Laura Mannino – Comedy Foot Soldier

by Dustin D'Addato on January 6, 2010

I couldn’t think of a more perfect person to kick off the relaunch of our Comedy Foot Soldier feature than Laura Mannino. Laura is awesome.  She’s funny. She’s smart and she’s one of the nicest people I have ever met in the comedy community. Talk to her five minutes and you feel like you’ve known her your whole life. My only problem with her is that she moved to LA. Sure it’s so she can become rich and famous (and she probably will) but still, New York needs more people like her.  I guess LA probably needs more people like her too.  All that talk of that nice stuff being said, her passive aggressive blog Affirmations For Actors is really funny (and painfully truthful sometimes. Listen Laura, I don’t need an excuse for all my afternoon drinking.  It makes the hurt go away okay).

Laura1099CroppedWhat’s the most important thing you learned since you started doing comedy?
There’s no prescribed path and the only person you should be in competition with is yourself. I think that’s what the motivational posters at my day jobs said.

How did you know you were meant to be a comedian?
Maybe it’s when I found myself practicing Bea Arthur’s double takes and death stares as a kid. Maybe it was when I found myself laughing through scenes from ‘Night Mother in college. Maybe it’s when I realized the tragedy and crap life throws at you is a little more palatable with laughter. And when I do make someone laugh, self-conscious neuroses are briefly disabled.

What’s been your brightest moment as a comedian?
The moment when the audience and I are having fun together. I’m not thinking about how I’m doing, what my next joke is, why did I wear this shirt or why the host can’t say my last name name correctly, but really enjoying watching the audience laugh. I once did an open mic with an actual recovering crack whore. Yeah..she could use some work on her writing and timing but if she has the courage to be open and truthful in front of strangers, we all need to nut up.

What’s been your darkest moment as a comedian?
Performing my solo show to an audience that took my performance as an opportunity to text while waiting for their friend’s sketch group. It’s passive aggressive heckling. Oh, and I once did an open mic with a crack whore.

What is your favorite thing going on in comedy right now?
Women are slowly and steadily gaining equal footing in this industry and audiences, producers and bookers are listening and know women can speak a universal and relateable truth to both men and women. We’re no longer being perceived as a novelty or specialty act that’s limited to tampon and fat jokes. It’s so inspiring to see the gay comedy community and its audience exploding! It’s a matter of time when networks, cable, studios and their advertisers catch up to live audiences that are paying attention to women and gay performers.

What is the scariest thing going on in comedy right now?
With the above said, I have a little advice for the dude hosts out there. You don’t need introduce those comedians who happen to be women with “Well, we got ourselves a lady coming up.” No shit. We’re not a novelty or an exhibit at the zoo, we’re 52% of the population. You’re not introducing a black male comic as the “black guy.” It’s not the scariest thing, but it happens to annoy me. Maybe an audience chock full of bachelorette parties could be the scariest thing in comedy.

Who do you think is today’s most under-appreciated comedian/comedy actor?
I think “under-appreciated” is part of the job description for a majority of comedy jobbers out there.

What’s the best advice you ever received as a comedian?
If someone else can do your set, it’s not your set. Be the star of your own jokes.

What’s the worst advice you ever received as a comedian?
You’ll be so relaxed if you have a drink or five before your set.

What is your craziest show experience?
I once watched a show that featured a video of a guy pulling a balloon out of his asshole. The audience included two old men yelled at each other through their trach mics at the pool table and a sad sack hipster girl sat in the corner selling free range organic oatmeal cookies. I’m glad I checked the show out before trying to get booked. Oh, the balloon was deflated, so I guess it’s not the “craziest”….Oh wait! I traveled to the middle of Connecticut to do a show in a Holiday Inn ball room for a Mason’s group, The Royal Order of the Jesters. Fortunately, I was wearing jeans and not perceived as “attractive” so I was basically left alone.

What is the biggest source of your comedy?
Change.

How would you describe your comedy?
The anti-social social butterfly.

Why did you move to LA?
I moved to LA because I need a change…and a dishwasher. And I think LA really needed another out of work actor using up it’s finite water and energy.

Laura Mannino 1151 CroppedLoResWhat under do the radar comedians do you think we should know about?
So many. I’m having “I just accepted an award and need to thank everyone” anxiety. Shawn Hollenbach has been comedy buddy since day one. We’ve produced, performed and written together. Shawn really inspired me to discover and develop my voice and brand as a performer.

Quick Hitters

I would like to be known for… Spending three full hours answering interview questions.

Shoot me if I ever… Spend another three hours again answering interview questions.

I think most comedians are… are highly sensitive.

The one thing I have never seen a comedian do, but would love to is… Pull an inflated balloon out an asshole.

My favorite comedy bit that I was not involved in is… Louis CK’s meltdown on Conan about how our generation doesn’t deserve or appreciate technology.

My favorite comedy bit that I was involved in is… Will hopefully be my film I’m shooting.

People often say they are attracted to a sense of humor. I think that is… True. Particularly if the person they’re attracted to is unemployed.

I would like to plug…My short film that I wrote and will be shot this month. My blog about my life in LA, www.IStomachLA.blogspot.com and my faux advice blog for actors, www.AffirmationsForActors.blogspot.com.


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