Comedian Kelly Landry’s love for performing started at a very young age, so it was no surprise that she grew up to be a successful comedian and writer. There is no stopping this talented lady! Where does she get her inspiration from? Is the industry tougher for female comedians than for her male counterparts? And why should you harass people in spin class? Read on and find out!
Where are you from?
“I’m from Maine. I grew up in this tiny town called China. Yep. China, Maine. It took me a little while to understand that I was not in fact, Chinese.”
How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
“I’ve always loved to perform. Growing up, me and my sisters would put on plays and dance recitals and make my parents and neighbours watch. The first real production I was a part of was ‘Annie Warbucks’ at the Waterville Opera House directed by J.P Devine. I did that show when I was eight years old, and I played an Orphan. I was hooked. I loved it. I went on to do a lot of community theater and then I auditioned and got into NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, where I studied acting at the Stella Adler studio.”
“After college I moved out to Los Angeles and started auditioning… barely. It was really frustrating. I remember sitting in the waiting room to audition for a tiny role in ‘Entourage’ and started thinking “what am I doing?” There were at least fifty girls there waiting that looked exactly like me and it was for one line! The role was to play a secretary on the show and the line was “Vince they’ll see you now”. I thought it was ridiculous to wait and waste so much time for the opportunity to say one tiny line that anyone off the street could probably say. And that’s when I decided I needed to start writing and performing my own material. So I started doing stand up comedy and that’s what I feel really started moving my career forward. I then met my manager, Maggie Haskins at Principato Young Entertainment, and working with her was really a turning point for my career as well. I actually met her in a spin class and then proceeded to bug her until she agreed to come see my stand up. But it worked! And now she’s not only my strongest ally in the entertainment world, she’s one of my closest friends. So, the moral of the story: harass people in spin class!”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“I get my inspiration from the funny things in life that people do every day, but don’t necessarily think about. I have one joke about being on a date and turning on the faucet in the bathroom so ‘my date wouldn’t hear me pee’, and I realized almost every girl in the audience had done the same thing at one point or another. I love seeing recognition on people’s faces when I tell a joke about something they can relate to. I also find inspiration from incredible women like Tina Fey – she writes and performs and is basically a boss. I would love to have a career like hers. Why wait to audition when you can just write and produce something and put yourself in it?”
If you had to choose one thing, what do you like best – writing or doing stand-up comedy? And why?
“I would choose stand-up, because I write my own bits, so it’s the best of both worlds. I get to write ánd perform, and in stand-up you get an immediate response. You know right away how people are responding to your material, you don’t have to wait for someone to read a script and get back to you.”
How did your work for the popular comedy web-show Equals Three come about?
“A comic I was dating at the time heard that American comedian Ray William Johnson was interviewing people to be the writer for ‘Equals Three’. My date was actually going to be interviewed for the job and then he couldn’t because he had another show he was working on, so he gave Ray and Kaja Martin (the producer) my name. I interviewed with Ray and Kaja about a week later and I got the job! I was so excited, I remember I screamed on the phone when Kaja called to tell me!
Can you tell me about your best experience on stage?
“My best experience on stage would probably be on stage at Club Nokia (now the Novo Theater). I used to bartend there when I first moved out to Los Angeles and the club manager, Mark Girton, was really supportive. After I stopped bartending he let me produce shows there. I co-produced one show where about 1800 people showed up, it was unreal. Performing in front of that many people is such a rush. Comedians Hannibal Buress and Bill Burr also performed on that show, so getting to share the stage with them in such an incredible venue was a dream come true. It was also so cool to get to perform in a venue that I had worked at. I used to watch big comics on stage there and I finally had my shot to be up there with them.”
Do you think it’s true that the entertainment industry is tougher for female comedians than it is for men?
“Yes, and no. I think it’s tougher in the sense that most shows have more male comics than female comics, so there aren’t as many spots for women. If a show has more female than male comedians it’s labelled a ‘Women in Comedy Show’ like there has to be some special reason that so many chicks are on the same show. I also hate how whenever a host brings a female comic up on stage most of them announce the fact that ‘it’s a lady comic, or a comedienne’. They introduce all the guys as ‘This next comic coming to the stage’ and then for girls it’s like ‘We got a lady for ya!’ Comedy is still sort of a boys club but there are some incredible women that are changing that. I love Whitney Cummings, Amy Poehler, Natasha Leggero, they’re all super talented and have opened doors for female comedians to not only make a name for themselves, but to then create their own TV shows. Oh, and Chelsea Handler. I love her honesty.”
“I think being a woman in comedy rather than a guy is that you do have the advantage that there are less of you. People always seem intrigued when I tell them I’m a comic. There are pros and cons I guess.”
What would be your ultimate career goal?
“My ultimate career goal is to create a TV show and star in it. Or maybe not even star in it, but have a fun recurring character for myself. And then win an Emmy. Doing stand up has helped me define my voice and hone my writing skills and I’m trying to use those skills to create a vehicle for myself. I’ve recently started producing/showrunning for Fullscreen, and I got to produce the show ‘Writing With Grace’ with Grace Helbig and AT&T Hello Lab. I absolutely loved the experience and it’s really made me want to focus on writing/producing to create a show of my own for some digital platform or television. I do feel the future is in digital entertainment and everything is sort of moving in that direction and it’s kind of cool to be in the midst of that world and realize the audience you are able to reach. I want to be known as someone who creates hilarious, innovative shows that huge performers want to be a part of. And I want a beach house!”