Aqua Girl presents Jessica Kirson as this year’s headliner
2011—the year of the funny woman. Bridesmaids. Tina Fey. Amy Poehler. Bridesmaids.
But do funny women exist without Judd Apatow or Lorne Michaels?
Pre- and post- Bridesmaids, Jessica Kirson is an out lesbian who has created her own comedic path. On May 4, she makes her way toward the Colony Theatre as comedy headliner for Aqua Girl 2012 in Miami.
Kirson has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Joy Behar Show, Celebrity Apprentice, and most recently The View on April 27.
Her comedy is fearless and direct, particularly when she talks about her weight: “The reason why you haven't seen Jared from Subway is because I ate him.”
On The View, Kirson mentioned how lately she has lost weight. The audience started to applaud, but she cut it short in a deadpan voice: “Don’t even clap—it’ll never fill the hole.”
Kirson also appears on The Jessy K Show, a YouTube series of her vlogs and videos at YouTube.com/user/TheJessyKShow.
“Unlock Your Inner Beauty/ Make-up Pro Tips” is a parody of beauty vlogs that has Kirson smearing grape jelly on her eyelids and relish on her lips. It’s as gross as it sounds, but it’s gratifying to see someone making fun of the women-must-be-perfect cult.
Other videos are like Candid Camera on mild psychedelics. Kirson dances and poses with mannequins at the mall. She asks Australian tourists in Central Park if they know where to find Carol. She wails and holds onto someone in an Elmo costume in Times Square as “free therapy.”
During a phone interview with SFGN, Kirson shared her thoughts about comedy and her upcoming performance at Aqua Girl.
How would you describe your comedy?
Very real, honest, high energy…I make a lot of faces, do a lot of characters.
You pursued an M.A. in social work at NYU—can you talk about what made you not want to follow that career?
Being a therapist was too heavy for me. I took on people’s problems too much. My mom is a therapist—[she] can see clients then have a great night. I couldn’t.
You’ve said in previous interviews that the social work background helps you connect to the audience—can you talk more about that?
I’m aware of people’s feelings, the energy in the room…the more you know about human nature, the better you do as a comedian.
Is there a way to turn bad audience energy around?
Every single comedian has an enormous number of bad audiences. You have to learn to turn it around. I address the truth… whether it’s low energy or the lighting is bad… I talk about it…if you address that it’s not going well and they laugh… [then] they’re with you.
What made you finally decide to go into comedy as a profession?
My grandmother suggested [a comedy class]… she said “people are hysterical whenever they’re around you.” I took a class and loved it.
What do you think about this current wave of women in comedy (such as Bridesmaids, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, etc.)?
It’s about time because there are some really funny women.
There are a ton of male comics that aren’t funny… [and] a ton of female comics that no one knows about, who are brilliant.
But I have male comics who say to me ‘I don’t see you as a female comic—just as a comic’ [and all comics] just want to be seen as comics whether you’re a woman or a man…[yet]… when it comes to business [the major comedy clubs] may have one hundred headliners, and three are women. Not many opportunities for women to get gigs as headliners.
What would you say to an LBT woman who wants to be a comic?
I encourage everyone to do comedy that wants to do it. It’s a little harder [for lesbians]…I do mainstream stuff. Some lesbian comics don’t. I don’t want to be labeled as a lesbian comic or female comic or Jewish comic. I’m just me.
If [you] only focus on [being a] lesbian comic, there’s not a ton of opportunity. There’s Olivia Cruises…Provincetown… [but] it’s a great network of women… I adore them.
What are your thoughts about attending Aqua Girl?
I’m very excited. I love the organization and the women who run it.
What are your thoughts about performing in Miami?
I’ve performed at the South Beach Comedy Festival. They’re fun crowds… [and] I love walking around South Beach—it’s beautiful.
Aqua Girl 2012 is takes place May 2-6 in South Beach. Visit AquaGirl.org for more information.
[If You Go]
What: Aqua Girl: A Night of Comedy with Jessica Kirson
When: 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, May 4
Where: Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Cost: $30-$35 (Members: $25 in advance)
More info: AquaGirl.org/aquagirl-tickets