by Ryan Meehan
Jenny Zigrino has been performing nationally in clubs, colleges, and festivals all over the country and internationally. She has featured for national acts like Tom Green (MTV), Gilbert Gottfried (Comedy Central, MTV) Neal Brennan (The Chappelle Show) and Todd Barry (Louie, Comedy Central). She’s a regular at the “Women in Comedy Festival” and has performed in the Riot LA Alternative Comedy Festival as well as the Boston Comedy Festival. She recently took 2nd place in the 2013 SheDevil Comedy festival, and finished as one of the top 8 finalists at 2013 Laughing Skull Comedy Atlanta. She is featured on IFC’s “Young, Broke, and Beautiful” in addition to the internationally syndicated Steve Katsos Show. She MC’s as her alter-ego Liz Fang for Boston’s local burlesque troupe Rogue Burlesque. The Boston Globe raves “…She’s gotten really funny and has developed a warm, weird comedic voice that doesn’t sound like anyone else’s…” Examiner.com states, ” The consistency of her humor and improvisational skills throughout the show kept the audience in stitches all night.” We are delighted to have Jenny Zigrino as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: What made you decide to finally leave the East Coast for Los Angeles? What did you feel like the Southern California area had to offer you that you couldn’t always find in Boston or New York?
JZ: I left the east coast a bit unwillingly. I had just wrapped shooting for funniest wins and my management encouraged I move out here to “strike while the iron is hot”. I felt that instead of just subletting I would go whole hog. Give up it all and start again with stars in my eyes! Southern California is really where all the industry is. I want to be the be working in the industry as well as being a great stand up. I can do that here but the starting over again is a bitch. I miss NYC terribly!
RM: I saw a recent set of yours on a YouTube clip called “The Apt.” which is a very unique atmosphere as it’s in a residential setting…Is that an apartment or a loft; and who runs that show? What makes that experience so different from performing at a comedy club?
JZ: That is such a fun and amazing show. It’s put together by Drew miller and it’s his basement. I love doing shows at alternative venues because the audience actually wants to be there. At clubs a lot of the time it’s people who got free tickets or didn’t know what else to do on a Saturday night. At alternative venues, you have to search and plan for that. It’s word of mouth. Those people are always the best audience. I used to host a show in my living room called the king cobra comedy chateau and those were some of my favorite shows I’ve ever done. Also we handed out kind cobras so you know….we partied.
RM: How would you best describe a burlesque show to someone who has never attended one before? Is part of the magic of that art form the fact that a large part of the audience doesn’t really know what to expect from it?
JZ: Burlesque is a beautiful beast. I hate when people call it stripping because it’s not. It seems it’s not so much for the audience but more for the performer. For the first timer I say enjoy it and don’t expect anything. The great thing is that burlesque is truly an art form and it’s up to the artist what the story line is. It’s funny, smart, fabulous, exotic, thought provoking at times, and the pay off is you get to see some sweet titties depending on the nudity laws of the city. Just sit back and enjoy the show!
RM: Back in September you were involved in a workshop on crowd work through the Boston Comedy Arts Festival in Cambridge…What was the most important thing that you learned about your own act from that workshop; and when should a stand-up comic know that it’s time to wrap that portion of their set up?
JZ: that workshop was so fun (even thought the improvisers tried to steal the show) . I love doing crowd work and I love sharing my knowledge. It’s one of the scariest parts of being a comedian. You’re at the mercy of the crowd sometimes. I learned that I’m probably full of shit when it comes to crowd work, I break my own rules constantly, and improvisers cannot deal with limits. Usually you know it’s over when you can feel the air become thick….or someone starts crying.
RM: You’ve said before that you are comfortable with your shape…In an era where heroin chic and dietary craziness seem to be the norm, what advice would you give to younger full-figured women that are looking to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry?
JZ: The times they are a changin’! More bodies are being accepted by Hollywood these days and fuck Hollywood. Make your own shit and be your own sex machine. You don’t need anyone’s approval to be who you are.
RM: One of the things that I’ve noticed from watching your clips online is that you speak in a very calming tone as opposed to having an overbearing voice that drowns out the rest of the room. Why do you choose to avoid the whole “loud” method of onstage interaction; and why do you think that so many comics who are just starting out take that approach?
JZ: I am the same person I am off stage as I am on stage. I don’t think louder is funnier. It’s what you’re saying that counts. I think a lot of new comics do it as a way of being noticed. People come into comedy to be heard. A lot of us have stood by and stayed quiet out whole lives. Now we have a mic and an audience to hear us and if you’re not used to that it can be daunting. So you scream and hope something sticks. I find that talking like your having a conversation with your friends is best for my style.
RM: What is the one job within the entertainment industry that you would really like to have, but the opportunity has not presented itself just yet? Ten years from, do you think that you’ll be able to say that you’ve done it?
JZ: I really just want creative control. Movies, TV, or stand up, I want to be in charge and run the show. I feel like that is the ultimate goal for a lot of artists. Not to have idiots meddle in our work.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything in the works that we should know about?
JZ: 2014 was an amazing year, I experienced my highest highs and lowest lows. I mean really low. But right now I’m off the road and trying to become a known face in LA. It’s a lot of face time, hanging out, waiting at open mics. I started over again but I’m a better comic than I was 5 years ago. Hopefully that will make the transition easier. Taking it easy so that 2015 can be the best year ever!
Official Website: http://www.jennyzisnice.com/
Jenny on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=162100402&ref=ts
Jenny on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jennyzisnice
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