As I continue to cover the local standup comedy scene, one things has become very clear in the time that I've published interviews: We have a ton of talent not getting the proper push. —- You could go through the list of names and give reasons why and why not, dictate about the time given on stage and weeding out what comes through the open mics, give praise to the underground circuit and giving time to talent – but the truth is we've got a surge of talent in SLC who aren't getting the praise they genuinely deserve. One of those names is Abi Harrison, who has risen through the ranks with her own quirky sense of humor, poking fun at her own life and the daily crap she's had to encounter. Today we chat with her about her career so far and the local standup scene. (All pictures courtesy of Harrison.
Gavin: Hey Abi, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have a baby and a husband. I do arts sometimes. I'm building a fence and it's taken me four months. I'm halfway done.
Gavin: What first got you interested in stand-up comedy, and who were some of your favorite comedians growing up?
I didn't know what stand-up was until after I did it the first time as instructed by a friend. I loved The Marx Bros. and The Muppets.
Gavin: How was it for you breaking into the local lineups and getting gigs?
It's fun meeting people and making connections. There are so many talented comedians in SLC and I'm always honored to be included on their shows. Producing shows is bull-shiz and I'm super grateful there are so many peeps organizing shows. Also I absolutely love Wiseguys, it's my home away from home and doing guest sets for touring headliners has helped me grow SO MUCH comedically. Super grateful to them for being so generous with time and opportunities. I'd be way more garbage without that.
Gavin: When you first started out, what were some of the lessons you learned about performing?
Don't ever hate the audience. Even if they hate you.
Gavin: What's it like for your personally coming up with material and decided what works and doesn't?
I've realized I don't need to try out everything I write. I only tell the stuff I like and kill the rest. Over time I've realized I'm always going to come up with more stuff, so I don't need to hold onto a joke if it's mediocre. Cutting stuff is just as important as writing stuff. I have bad judgment about what is good so I have to try stuff a lot before I know how good it is. I'm good at knowing when stuff sucks though. Audiences are good at letting you know that.
Gavin: You perform both in the big rooms in the state, as well as the underground circuit. How do the two differ for you in material/audiences and how do you find a balance between the two?
I appreciate whatever time I can get. I feel like the bigger rooms are more pressure and I push myself more to hone my stuff. I can do more relaxed and risque stuff in the “underground circuit,” and I love that.
Gavin: You've won a couple local competitions, including from the Salt Lake Comedy Festival. How is it for you having that kind of recognition?
It's SWEET! There are plenty of people better than me, that totes should have won, but It's great to have hosts introduce you as winning a competition because then audiences are like, “Oh other people like her, I should too!" And I'm totes into unearned rapport.
Gavin: Going local for a bit, what's your take on the stand-up scene, both good and bad?
I think it's great! I wish more people knew about shows and would come! We have too much talent for it to go unappreciated.
Gavin: Aside yourself, who are some of your favorites you like to check out around town?
How did you know I'm my favorite?! I'm not. I love so many of the comics! I love to laugh at Marty Archibald and Christian Pieper. Mark Molasses is someone we should all be looking out for. Steve Soelberg is also one of my favorites. There really are too many comedians to list by name. I'm way too lazy.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on the clubs that provide comedians a forum to perform, and the work they do to help bring in audiences?
Like I said before, I'm super grateful. I love stand-up so much and with out learning from the pros I would be way behind where I am now. I'm not great, but I'm way better than a year ago. That's due to the advice and opportunities other people have given me.
Gavin: Whats your opinion of national stand-up comedians coming through town and what that does for the local scene?
It brings attention to the local scene and brings more people out to shows. I think it's essential to our legitimacy. You need outside peeps so you don't get comedy inbreeding. And obviously they are way more experienced than most of us locals.
Gavin: What advice do you have for people looking to getting into standup comedy?
Do it. And then do it again. And if you don't want to kill yourself, do it again. Don't expect too much from yourself.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
I'm working hard to get better and hopefully you will see the fruits of my labors.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Let's be friends! Follow me on Twitter
, I usually try to tweet about upcoming shows, mine and otherwise.