by Ryan Meehan
Meghan Hanley is a Brooklyn based, comedian, writer and actress. This past year she appeared on AXSTV’s “Gotham Comedy Live,” as well as Fox’s “Laughs.” She’s performed at The Boston, Out of Bounds, Laughing Skull and Women in Comedy Festivals. Last year she was a the second runner-up in The “She-Devil Festival,” in New York City. Meghan is a regular on the NYC circuit and has been opening for Nick DiPaolo over the past year. She’s known for her quick wit and upbeat persona. She also smiles a lot which some people find suspicious, but she’s mostly endearing. Meghan is also my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: Did you really have aspirations of becoming a professional ice skater? If so, when did you finally realize that dream was not going to come to fruition?
MH: Yes, and what do you mean by “Not going to come to fruition?” Kidding. Yes, I was obsessed with figure skating as a kid. It all started with the Calgary Olympics in ’88, and the rivalry between Katarina Witt and Debbie Thomas. A German vs. a black chick, when do you see that in figure skating? Ironically, that was also the winter I learned about communism. In the end it’s a good thing Kat won, or who knows what would’ve happened to her. I imagine she’d have to perform her winning number in public until the wall came down. I think I realized it was over for me around the age of 12, not because of me lack of skills (which there was, big time,) but I realized I could never catch up to all those kids who started training when they were 3. I told my Mom she deprived me of my dream, which was by the way, me winning an Olympic Gold medal, skating to the Notre Dame fight song, dressed as a leprechaun. When it really comes down to it, she deprived me of nothing. I can barely keep my balance in a yoga class, let alone on ice!
RM: I see that you follow sports intensely, and unfortunately I would assume by your tweets that you are a New York Jets fan…Other than changes in the organizational structure and coaching staff, what kind of changes need to be made on the field in order to get you guys back over .500 and set for a return to the postseason?
MH: Yes, I am a Jets fan (sigh.) I can’t say I am a diehard because the Jets don’t do anything hard. This past year was pathetic, not just the losses, but every time they were on the verge of winning they’d get in a fist fight on the field. Are you crazy? You have one win and you want to pick a fight with Steelers?! Morons. In my opinion any team who’s been around for more than 50 years and has less than 3 championships is a failure of an institution and that comes from the top. I’m not saying it’s easy to win a Championship, but the owner needs to have a vision, and the drive to pull it off. He needs to invest more than his money in order to see success and that’s where the Jets have always been lacking. (This is the part of interview where you realize I’m a Yankee fan, and I feel that if there were more people like George Steinbrenner out there, America wouldn’t be broke. But I digress..) What are we talking about? Oh right, the Jets. Aside from management, you need a great Quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Decent, doesn’t cut it, and rookie, mediocre, almost can only get you so far. Until the Jets can a great quarterback, that they have the balls to believe in and not trade or bench to please the media, they won’t be contenders. Fortunately, for me, I love football. The Jets winning or losing doesn’t affect me that much as long as I’m able to watch great games. This year has been amazing. So many good teams.
RM: Of the comedy clubs to perform at in the Big Apple, which one would be your favorite to perform at and why? What is it about the energy of that particular venue that makes it so much different from the others?
MH: Anyone that books me. I’m serious. There are different things I love about different clubs, but the thing that will hold you back in comedy is repetition. Performing the same jokes, performing at the same club, performing for the same types of people. Comics need change constantly to keep us sharp. This doesn’t mean I don’t have my favorites, but I’ll keep that to myself. I will say this though, the best comic produced bar show in the city is “Gandhi, is that you?”, produced by Lance Weiss and Brendan Fitzgibbons on Wednesday nights at 9. Always packed, and I love those guys.
RM: What do we need to know about “Seeking Sublet”; and how did you come to be involved with that project?
MH: “Seeking Sublet” is a web series created by Katie Tabaldi and Josie Chia. It’s about 2 roommates who are always looking for the perfect third roommate (For more info check out www.seekingsublet.com) As we already discovered from filming the first season, everyone has a roommate story. Some are insane! Before we shot the first episode we did some mock interviews for a sizzle reel in which people would tell stories about their bad roommates. At least I thought they were mock. Mine started in some truth, but I exaggerated and rambled and made stuff up. Then I found out some people’s were true, and felt very grateful that I’ve never lived with a lunatic. I got involved with the project through Katie, who I used to intern with at SNL with 12 years ago. She brought me in to audition and read with a few people as the lead. I didn’t get the part, but they offered me a supporting role, as one of the bad roommates. I took the part and offered to help in anyway I could behind the scenes. I worked as a PA on several of the shoots and it really gave me a chance to learn so much more about the filming process. As an actor, when you’re not shooting you’re off in an air conditioned room, hanging out, lounging. When you’re working on the set, there is no down time. You’re either changing the lighting, moving props, marking spots, running errands and trying not to move while the actors are filming. It gave me a greater appreciation for how films and shows are made, and made me less tolerant of impatient actors.
RM: For such a big city, New York’s comedy community seems very tight-knit and a lot of the comics appear to get along really well…Would you say that most of the time you agree with that assumption; and who are some of the comedians in the five boroughs that you enjoy working with the most?
MH: Yes, some comics feel like family. There are so many people in the comedy community that I love seeing, especially my girls. I’ve always been felt very comfortable hanging out with a group of guys, and a little of an outsider when it comes to having a lot of girlfriends. To me it felt like something was off inside me, and then I started meeting other female comics and it all clicked. (I told this to a friend of mine from college and she thought I was coming out to her. I was like no, what I’m trying to tell you is I have friends, like me, who aren’t married, aren’t trying to get pregnant, aren’t worried about a mortgage or a 9-5 job. It’s refreshing. OK, I didn’t say the refreshing part, or anything after the “like me” part, but it might have been implied. By the way, if that is your life, I’m not judging, that’s awesome, it’s just not my life, and when you’re the only one of your friends without that life, you think you are the problem.) So yeah, female comics. If there’s more then pone female comic on a show we often find each other and without planning it, usually have some in depth discussion about our lives. I’ve had so many conversations that start with “You look great!” and end with, “So my uterus is..”All within five minutes. It’s like we are therapists for each other and we don’t even know it. It’s saved from walking away from this business so many times.
RM: If you had to rate your social networking game on a scale of one to ten, what score would you give yourself and why? Do you ever use Twitter or Facebook as mediums by which to test out new material that you will eventually use on stage?
MH:Ugh. Ha, there’s you’re answer. I wish none of it existed and we all had to talk to each other. And if we didn’t want to be talked to we could disappear, not feel pressure to post, and create a totally different life that no one could Google check. But it’s not the world we live in. Sometimes social media is amazing, but for the most part it makes me sad. I always feel a step behind, and when that happens, I have to tell myself to look at my own profile and realize that I’m full of shit too. We only put the best of ourselves out there. In a sense we are all cat fishing ourselves.
RM: What’s the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to you in all of your time doing stand-up? How did you respond to the situation at the time, and how would you handle it differently if it happened at your next show?
MH: I did a show at funeral home. The mic was set up for eulogies and no one could hear. I ended up performing on a folding chair with no mic in the middle of the room. Always do a proper sound check and never, if possible perform in a long narrow room, or a funeral home.
RM: When it comes to joke construction, which part of the writing process do you find that you struggle with the most? Which aspect of the process do you enjoy the most or have found yourself to be extremely good at?
MH: The writing. I hate sitting down to write. But once I get into it, I really do enjoy it, for about 45 minutes to an hour, then I’m over it. I like to think on my feet, literally I take walks and wither listen to my sets or just think about bits. I try not to visibly talk to myself out loud, but as I get older, I care less. The best part is performing. The worst part of performing for me is right before a show starts. I have some many questions in mind of what’s going to happen up there. I try to tell myself to just relax and see what’s going to happen, but I can’t really do that till I’m on stage. If they’re a good crowd things just happen. I love interacting with a crowd and segueing back into material. It feels natural, because it is. You’re at a party and we are killing it. A good crowd makes comics better. Most of the time when people come up to me after a show to say, “Thank you, you were great, “I turn to them and say, “You guys were great!” I’m sure some people think I’m kidding, but I’m not. When a crowd is tight, or angry, or uncomfortable everybody feels it. So if you go to a show, relax and have fun. It’s a win, win.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MH: I’m going to keep on rocking and rolling.. just kidding I’m not going to start quoting Dirk Diggler at this point. I want to continue getting better at what I do. I hope to keep working at more and more clubs, writing, telling better jokes, connecting with more people. I’m working on some writing and film projects write now, and we will see where they end up. It’s hard to tell. My overall goal is to be one of the best comics in the city, and to make some money. Hopefully they go hand in hand.
Meghan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MegHanleyComedian
Meghan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/themeghanhanley
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