by Ryan Meehan
Ever since kindergarten, Lisa Corrao has wanted to make fun of stuff professionally. Now, all grown up and having left her lucrative career as a public school teacher, Lisa travels the country doing stand-up. She is still fighting the stupidity of the world, but now does it with laughter under the cover of night like a lame superhero that also happens to feel pretty dumb most of the time herself. Recently, Lisa has performed in Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival, the Women in Comedy Festival, and The Boston Comedy Festival and she’s our guest today in 5 questions.
RM: What turned you on to comedy and who really inspired you to become a comedian?
LC: I can thank my dad for my career path. I grew up in a household that appreciated and respected comedians. I find it so strange that people will say sports figures are role models because in my house, stand-up comedians were cool and smart and on TV (plus I’m pretty sure none of them took steroids). My dad would let me and my brothers stay up late to watch the comedians on Carson and Letterman like it was an event. He’d even make special foods like French bread pizza or giant burgers to enjoy while we watched. It was like a party! On top of that, my dad is very funny, sarcastic, and always angry, and he loved it when we were too. So, even as a kid I would think like a comic–always questioning things and being a smart-ass.
RM: What’s the South Florida comedy scene like?
LC: Better than a lot of people think. We have a lot of great, funny comedians here. There are open mics every night of the week as well as several paid spots. On top of that, we are lucky enough to have 3 A-list clubs (the Improv chain) bringing in the top comedians while still offering amateur nights which can be a local comic’s foot in the door to working the big fancy shmancy shows. To top it all off, Comedy Central holds the South Beach Comedy Festival here.
RM: You recently worked with Nick DiPaolo, who is one of the most respected comedians in the country…What was that like and what do you pick up on from watching someone like that?
LC: Working with Nick was fun because I really like the audiences he draws. I love anyone who can’t be offended. Unfortunately, you also get people mixed into the audience who had no idea who the comedian was going to be that night. I really admire how Nick not only stays true to himself, but seems to lean into the dark jokes if he hears an idiot groan.
RM: What’s the worst part about doing comedy? Do you think the answer to that will ever change for you?
LC: The worst part is always struggling for money. Sure, I do this because I love it, but love doesn’t pay your bills. I wish that all of my favorite comedians were consistently making at least six digits a year. There are so few people in this world that can really do this well, yet sadly it’s a much smaller number of comedians who’ve made it big solely from stand-up. It’s like you have to do something else that brings attention to your comedy (ie, a great acting gig). It’s just a matter of finding that thing that catches the eye of the masses. That’s why I’m considering adding pyrotechnics to my closer. How great would it be to start your closing bit with, “keep an eye on the exits, folks.” Until, the world collectively sees comedians the way my dad does, comics will constantly be doing other things to support their stand-up.
RM: After how much stage work is required in your opinion for someone to call themselves a comic on the social networking sites?
LC: Zero. That’s one of the things people love about the internet. You can make yourself look like whoever you want. . . that’s why it’s so great for child molesters. If it were up to me, you’d have to be getting paid work regularly first. I get it though, you have to make yourself look like a comedian before somebody will pay you to do it. I have no good answer for this, but I do know that there are a lot of people online posing as both comedians and as not-molesters.
RM: What’s the writing process for you when it comes to developing new material?
LC: I try to write every morning, but really it’s something that’s in my head all day long. I never know when an idea will come to me, so I have a lot of random notes in my phone and on scraps of paper. I also go to as many open mics as possible and often bomb at them. I’m ok with it though, because it’s like mining for bits. I feel like I have to write at least ten jokes to get one that I like to use at the paid shows.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2013? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
LC: I have just booked a bunch of commercials, so I won’t starve for the rest of the year. I’m also very excited to be opening for John Pinette! It’s amazing to work with a legend like John. Besides being a crushing headliner, he’s also a gentleman. It’s an honor to work with such a class act…John Pinette is a comedy angel.
Official Website: http://lisacorrao.com/
Lisa on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisacorrao
Lisa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisacorrao
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