Can you turn a supermodel into a comedian?
I’ve been comedian for nearly thirty years. I have been coaching comedians, (formally), for about six years. During that time I’ve had a lot of thrills, but nothing can replace the feeling you get when you receive a text like this:
“You changed my life.”
About two years ago, I was sitting at home writing and the phone rang. The voice on the other end of the line was a woman’s. There was an accent. I couldn’t figure it out where it was from.
You know when you can’t quite figure out the accent right away?
The woman’s voice said, “Hello. I’m so glad you answered. My name is Eugenia Kuzmina. I am a model and I want to be a stand-up comedian.”
“Tell me about yourself,” I said. She said she was Russian and that she had always been interested by stand-up comedy and that I came highly recommended. (I’ll take flattery anywhere I can get it so, listened further).
I was on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to take her on as a student. I believe you can teach anyone the craft of comedy. I’ve taught people who I was told were the “most unfunny person I’ve ever met,” and I’ve taught people with brain damage and I’ve learned long ago not to prejudge anyone’s ability.
I got beyond that a long time ago. There have been too many young comedians, athletes and musicians have proved me wrong.
But I was busy and I didn’t want someone who was going to be a headache. So I said to this model: “I’m going to send you an email with an introduction. Let’s pretend that I am an emcee introducing you on the stage. I want you to answer the email and come up with a response that you think is funny.”
In the email said: “Ladies and Gentlemen, our next performer comes to us from the world of high fashion. In fact she must be really hungry because I just saw her in the green room devouring an entire Tic-Tac. Please help me welcome, Eugenia Kuzmina!”
About twenty minutes later, I received an email from Eugenia. Her response was: “Devouring an entire Tic-Tac. That is funny, but not true. I am a model, I would never eat an entire meal at one sitting…”
We booked our first meeting.
Since then, Eugenia has appeared the World Famous Comedy Store a number of times, she has signed with several new agents (because of stand-up), and recently booked her first appearance as a comedian in Las Vegas in the Paul Scally Show at the Grand Hotel.
Now Eugenia has been doing some impromptu sketch comedy, pulling pranks with the public, including a prank she pulled in France at the Cannes Film Festival that has studios requesting meetings… to do comedy.
So can you turn a supermodel into a comedian? Time will tell, but I think the answer is leaning toward a resounding “YES.”
Now, I know some people are going to get upset about this post. Some might suggest that I’m focusing on what society might consider as “pretty.”
The point of this post is not to create an argument about who or what is ‘pretty’ in this business. The point of the post is to direct attention to the fact that the face of comedy is changing.
Traditionally, women who were considered “pretty” weren’t looked at as serious comedians. But as a comedian, part of what I do is to shatter the status quo.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that females can be funny. I believe that the precedent that was set by Johnny Carson set nearly thirty years ago when he said that pretty women don’t belong in comedy was flawed.
Not only that, I believe that they don’t have to play down their femininity to get a laugh. Amy Schumer has been proving that and I’ve had several female comedians in my classes who are beautiful AND funny who’ve gone on to have success.
I’ve coached the lovely actress Sascha Knopf, to help her reach the finals of California’s Funniest Female,
I worked with Andi Wagner-Barton (bottom-left) who went on to get an agent, book several commercials and her first role in a film.
And I’m fortunate enough to work with the lovely and feisty Laura Lee Botsacos. Who just booked her first paid gig at Aces Comedy Club in Murrieta, CA.
It’s fun and heart-warming to be a part of a movement that has (pardon the pun) dug its heels into the comedy scene around the globe and is changing the perception of what has been traditionally recognized as funny.
So ladies, whether you’re a supermodel or an athlete; a mom or a nerd, if you’ve thought about doing stand-up, (or taking a class)–just like these ladies–success on the comedy stage could be just around the corner.
Drop by the Comedy Clinic to say “hi,” or sit in a class. Our comedy community is amazing and supportive. And in our green room, we even have Tic-Tacs.