo on stage is like?
Thank you for the compliment but please don’t choke. I actually did have a scare at a show in Provincetown once, a man who couldn’t find his inhaler! I was traumatized for a few days. I really felt like, “What am I doing?! I got into this to bring joy to peoples’ lives, not to kill them!”
I have been described as “delightfully inappropriate” and “spontaneous combustion” on stage. I have a lot of energy and have been called “unpredictable” and “fearless.”
You were recently named by Esquire as one of the best new stand-up comedians. You were nominated and voted on by other comics, which makes that a pretty big deal. Getting a big compliment from which comedian would leave you totally floored/speechless/flattered/panting?
I have a varied range of comics I admire. The first ones were Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Steven Wright and Mitch Hedgberg. My favorites today are Dave Attell, Maria Bamford, Wanda Sykes and Louis CK.
I heard that the gay marriage law in New York was passed in the middle the premiere for your new film “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” How much cosmic influence do you think you had on all of this?
Ha! I don’t know about my having an influence but after the movie when gay marriage was announced everyone cheered for a good ten minutes. We then had a Q&A and when I was asked a question I began to answer, then stopped, and said “I’m so sorry, I’m finding it hard to concentrate! I have been with the same woman for 10 years and am terrified she is now going to want to get married.” It got a big laugh, even by my girlfriend who was among the thousand people who were there.
You started your comedy career in New England and New York almost, what, 10 years ago? Do you find different regions receive you differently? Do the people on the west coast and east coast laugh at different things?
I did some sketch and improv comedy in New England with a group called the Pork Chop Lounge. They attended the Edinburgh festival. I started stand up in New York eight years ago. I don’t see a major difference in the two coasts because generally people who live on the coasts are intelligent. However, people do not have to get every joke, as long as everyone has fun! I am fun to laugh at even if you don’t know where I am coming from.
Is there any one city that you think has the best sense of humor? Be biased. Seriously.
I could not say. There are times when I think it is NYC, LA or San Francisco but then inevitably something happens and I change my mind. I had an okay show in South Beach and went back a year later and had one of the best shows of my life there.
Have you ever heard a genuinely awesome version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” at a karaoke bar?
No, but I have done a version of Dolly Partons “9 to 5″ that got me a standing ovation because I was screaming the lyrics. I was screaming because I can’t sing and I love to scream. Everyone mistook it for me being furious about women making money and men putting it in their pockets. That does make me mad but I didn’t really pay attention to what I was singing.
Before you got into comedy what were you doing? Did you have any great big future plans?
Before I was in comedy I was working towards a teaching degree in special education with a minor in psychology and I was a bartender in NYC.
When I was doing my research on you, Google suggested “Jackie Monahan, Arrested?” and told me to enter your name and state of residence. I admit, it was tempting. So, have you ever been in any trouble I might have been able to uncover by paying $21.95 to an anonymous creepo internet company?
Ha ha! I was on my way to the library to work on a report for school when I was stopped for not using my blinker. I had an unpaid court fee I was unaware of and, consequently, was put in handcuffs, brought to two stations and thrown in jail for hours with two thug prostitutes. That would not be in the records, however, I do not believe.
How do you feel about cats? What about lesbians and cats? Lesbian comedians and cats? Lesbian.com and cats?
When I was 11, my cat ate a poisonous mouse and lost all his fur. I received a prank call from a man asking if I had hair on my pussy. I said “No, but how did you know?” Then I put two and two together, screamed and hung up! Since then, I have had two cats. I now have a dog.
Jackie Monahan is currently working on a top-secret film project with Madeline Olnek, writer/director of “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” Jackie says it’s a “dream come true role” but even we don’t know what it is! Keep Jackie on your radar by visiting her website.