I'm not sure how many times I need to write the words "you should be checking out local stand-up comedy," but: You should be checking out local stand-up comedy. The plethora of talent currently taking over whatever stages are at their disposal—and giving you hours of fantastic hilarity—is astounding. We're in a really awesome place when it comes to variety and freedom in the genre, which not too many cities can boast. One of the rising names in the scene is Emily Fox, who took a moment to chat with us about her career and the work coming out of the local scene. (All pictures courtesy of Fox.
Emily Fox on Twitter
Gavin: Hey three, Emily! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a very analytical and literal person, so I’ll start with giving you statistical facts about myself. I’m 29, 5’ 3.5” tall, 115 lbs. Mixed raced, brown eyes and blonde hair (for now). I’m a mom—I have two sons, Bozly, 7, and Kyson, 5. I work full-time customer service and part-time assembling journals for Red Barn Collections. More abstract things about me: I’m really good at making everything awkward. I overthink everything. I tend to look a bit lost, or confused, or unamused when I’m processing the world around me, which is always. I’m easily amused. I love people, and I love animals and trying new things.
Gavin: What first got you interested in stand-up comedy, and who were some of your favorite comedians growing up?
I kind of stumbled into it. I met a guy on OKCupid who does stand up, and we casually dated, sort of, for a couple of months. I’d go watch him at the open mic at Mo’s Diner every Tuesday, and then we’d hang out afterward. We didn’t work out, but I really liked going to Mo’s every week, so I decided to stick around. I didn’t really watch stand-up growing up. Probably the first comedians that I really connected to were Ellen DeGeneres and Jim Gaffigan. I like relatable, storytelling kind of comedy.
Gavin: What officially brought on the decision for you to attempt it as a career?
Career? Hahehehahahahoohohaha, thinking about me with a comedy career makes me do my nervous giggle. Right now, I would probably describe what I’m doing more as an expensive hobby. I’m just at the beginning of my journey; I’ve got a lot of work to do still. If I were to be completely honest, though, what got me to stay and give it a go is my love of a good challenge, and spite. Going to open mic every week and listening to guys talk about their dicks and watching porn, and not seeing hardly any girls, and being rejected, I became a woman with a mission.
Gavin: How has it been for you breaking into the local lineups and getting gigs?
I’m still trying to figure out how all this works. I’m just making everything up as I go. I did only open mic every week for a whole year. I didn’t ask to be put on any shows, and no one ever offered. Steve McInelly was the first to reach out to me and have me on a K-Town Komedy show in March. No one asked after that, which made me realize I have speak up if I want to do more shows. So when Joy Lane, who runs Veterans 4 Veterans Comedy, asked if anyone was interested in trying a new venue, I jumped on that. I’ve done a few of her shows now.
Gavin: When you first started out, what were some of the lessons you learned about performing?
Hold the mic close to your mouth, and don’t move it. You still have to speak loudly, even with a mic. Confidence is everything. Fake it if you have to. And take the time to rehearse your set so you don’t have to rely on notes.
Gavin: What's it like for you personally coming up with material and deciding what works and doesn’t?
I write jokes based off of what makes me laugh, and things I say that have made other people laugh. My comedy stems from my life. If it’s not working, I re-work it. Almost anything can be funny if you can figure out the right words, and the right delivery.
Gavin: How is it for you interacting with other local comedians, both as friends and competitors?
They’re all friends right now. I don’t see them as competition. Or possibly, I don’t see me as competition to them— yet. Honestly, I truly love the comedy scene. I’ve met so many amazing people. It’s exposed me to so many other new opportunities too. I’m a shy little hermit. Comedy has brought me out of my shell and has made my life so much more interesting.
Gavin: What has it been like for you as a woman comedian coming into a scene that's much more balanced in gender equality than other comedy scenes?
I don’t know if I would call it balanced yet, but it can definitely get there. There are definitely some really great female comics in Salt Lake, and there are some awesome ladies who came onto the scene after me. I hope that trend continues. Right now, comedy is still a sausage fest. Hey, ladies! If you’ve ever wanted to try comedy, you should do it!
Gavin: What's your take on our standup scene and the work coming out of it?
I think Salt Lake is a great incubator for new comedians. There are open mics several times a week, several comedians have their own established monthly, or quarterly shows, and a couple of festivals. Lots of chances to get out and get better at your craft. There’s really no excuse not to do well out here.
Gavin: Aside yourself, who are some of your favorites you like to check out around town?
How much time do we have? Let's see—Natashia Mower, Jason Harvey, Nicholas Smith, Jay Whittaker, Eileen Dobbins, Amerah Ames, Christopher Stephenson, Levi Rounds, Joy Lane, Emily Jay, Melissa Merlot and Christopher James.
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?
I don’t know if I’m the person to ask about that. I haven’t ever performed at them, not even at an open mic. From an outside perspective, it seems like a boys club. For me personally, I’ve been doing fine working with people who are creating new opportunities.
Gavin: What would you say the impact of events like the SLC Comedy Fest and the Comedy Carnivale have had on local performers?
I think they are amazing opportunities for comedians to get in front of larger audiences. I hope to enter them this year.
Gavin: What advice do you have for people looking to getting into standup comedy?
It’s not going to happen for you if you’re just thinking about it. You’ve just to get out there and try it. And keep showing up.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
Follow Veterans 4 Veterans Comedy. That right now is where my opportunities to deliver the laughs are. The next show is August 21 at the American Legion Post 71 in Murray. Anything else that comes my way, I’ll blast on social media via Twitter
. I’m building my YouTube channel
, too, so you can subscribe to that if you want to see some sets and random videos.