by Ryan Meehan
Shawn was born one out of ten Jews in Oklahoma. She attended the University of Southern California and received a B.A. from The School of Theater. During her time at USC, she joined an improvisational group “Comedius Interruptus” which became her motivating force to train at The Groundlings. By the age of 20, Shawn Pelofsky was performing sketches and improv with comedic giant (SNL’s) Will Ferrell. With a couple years of improv under her belt, she became a member of The ACME Comedy Theater. During her time at ACME, Shawn flourished in the field of stand-up comedy culminating with her current status as a regular at The World Famous Comedy Store. When she’s not touring or performing for our troops in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Bahrain and Guantanamo Bay, Shawn performs weekly on their infamous Main Room stage. Adding to her many comedic accolades, Shawn has been featured in The Montreal“Justfor Laughs” Comedy Festival and in the all female hit comedy tours “Pretty Funny Women”, “Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad”and “The Hot Tamales”produced by Eva Longoria. Shehas opened up for greats such as Richard Lewis, Robert Klein, Bill Maher and the fabulous Margaret Cho. And today she was cool enough to be our guest in 5 Questions.
FOH: First off, I have to ask what fuels your obsession with “Lord of the Rings”? Had you been a fan of the books before the full length films were released?
SP:My obsession started when I was a child. My mother always encouraged us as children to like Sci-Fi, Comic Book and Fantasy films. I not only read “The Hobbit” as a child, but loved it most when they would show it once a year on prime time TV. The first time I heard the eeriness of Gollum’s voice, I could never get it out of my head. I love strange voices and even more so to impersonate them. When the Peter Jackson”s trilogy came out in theaters, I was completely obsessed with nailing Smeagol/ Gollum’s voice so much, that I started practicing in the car on the way home from the a screening of The Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring.
FOH: You grew up in Oklahoma with a Jewish background, and that’s a red state not primarily known for its “level of tolerance” if you will…How did growing up in that background shape the comedian that you are today? Did you see a lot of examples of people that you didn’t want to be like?
SP: To be honest, the only time I really felt different was during Passover when everyone in the Jr. High School cafeteria was eating pizza and I was sporting world’s biggest peanut butter and jelly matzo square sandwich wrapped in the most noticeable aluminum tinfoil ever. I was super proud to be Jewish, almost too proud if you will. I would educate my fellow classmates by bringing a menorah for show and tell during the holidays and explaining the meanings. Of course it shaped who I am today as a comedian, because people are usually shocked that I am Jewish and from Oklahoma. It definitely makes it easier to write jokes about Southern stereo types. It almost writes itself.
FOH: Being a nationally recognized standup comedian has given you the opportunity of appearing on several podcasts, most notably “The Naughty Show” podcast on the Deathsquad network. Have you ever thought about doing your own Podcast at some point? If you had a podcast, what is the first potential name for the show that comes to you when I suggest that idea?
SP: I actually did to try my own podcast. Doesn’t every Tom Dick and comedian try? Taped three of them. I co-hosted it with another comic, Jason Gillearn. He’s hilarious and actually well respected in the comedy community. We’re opposites. He’s a family guy who teaches and smokes pot. I’m a wild single spinster who hangs with gay men. Most of our podcasts were me yelling at him about his child rearing hippy tactics, however we both got busy and it’s a lot of work running a podcast.
FOH: When asked about your dating life in a March interview with the Dallas Voice, you mentioned you are single, stating that “There is no current boyfriend, but I do have some candidates on speed dial – Mainly Latinos.” Is that a general preference of yours, or do guys of that ethnic background tend to gravitate towards you?
SP: I do have several men on speed dial, however they are ALL not Latino. I do not discriminate 😉 I do however gravitate to foreign men. I love a good accent, unless you’re German. That just brings me back to 1942.
FOH: How was your experience training with “The Groundlings” and in what ways has that helped you in your standup career?
SP: Groundlings changed my life. I was only 19 when I went through half that program with people like Kathy Griffin and Lisa Kudrow, who were teaching at the time. I was in class with Will Ferrell when he was just a bank teller who had graduated from USC. It was a pretty intimidating place. What it taught me was to have thick skin. Is also taught me the skill of improvisation and how to be fast on your feet. I utilize that skill every night when I work an audience at The Comedy Store.
FOH: Could you tell us about your album “Lady Haha” which is currently available on iTunes? What is the message about pop culture that you are trying to convey by the material on that record?
SP: I got the idea of calling my Lady Haha after I shot a viral video spoofing Lady Gaga called A DAY IN THE LIFE: LADY HAHA. It’s to the song Bad Romance. It became so popular that’s what I decided to name my comedy album. The material on that album is pretty gay friendly, so pop culture usually goes hand in hand with the gays.
FOH: What’s next for you in the twelve months that follow? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
SP: I am currently writing a tell all book about all my conquests and dating experiences. Once that is published and my family stops talking to me, I am hoping to sell it as a series. I also currently produce and host a monthly popular show at The Comedy Store called “The BathHouse Show” with a variety of gay and gay friendly acts. Past performers include, Sarah Colonna, Kathleen Madigan, Alec Mapa, Drew Droege, Jonny McGovern, Maz Jobrani and Margaret Cho. Next one is Nov. 17th starring Jill Michele Melean from “Mad TV” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Chris Williams. TIX can be bought at www.TheBathHouseShow.com.
Official Website: www.hahachick.com
Shawn on Twitter: @shawnpelofsky
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