by: In Our Words and OutLoud Chicago Staff
Jami Smith lives the dream! In addition to writing for The Advocate.com, she also performs stand-up comedy all across the country. She’s touching down in Chicago this Tuesday February 26th for Queer Comedy at Zanies and we were able to ask her a few questions about her career and the upcoming show:
Have you been to Chicago before, if so what do you want to do or see in the city again?
Sandwiches. I should say that I come here to visit my best friend and see really good improv but I really just come for the sandwiches.
You have made many cities your home over the past few years, Los Angeles, Washington DC, now New York. What kind of differences do you notice between comedy audiences in places like LA, NY or DC?
I have a special place in my heart for DC because that’s where I started doing stand up. I was spoiled in the beginning because the open mics there are the best I’ve ever experienced. People leave the house to see comedy in that city and they’re ready to laugh. In New York or LA, I had to do more tap dancing to get people to pay attention to me. Good things happen when you’re forced to work harder. I’m a much better tap dancer now. I’m sure the jokes will get better too.
How has writing for The Advocate affected your stand-up material?
I don’t think the material has changed as much as the audiences. My material has always been pretty gay because there’s no getting around it when you’re a lady in a bow tie and a sensible blazer but I was very used to being the only gay comedian in a lineup performing for straight audiences. Now I work for a big gay website promoting gay friendly comedy and, lo and behold, I am getting booked on more gay themed shows. I’m noticing now that the more I become entrenched in this niche audience, the more I want to write jokes about doing my laundry.
You are the queen of the Advocate’s humor Twitter, The Gaysayer (it’s pretty damn great too), how do you think Twitter has affected comedy?
Twitter is the best source for comedy out there right now because jokes are made about a topic the instant it happens. Every joke you hear on a sitcom or a late night show monologue happened on Twitter the day before. I think it is an amazing tool as a comedian because I can gauge the response to a joke to see what is working and what isn’t and then turn my popular posts into a bit for a live audience. The reason Gaysayer has done so well is because our followers don’t want their Twitter feed filled with a bunch of unfunny or homophobic garbage. I weed through all of the noise and only retweet comedians that are funny and inclusive. It’s a great system because our followers get jokes that have been vetted and our comedians get more exposure. Right now, I follow over 600 LGBT friendly comedians and am always looking for more. I really love my job because I feel like I’m helping fellow comedians connect to a bigger audience and, in some small way, making the landscape of comedy less bigoted.
What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming Queer Comedy at Zanies show?
Will there be sandwiches?
Jami Smith is a comedian and humorist for Advocate.com and has quickly carved out a space for herself in the gay comedy scene. She has performed alongside such as acts as Erin Foley, Dana Goldberg, Jason Dudey, and Sandra Valls and has been seen in the 2011 Women in Comedy Festival as well as comedy clubs in New York, DC, and Los Angeles. She also hosts a comedy Twitter feed for The Advocate called @Gaysayer and was voted one of the “Top 25 Twitter Accounts To Follow” by Gay.com. Follow Jami on Twitter for show updates and jokes at @jamismithcomic.