The Spotlight on … Liz Miele

Welcome to Liz Miele! She’s a dry, smart stand-up who’s over from New York to hit the London clubs. You may have seen her smash-hit YouTube clip called Feminist Sex Positions. Say hello …

Liz Miele comedian

Liz. Please introduce yourself to the London is Funny readers.
Hi! I’m Liz Miele. I’m a stand-up comic based in NYC performing in February. I have a [New] Jersey accent and a friend of mine told me that British people would find it exotic and attractive. I’m here for a month to see if that is true 😛

How does one pronounce “Miele”?

Where are you as we speak? Paint us a picture.
In my bedroom in Brooklyn, NY, at my desk surrounded by an obscene amount of Post-its (I have a post-it problem), a jar of peanut butter, tea, my comedy notes and notebooks and many pictures of cats, comedians and donuts. I decorate like a teenager who’s just run away from home.

What’s your style/vibe/thang?
The short answer is I tell a lot of cat and break-up jokes. I am the Taylor Swift of comedy (is she big here? [hell yeah – Ed]) The longer answer is I’m a very angry tiny person who thinks and reads too much and just wants people to understand her. So I go to great lengths to explain my crazy feelings and actions to strangers, I guess so I feel less crazy.

What have you heard about British audiences and clubs? What’s our rep?!
That you guys like dry humor but you don’t emote. I performed in London for week last year and didn’t find that to be true.

Who do you find funny?
I love philosophical comedy, comics who makes me think. My faves are George Carlin, Bill Burr, Louis CK Mitch Helberg, Greg Giraldo, Eddie Izzard, Wanda Sykes, Ted Alexandro, Kathleen Madigan, Dave Chappelle. The list goes on forever.

What have been your best and worst gigs?
There are too many, both good and bad, to answer specifically. In general the best gigs are usually when I’m working on new bits and just being myself and clicking with the audience. I don’t have to kill, I just need to be challenging myself and doing something new. The worst gigs are when I give up; when I assume I can’t turn a show around or judge the audience and don’t try. Bombing doesn’t make it necessary the worst gig. Although it’s never fun.

When you came up with your Feminist Sex Positions routine, did you know it was a winner straight away?
Actually no, it started out as a story about the weird friendship I have with my little brother, Sam, and how I didn’t know how to handle him telling this sex position joke. I was trying to find what was funny about it and it was long and had some funny points, but nothing all that exciting. After a month I started talking about why the sex position joke itself bothered me and I had written one feminist sex position but I stopped really working on it for a month and then Sam gave me a good idea for a second position. So I was like, I just need to think of one more and I have a full joke!

Preferred method of taking down a heckler?
I actually try to talk to them calmly and find out what they really want. I try to talk to them as a person. Even when they are drunk and find out if they need something, appease them if I can and move on and explain to them that interrupting the show isn’t the best way to go about it. If that doesn’t work, I like to turn the whole audience on them and let them know that I do this for a living, and I’m probably better at talking than them. But I do try my best to talk to them before I try to destroy them. If they really piss me off, I just go right at them. There is a video online of me doing just that.

What one thing about comedy do you wish people had told you before you started it?
That some stuff you won’t know how to do until you get there and there’s no learning it before. Like you can’t make a set flow until you’ve written so much and know yourself so well that everything you write comes from a single framework. But you can’t know that until you’re there, and you can’t understand that until you’ve done the work.

What do you ultimately want to do with your comedy? What’s the dream?
The dream has changed so much over the years. I’d love to tour the world doing comedy (doing it … but with lots of adoring fans and more money and stuff) but also write and produce my own tvTVshows. I have an animated web series about broken robots adopted by humans called Damaged that I’d love to see get made as well as a sitcom about a depressed, vet school drop-out who works at her parents’ cat clinic while she figures out her life called Declawed. I like writing about broken people who overcome and inspiring people with my jokes and my scripts.

And finally, if you were to appear on a chat show as a guest, what would be your walk-on music?
Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie by Jay and the Techniques. You can’t be sad listening to that song, it’s so good.

• Thanks to Liz – here is Liz’s list of gigs in London and beyond, and you here’s her debut album, Emotionally Exhausting

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