It takes a lot to make people laugh, but for this week’s Salted Spotlight it seems to come easy and in hefty, hilarious doses. Fierce and fearless are just two of the words to describe Vicky Kuperman, comedian, author, writer, producer and all-around inspiring woman blazing a trail for females in the male-saturated world of comedy. Named “one of 12 new comedians to watch” by Marlo Thomas, no less, Kuperman is a force on the comedy festival circuit, having worked with comedy legend David Brenner, as well as proving her talent as a writer, penning her own highly reviewed debut novel. And how does she do it all? It has a bit to do with weird dreams and burritos. Read on!
SALTED SPOTLIGHT: Vicky Kuperman
So, what do you do for a living?
When did you decide you wanted to be in comedy?
I’m not so sure I want to be in comedy.
You’re a stand-up comedian as well as a writer, penning your own debut novel “The Russian Drop” and co-writing short films that have been featured on the likes of Funny or Die. How would you describe your writing process, and what’s one absolutely necessary thing that helps you get in the writing zone?
I usually think of ideas as I’m falling asleep. I reach for my pen but can’t find it. Then I fall asleep and have weird dreams and analyze those dreams with a social worker, coming to the conclusion that I’m scared of attention. Then I get a burrito, go to an open mic, talk about nonsense for seven minutes, go home, read over what I just said and realize that I had one good joke that might work if I completely re-write the premise and the punch line. Then I go to sleep and the cycle repeats itself.
We have to be honest, performing stand-up looks really intimidating. Is it as hard as it looks? What’s been your most challenging moment? Your most rewarding?
The most challenging moment has been performing for 30 minutes with laryngitis. I really respect mimes now!
The most rewarding moment has to be when I performed in a grocery store in Portland, OR in 2009. I was doing comedy in front of the beer fridge. Someone strolled by me with a shopping cart and asked me to reach into the fridge for them in the middle of my performance, as I was blocking them from their happy drink. I reached in grabbed a six-pack of Yeungling. They said “How’d you know? That’s my favorite!” We hi-fived and hugged. I went back to performing with a smile on my face.
What does work/life balance mean to you?
It means saying NO a lot and being okay with it.
What are two essential tips you would give to a budding comedian? Anything different to a budding comedienne?
My tips for women and men in comedy are the same:
1) You can say “No, I can’t go to your wedding on Saturday night. I have a show.” You can say this EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A SHOW! It’s one of the few advantages of being a comedian.
2) The audience is really important. Without them, comedy would be really, really, really hard.
Speaking of women in comedy, who do you admire most when it comes to female comedians today?
All of them! But not the assholes. That goes for the guys, too.
You’ve been called “fierce,” “fearless” and “ferociously funny.” What’s another “F” word that describes you?
Honest. Oh wait, that doesn’t start with an “F.” Okay: Fhonest.
Who (living or non) would you want to play you in your life’s movie?
Daniel Day Lewis.
If Russian Drop were a cocktail what would be in it?
Vodka with lychee and the sweet taste of revenge.
What’s next for you?
I am performing and recording my one-hour stand-up show in the United Solo Theatre Festival in September on Theatre Row in Manhattan! The first two dates are already sold out but a third date has been added:
Tuesday September 30th at 730 pm.
Info & tickets here: http://www.unitedsolo.org/us/2014-whenicouldfeel
[Ed. Note: Vicky will also be performing at a Salted Scarletry co-sponsored event in East Harlem, July 31 - more details here!]
Moscow-born Boston native, New York City rat-packer and recently named “one of 12 new comedians to watch” on The Huffington Post, Vicky Kuperman has performed at countless festivals nationwide, including the renowned Boston Comedy Festival (where, in 2012, she was a finalist—one of only four women to have reached that round in the festival’s 13-year history). When she is not performing live, Vicky is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and writer, director and star of short films that appear across the Internet, notably on Funny or Die.
In 2013, she published her debut novel “The Russian Drop”, available as an e-book on amazon.com and in paperback as of May of 2014. She has been featured on The Maxim Comedy Showcase, on NickMom TV, Sirius Satellite Radio & Comcast and was presented by comedy legend David Brenner on several shows as part of his tour “David Brenner Presents: Comedy Stars of Tomorrow.”