Sometimes this crazy world doesn’t make much sense – war, disease, St. Louis-based stand-up comedian Andi Smith being voted off this season of Last Comic Standing. Fret not, sweet babies. Punchline Magazine is here to sing you
a lullaby and help make sense of it all.*
by Dylan P. Gadino
watch Andi at RooftopComedy
Quickly look at and listen to stand-up comedian Andi Smith on stage and you’ll conclude that she’s not the most dynamic of performers. Often times, her left arm finds its way across her waist; she dangles the mic lazily beneath her lips, tilts her head and delivers her jokes as if she’s kind of annoyed.
All of this would traditionally translate into the persona adopted by a detached, hipster comic – an act that would not only embrace the “alt-comedy” label but would also wear it as a badge of honor.
Smith, however, deftly uses these affectations to draw her audience closer. It makes her wholly relatable — not only as a comic but as a person. In fact, she does so little cliched comic posturing, you barely realize she’s performing material.
Though she was voted off NBC’s Last Comic Standing on July 25 — that’s pretty early in the season for those of you not following the show — the 31-year-old St. Louis comedian has an incredibly bright future — dare we say much brighter than most, if not all, of the remaining Last Comic Standing contestants.
Punchline Magazine recently called Andi to chat about, well, nothing in particular. We didn’t even tell her when we’d call. In the end, she was kind enough to spend 11 minutes and 19 seconds on the horn. Enjoy.
What are you doing now?
I’m actually on my way to go get a Greek salad.
Wow, a Greek salad.
Are you walking or driving?
I’m driving. I’m sick of the food in my own neighborhood.
And where do you live exactly?
I live in Dogtown in St. Louis. It’s a little neighborhood with a couple of bars that I stumble home from every once in a while. There’s a good Mexican place, too.
Why is it called Dogtown?
There are a lot of stories running around the neighborhood about that.
I was told by the 90-year-old Dogtown historian, who doesn’t have a car and rides past my house on his little bike every once in awhile, that it was named that because it’s built over a bunch of clay mines. They used to call clay miners “doggies,” hence the name, Dogtown. Anyway, my favorite story is about how during the World’s Fair, the Cambodians came and ate all the dogs.
Seems your town has a very rich history or at least a very rich set of urban legends.
Yeah, yeah, it would make a good coffee table book or something.
Yeah, you should maybe think about pitching that.
Or I’ll just do what I do with the rest of my ideas, which is write them down on a piece of paper and lose them.
Right, that’s productive. Is that how you write your jokes?
Yeah, that’s usually what happens. I write them down on some stupid piece of paper or an envelope or something and then I lose them, and then I’m like, “How’d that joke go? Shit. And then I have to redo it.
It’s cool to actually talk to you. Never before this year — and I don’t know if this makes me sound uninformed — have I paid attention to Last Comic Standing.
Me, too, me, too.
And so I’ve heard nothing but horrible things about Last Comic Standing. So I thought to myself, The only way I’m going to get through this season is if I have someone to root for. I wasn’t familiar with your work before the show, and from the first episode, I really liked what I saw.
So you rooted for me? That’s awesome.
We totally rooted for you. And then you got voted off, so I’m not sure who to cheer for now.
You can root for LaVell Crawford or Doug Benson. They’re funny.
So LaVell? I should be rooting for him?
Yeah, I think LaVell is like a really funny guy, and I think Doug Benson’s a really funny guy.
I got to be honest with you: I’m really not into LaVell Crawford.
Yeah, you know, I think maybe it was just that I was hanging out with him, and so maybe like when he tells his jokes, they’re just so much like his own personality. He’s just a crazy person. Doug Benson is
a really funny dude, too.
I like Doug.
Everybody was really cool. The only one that I found ultimately annoying was that one girl that kind of looked like a skinny Big Bird. You know who I’m talking about?
A skinny Big Bird?
She has a really pointy nose; and she was in the Broadway musical Cats.
A blonde from New York?
Yeah, at one point she jumped up and down and screamed, “I’m so glad I’m on Last Comic Standing.” And I was like, “Uh-oh.”
Do female stand-up comics typically annoy you ?
I tend to be a little critical of girls who are, like, “My boyfriend said, and “Then my boyfriend, my boyfriend…” I get a little angry at that.
I think it’s just me being selfish and arrogant. But you know, I don’t like when some woman has easy-out jokes, a joke that anybody could write. And they get a ton of attention just for being young and cute. So rather than the jokes getting the attention, it’s like, “She had a great rack.” This is comedy; cheerleaders aren’t allowed in comedy. It’s the one place they’re not allowed – comedy and wrestling.
I think the point that makes me so mad is there are really funny girls, and sometimes they don’t get the attention they deserve because some cute girl gets shot with a soft lens and all of a sudden everyone falls in love.
I think the percentage of funny girls and funny guys is completely equal — it’s just that there are so many more guy comedians that people tend to say girls aren’t funny.
Yeah, exactly. I think women have the opportunity to talk about really cool stuff and choose not to. When they choose not to, they kind of suck. I’m not a genius or anything. But I just don’t like it‚ like when you end a joke with, “And then he fucked me.” I’m like, “All right, we’re done here.”
That reminds me. You have to promise me that before you get off the phone, you’ll say something inflammatory about someone.
Before I get off the phone, I will say something mean about someone that you can print.
Isn’t it difficult to get a good idea of somebody’s comedy on network television?
Yeah, and I have to stop Googling myself because every blog I go to, it’s like, “Andi Smith sucks ass, blah, blah.”
Yeah, there’s one guy that I’m convinced hates me in real life and he’s just posing as somebody who watched the show. He talks about how I did some show in Ohio and I was mean and angry and blah, blah. And I was like, “What? Did I set your house on fire or something? Did I steal your boyfriend? What happened?”
Yeah, so you’ll have to go there. There’s tons of bad stuff on me, but whatever.
I love that there’s bad stuff out there about you.
What else do you want to know?
The thing I didn’t know is that you were involved in creating Rooftop Comedy.
Yeah, I am. We actually work with Punchline Magazine quite a bit.
I think I sent you guys a few e-mails about that. Three of us started it together and those two [Will Rogers and Tom Hill] basically made it happen. I’ve been working with them for a while now. I might have to let you go because I have to talk to them about some stuff.
That’s bullshit! We’re the press. All right, fine. So who do you want to talk shit about?
I don’t want to talk shit about anybody.
You can’t say something inflammatory about an A-list celebrity?
Oh, OK, all right. I hope Lindsay Lohan gets pelvic inflammatory disease. I think that would be a good one.
Yeah that’s good.
How about I just hope Paris Hilton dies so we can all get back to what we were doing?
OK, so the headline could be “Andi Smith: I hope Paris Hilton dies.”
Sure, that’s a good one.
That should get you some attention, and then you can spend the next six months defending yourself.
I would have no problem doing that.