Jackie Monahan is a hilarious, irreverent, and (totally-not-the-point-but-she-is) really hot comedian, headlining at clubs and colleges around the country. Currently cutting audiences up on the LOL tour, Jackie won Time Out New York‘s “Joke of the Year” award, starred in the acclaimed film, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, ran a hit podcast on the HERE Network called Girls on Girls, and is a featured performer on LOGO’s One Night Stand Up Part 2 special. An out lesbian, Jackie makes everyone laugh with her witty observations of gay life, sketch comedy pieces, and perfect timing. Her comedy, Prime Comedy Jam, can be seen on-demand on Showtime.
Krista Burton (interviewer) is the author of the popular, award-winning blog, Effing Dykes, a blog about harnessing your lesbian gaydar. She likes girls more than anything in the world, and she writes about them from her home in Chicago — if you’re a loyal Daily BR!NK reader, you might notice that she was featured on the site a few months ago.
Hi Jackie! I’m Krista.
Hi Krista! I love your blog.
Oh, thank you! I think you’re hilarious. How did you get started in comedy?
Really, my friends pushed me to do it in Rhode Island. It was kind of a hobby while I was in school, and then I met my girlfriend and she said I was hilarious and forced me to move to NY to do stand-up.
How do you come up with jokes? Let’s take the one about breasts.
(“I hate the word ‘breast.’ But people look at me funny in restaurants when I order grilled chicken titties.”)
I just thought it was funny that they’re called breasts. Chicken breasts. It’d be funny to mistakingly call them chicken nipples, and that’s where the joke came from. But I certainly don’t hate the word “breast.”
Everyone always hates moist. I don’t have a problem with it.
Yeah. I find that gay men and straight women hate the word moist. People who aren’t into…
So you’re a lesbian. Me too! I don’t know how you identify. “Femme”?
Not really. People identify me as “femme.” I was never butch, even when I try to be.
Wait, back it up. What’s your idea of butch?
No makeup, baseball hat, jeans, baggy t-shirts… Before I came out I’d wear a leather coat, combat boots, and I dressed more like a stereotypical lesbian. A year after I came out I started liking dresses.
I totally feel you. See, when I first came out, I pierced my lips to look gayer and that didn’t work. [laughs] It could be cowboy boots, ripped up jeans, or the lip-pierced thing, but nothing. Would you say that most of your comedy is lesbian-centric?
Half of it is. People know I’m gay, but I don’t talk about it necessarily. I do a lot of gay shows, so I like to put in the lesbian jokes when the occasion arises.
If you don’t mind me saying, you’re pretty hot. Do you think that having other people perceive you as attractive helps them appreciate you more?
You know, I get mixed responses. My best friend was part of the audience once, and he told me that the women were like, “ugh,” and hated me, while the men were banging their hands, bent-over laughing. But other times straight women like me a lot.
It’s contextual, right?
Totally. I was just in a movie, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (more on that later, you can bet), and when it showed in Los Angeles, at least thirty separate people commented on one scene and said it was their favorite. In all of the other cities it had screened at, no one had even talked about it. It might only take one person to laugh for others to look at the scene differently. It depends. I have found that gay men are my favorite audiences, though.
I think gay men are everybody’s favorite audiences. [laughs]
They’re the best because you can cross the line.
They want you to! Now what does your family think about you being a comic and the jokes that you tell?
Well, most people didn’t want me to do it except for my girlfriend. They thought it was an unrealistic goal to do… but my family loves me and wants me to be okay, so it’s normal. But then I started being successful, and if I even started doing anything other than comedy now my mom will freak out.
Success really changes people’s original conceptions…
Right, right. My girlfriend’s grandmother thought it was really weird when she first heard some of the songs I wrote for my podcast series, but when she learned that I was a comedian, she started laughing and now claps her hands at anything I do. I can get away with anything…
Forgetting birthdays or Christmas. It’s okay…
…because I’m a comedian. [laughs]
Now… Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same. You need to tell us about that.
[laughs] Everybody sees it and thinks it’s sci-fi, but it’s really not. It’s written very much like Manhattan, but the three main characters just happen to be lesbians and aliens. The film got great reviews from Variety and the Hollywood Reporter saying that it appealed to a mainstream audience.
Does your girlfriend mind being part of your comedy?
No, she’s amazing, actually. The New York City premiere of Codependent took place on a rooftop to a sold-out audience of a thousand people, and gay marriage was passed in the middle of the movie. The director went up at the end of the screening and announced it. During the Q&A, someone asked me a question and I just couldn’t concentrate… I said, “Sorry, but gay marriage just passed and my girlfriend of ten years is in the audience so I’m terrified she’ll want to get married.” Let’s face it, she has to have a sense of humor.
Have you ever crossed the line by talking about her during your shows?
Yeah, all the time!
Same here. I get in trouble a lot with my girlfriend. Like, “Really? Really? We’re going to talk about the sex toys that we use?”
I would leave it open-ended so people don’t know if I’m serious.
Do you think that offensive jokes get the most laughs?
Yeah, I think they do. Laughter really is a surprise, a relief of tension. When something is surprisingly offensive, it’s such a relief of tension to be able to laugh at it that it works well with audiences.
What are you working on now?
I’m filming another movie with the director of Codependent (Madeleine Olnek) next month in New York. I’m also currently on the National Tour of “Curiously Strong Comedy” with comedians Gloria Bigelow and Vickie Shaw. Finally, I actually wrote a sitcom that a friend of mine and I just shot with an awesome director, so we’ll shop it around. We wrote twelve episodes, and it’s my huge passion right now.
Um… eh. It’ll give it away. My co-writer wouldn’t want me to. You’ll like it. You’ll love it! [laughs]