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September 24, 2011

Jackie Kashian Has Mass Appeal
by WomenInComedy - 1

By WICF Contributor Barbara Holm

Having arrived at Laugh's Comedy Spot ( an hour and a half early, I nervously drank about ten glasses of water while sitting in the back of the room. One of the bartenders, Aaron, sat next to me and asked what my napkin had done to me to deserve being shredded into confetti. I told him that I was anxious about hosting because the headliner, Jackie Kashian, was really awesome and funny and I didn't want to do poorly as an MC. He laughed and reminded me that Jackie was super nice, and told me I should stop being a scaredy cat and act like a grown up adult, which I am.

Jackie Kashian, WICF 2010 Headliner
Both shows went really well. Jackie, who has had a Comedy Central half hour special, has been doing stand up for 22 years. She's one of the strongest headliners I've had the pleasure to work with. She's likeable, funny and smart, with very engaging, interesting stories replete with ample punchlines. A past headliner of the Women in Comedy Festival, she was nice enough to give me a little interview in between shows. Jackie started in comedy in Wisconsin, and moved to Minneapolis after completing college. Six years later, she did the Aspen Comedy Festival and then moved to L.A.

About moving to L.A., Jackie said, “Whenever you move to a new town, you have to prove you're funny again and you can't be too cocky about it; that was the downfall of several comics I met who moved there after me. They were like, "I'm huge in Chicago." Yeah, but there's 10,000 comics. You gotta reintroduce. If you're super funny it helps. It'll be easier.”

Jackie said her favorite up and coming comics/best kept secrets in comedy are Erin Foley, Aparna Nancherla, Mary Mack, and Dave Ross. Her all time favorites are Maria Bamford and Dana Gould. She tried to name every comedian in the world but we had to move on. Earnestly and sweetly, she said she felt bad because she knew she was forgetting people.

I asked her if she had any advice for new comedians. Jackie said that the best advice she ever got is posted on her website (, and came from Vanda Michaels:
1. Never compare yourself 
2. Be yourself 
3. Take risks 
4. Don't go for the obvious 
5. Be patient a. With your creativity, and b. With your career 
6. Have fun
Jackie thoughtfully added, “The most important part is the have fun part because I know people who keep doing it and they're angry and I'm like, stop doing it, there's other work, there's easier work ... It's comedy. It's so supposed to be fun."

Jackie has been hosting a popular podcast called "The Dork Forest" for six years. The premise is that Jackie and her guests talk about all things dorky and anything they may feel nerdy about. It's based on a hilarious joke she does about the dork forest:
“Now everyone's like, 'I have a tree in the dork forest.' Then they'd tell me that they knit. And I'd be like, 'I don't think of knitting as a dorkdom' but it is, because everything is, whatever weird - 'Oh, you collect sneakers? Okay.'”
One of the many things I love about Jackie is that she appeals to alternative comedy crowds, but also to a mainstream audience. Most comedians seem to be one or the other. She can work vegan coffee shops in Portland, and also comedy clubs on the road. About this concept, Jackie said, “About four years ago I was worried about it, but then I kinda embraced it ... I would describe myself as the golden retriever of stand-up comedy because basically any room is on board. For a while I was worried about it. I called Maria (Bamford) and I said, "Does that make me a hack?" And she said, "No, it just means for some reason that you're accessible.'” Jackie said she wasn't trying to appeal to any specific niche. She was just trying to talk about what she found funny in an honest, real way. This effort is clear in her act, which is comprised of intelligent, sincere, truthful and hysterical anecdotes. “So I don't know how I'm doing it, but stand-up comedy, as you keep doing it, you find what you want to talk about and you find out how to talk about the normal stuff that everyone talks about. Like I talk about being married, oh my god that's been addressed. But part of it is my discovery of it, which makes it my own angle.”

Jackie Kashian is an amazing headliner with smart, punchy, tight stories and a likeable delivery. She was a delight to chat with and an inspiration to work with.

Jackie is headlining the Laughing Skull in Atlanta, October 6th-9th. For more information about upcoming dates, check out

Barbara Holm is a stand-up comedian from Seattle, Washington. She has performed at Bridgetown Comedy Festival, The Women in Comedy Festival, and Bumbershoot Festival. She has been described as clever, creative and unique.

1 comment

  1. Thanks Barbara. Jackie is a great comic and a sweetheart. Sorry I missed her this time.