The Great Big Comedy Pile-Up: Part Two

A daisy chain of appreciation.

We published part one of this series last November. We thought part two would come, like, two months later, but we hit a snag when a star of stage and screen politely declined to be part of it. Then, um, work and life piled up and we just did not get it together to continue the chain…until now.

We love comedy, and we know that the people who know best who’s really killing it out there are other comedians. So, we asked a bunch of them to write about other comedians and comedy writers whose work they admire. We’re basically using our jobs to force very busy people to introduce us and you to our new favorite comics.

We’re starting this time where we left off—with Gina Yashere, who’s been on Last Comic Standing, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, and a jillion other things. She she was the first Brit on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, and the first (and only) black female comedian on Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show.

Why I Love Erin Foley

By Gina Yashere

The first time I saw Erin Foley perform, I had just moved to L.A. and went out one night to a comedy club, where she was on a conveyer belt of like 4 million comics. 3,999,999 of them I don’t even remember to this day. But Erin stood out. I was struck by her energy, confidence, and really intelligent, well-crafted material. And, of course, she was hilarious.

Most comedians tend not to laugh much at other comics—we analyze their sets, saying things like “That was nice” or “I like what she/he did there,” instead of actually laughing. But when Erin was onstage, I found myself howling the entire time. Before this, the only jokes I had ever physically laughed at were my own.

From that point, I started to check her out (i.e., stalk her). Erin runs a monthly comedy night called Gays R Us in Hollywood; that’s where I first got to see her in her element, doing a full set. She’s such a pleasure to watch—she’s absolutely comfortable in her own skin, which gives her performances a sense of freedom and manic abandon.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Erin many times since then, and she is always tirelessly experimenting and trying out new material. She never rests on her comedy laurels, which is one of the marks of a great comedian.

I truly love and appreciate comedy, and it’s great to meet someone who also is also lovingly committed to the craft, and not just using mediocre comedy as a steppingstone to acting work.

I’m proud to have Erin as my peer. I won’t call her my friend yet, as she is totally shit at returning phone calls. Maybe this piece will help…

Why I Love Jackie Kashian

By Erin Foley

Every comic I meet knows and loves Jackie Kashian. But I hold the title of president of the Jackie Kashian Fan Club. I’m sure someone is reading this article thinking, Wait she’s my wife, so I’m president of her fan club, or She’s my sister, so I’m the president. To them I say, “I’ll fight you. I’ll sweep your leg.” OK, that’s not going to happen, because I hate confrontation; the point is, Jackie Kashian is my favorite. If comedy itself had a president, it would be her. Allow me to construct a campaign platform.

Jackie Kashian is #1 in the following categories:

1. Number of clubs performed in across the country.
2. Number of comics performed with.
3. Quantity and quality of horrible and awesome road stories.
4. Hours of successful material.
5. Love of standup comedy.
6. Dedication and perseverance.

Last year Jackie asked me to open for her somewhere in California for about a hundred bucks, and I said yes without knowing where it was or what was going to happen, because it’s Jackie. Turns out the show was seven hours north of Los Angeles and we were driving. I met her in Van Nuys at five in the morning. What? Where? Why? Because it’s Jackie. Over two days, we spent 14 hours in the car listening to books on tape (sci-fi, Sara Vowell) and talking about our crazy families and all things comedy. I learned so much about the business and the art of standup from the ultimate student of the game. I left the car a total groupie.

Jackie can connect with any crowd, anywhere. We (the entire comedy community) have a running joke that she’s seen it all, done it all, and worked with everyone. If someone were to do an impression of Jackie, it would go something like this: “Hey guys, anyone ever play the Comedy Shack in Bumbleweed, Indiana?” (Nobody ever has.) “I did four hours each night, got paid in absinthe and graham crackers, and the owner of the club kept putting cocaine around the rim of his margarita. Great crowds though, I wonder if that room is still happening?” Her love of standup is complete, and infectious.

Jackie is a master craftsman who seamlessly weaves stories and jokes throughout her routine. Her brain is beautiful. You want to crawl inside of it, make popcorn, and hang out. She’s not just a successful comedian, she’s one of the best.

Why I love Erin Jackson

By Jackie Kashian

Erin Jackson is one of my favorite comics. Her material is personal, interesting, and unique. The punch lines are both twisty and full of common sense. I love watching her on stage, both as a fellow comic and as a regular audience member. She’s got lines and premises that make me shout out (in my head—I’m sure we all appreciate that I’m not actually shouting in comedy clubs), “YES. Perfect! That’s so great!”

We all know hardworking comics that should, by all rights, be famous (if talent and work were the criteria for fame). But by my standards, Erin has already won the ridiculous game of show-bidness. She is hilarious, and she’s making a living from her work…and she is loved and respected by her peers. That’s all I think we can expect from our work, our calling, our lives: to be able to do that which we love, for a living, and to be appreciated and respected for what we do.

I met Erin in Las Vegas when I was on the show Last Comic Standing. Think about those two things: nothing good should come of meeting someone in Vegas, and anything to do with a comedy competition is a bad idea. But I got to see her do, what, three minutes of material? And then I got to hang out with her for HOURS. That’s when I fell in love with the kind of comic and person that is Erin Jackson. Her comedy is full of truth. Her truth is full of love. And her love is full of funny.


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  • Claire October 31st, 2012 3:04 PM

    Aw, no Chelsea Peretti?

    • cherrycola27 October 31st, 2012 4:02 PM

      I love Chelsea Peretti!
      I also love all these ladies! I just bought Amy Sedaris’s cool book the other day. It’s hilarious. And I’m definitely looking up more Andi Smith.

      • Claire October 31st, 2012 4:26 PM

        Yes! Amy Sedaris is undeniably awesome – I’m going to a meet-and-greet thing for her in November! My ultimate wish is to be an adopted member of the Sedaris family, I think.

  • Maddy October 31st, 2012 4:10 PM

    I am so wondering who the illustrious comic who turned down Rookie is.

  • ShockHorror October 31st, 2012 4:15 PM

    These ones make me sad because much as I love comedy being from the UK means I have not heard of most of them!

    Only Gina Yashere I’ve heard of ):


    • Libby October 31st, 2012 4:28 PM

      I’m obsessed with Sarah Millican and really hope some Rookies outside of the UK get to see her stuff. I mainly hear/watch her on panel shows which you might be able to get hold of online? She’s great.

      • ShockHorror October 31st, 2012 5:00 PM

        Wooo Millican! Going to see her next year and I can’t wait.

        She’s almost definately on the youtube.

        I looove Josie Long evne more though.

        And so many comedians in general really D:

      • TinaBallerina October 31st, 2012 5:03 PM

        Ah, she’s great! I’m from Norway, but I watch a lot of BBC, and therefore a lot of British Comedy. Little Britain is great (“Computer says no.”) , but the best is Jo Brand! She’s hilarious!!!!

        These all seem great, even though I’ve never heard of them before !

      • Ella W November 1st, 2012 2:35 PM

        Sarah Millican is a LEGEND!!! As is Miranda Hart! Also French and Saunders, I know they’re not current comedy, but still hilarious.
        There are some less well known UK female comics that I know as well. Laura Solon is a genius, as is Pippa Evans, basically check out any episodes of ‘Fast and Loose’ on Youtube. I also LOVE Shappi Khorsandi!

        • Yayo December 6th, 2012 4:55 PM

          I was just about to say Shappi Khorsandi – she’s actually hilarious.

  • rosiesayrelax October 31st, 2012 4:36 PM

    Guys, open your minds to Miranda Hart. She’s a Brit, and hilarious in a dignified way!! I would marry her if I could.

    • TessaTheTeenageWitch October 31st, 2012 5:57 PM

      ERMAHGERDDD MIRANDA. I am seriously in love with her. She is such a genius, and is pretty much the highlight of my life.

      SUCH FUN <3 <3

      • Lillypod October 31st, 2012 10:59 PM

        yep she is hilarious

        • karastarr32 November 1st, 2012 7:42 AM

          Is it sad that my mum and I quote from Miranda in everyday life? I even have the box set. She is my spirit animal :D

    • Ella W November 1st, 2012 2:28 PM

      All me and my friends talk about is Miranda!! (well, that and Downton Abbey, but that’s another story…)!
      I flipping ADORE her, and generally cannot get through the day without making some quote or other from Miranda. I have all the boxsets, and UK Rookies, Mirandas new series starts in JUST OVER ONE WEEK!!!!! Friday 9th November… be there!

      • karastarr32 November 4th, 2012 3:48 PM

        You got me really excited there and I ran up to the telly to record it. I checked on the tv. Not there. Do a search on the tv. Not there. Check again. Google it. According to Tom Ellis (aka Gary) the show will be back… In time for Christmas. Now I am sulking because I won’t have a new Miranda cheer me up after I have my braces put on :’(…. I guess I’ll just pop the DVD in…. My family is all in a bad mood now… First Collin gets kicked off Strictly, then no Miranda! Oh well. Better watch some Angel or Buffy to cheer us up… Here I come, DVD boxsets!

        • Ella W November 9th, 2012 12:53 PM

          Sorry sorry sorry!!!
          I honestly thought it started today, all my friends told me it was, but it doesn’t start til christmas.
          I share your pain, and like you have turned to box sets to cheer me up, currently on episode 6 of 39 of Robin Hood.

        • Ella W November 9th, 2012 12:55 PM

          I also don’t understand why Colin was kicked off strictly. Get rid of Richard and his smarmy face!!

    • SewHappy November 4th, 2012 2:16 PM

      Oh, she is just great! Only yesterday was I having a conversation with my friend about her!

  • Flyer October 31st, 2012 6:31 PM

    I’ve been waiting so long for this!!!

  • Kathryn November 1st, 2012 12:13 AM

    I LOVE AMY SEDARIS. her book “I like you: hospitality under the influence” is hilarious and awesome and also she was on 30 rock last week!

  • ICantThinkOfAUsername November 1st, 2012 3:53 AM

    Aaah! I love Mary Mack so much!! I’m so glad she was included this time.

  • Narnie November 1st, 2012 7:29 AM

    I just love this; it’s so friendly and fun and full of admiration and it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  • Ananas November 1st, 2012 8:10 AM

    I always thought that the British having a different sense of humour than the Americans was just a stereotype, but i didn’t find any of those clips particularly funny…. maybe it’s just me.

    I’d quite like to see an article about British TV shows, it would be interesting to see which ones you watch in the states, and your take on them. my favourite comedian of all time has to be Miranda Hart though, i am actually in love with her show, i can watch the same episode over and over, and still be on the floor laughing :D

  • Taylor WM November 1st, 2012 9:15 AM

    I read this post whilst waiting in the hour-long queue to see the new James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’. I believe the people behind me (who kept subtly trying to read this off my phone – over my shoulder) enjoyed it as well :)
    I love seeing all these American comedians, being from the UK and so only hearing about a very limited number of US comics, this is very very cool ;)
    Taylor x

  • CorduroyMagic February 26th, 2013 6:31 PM

    Wisconsin accent love <3 REPRESENT! Also, I couldn't help but read each passage in the voice of whatever comedian was writing it thanks to the videos, so, that was awesome