This week, we’re highlighting 20 talented writers and performers for Vulture’s annual list “Comedians You Should and Will Know.” Our goal is to introduce a wider audience to the talent that has the comedy community and industry buzzing. (You can read more about our methodology at the link above.) This year, for the first time, we asked the comedians on this list to answer a series of questions about their work and comedy under quarantine. Next up is Alyssa Limperis.
When did you feel that you were funny enough to make a legitimate go at comedy?
I remember the feeling of quitting my job as a financial consultant to waitress and try to do comedy full-time. I had wanted to do it my whole life, so the feeling of jumping all-in felt scary but extremely peaceful. Like no matter how long it took, that was okay because I was finally on the path. I don’t think it was as much of an I’m funny enough as it was an If I want to make a legitimate go at comedy, I gotta give comedy a legitimate go. And an I look bad in slacks.
Describe your comedy in five words.
I feel all of my characters could be described as “Person slowly losing their mind.”
If you weren’t a comedian, what would you be doing?
Wayyyyy too much in the office break room.
What of your work do you think you’re best known for?
I think I am most known for my videos where I impersonate my mom, and I’m happy that’s the case because she makes them with me and they are really joyful to do together. I wear her clothes, she films, we laugh and break and have a lot of fun making them. You know who also has a lot of fun? The new neighbas … Alllways a row of cahs outside their driveway … Guess my invite got lost in the mail … Go figure …
What’s some of your work that you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of a solo show I did called No Bad Days directed by the insanely talented comedian May Wilkerson. It was about losing my dad, and it helped me process and find laughter in a dark time in my life. It helped me take the worst thing that happened to me and FOIST IT UPON STRANGERS. No, my dad was my best friend and he introduced me to comedy, so to be able to find comedy through the experience made me feel like I was staying close to him while dealing with the loss.
How has quarantine affected the way you approach your comedy and your audience?
I am grateful for the internet and for being able to still make videos and connect with my audience in that way. I’ve mostly just swapped out sitting in my car on the way to a show to sitting on my couch doing a show. (If you showed that sentence to me with no details a year ago I would have been like, Am I in paradise?
What have you done in quarantine for comedy that you thought you would never do?
Audition in my kitchen.
Who are some of your favorite comedians right now? Who is putting out work that excites and inspires you?
Everything Eva Victor does, Niccole Thurman is such a funny follow, Nore Davis is an amazing stand-up, Chris Burns does great characters, Grace Kuhlenschmidt has a hilarious TikTok, Luke Mones is a crazy funny comedian, Mark Phillips makes sketches that are so good I can’t believe he doesn’t have a TV show, and Gwynn Ballard and Jordan Mendoza make such funny unique videos.
What is the best comedy advice, and then the worst comedy advice, you’ve ever received, either when you were starting out or more recently?
Best comedy advice: “Don’t let the fear of making bad stuff stop you from making stuff.”
Worst comedy advice: “You have to get onstage every day.” You do not!! Listen to your body! Rest, write, take time for yourself, and you will be a better comedian and human for it.
Tell us one story from your childhood that is a good representation of your life.
I finally felt ready to get my ears pierced so I went to the doctor’s office to do it. I was 16.
Assuming quarantine ends at some point, is there anything about the way that comedy or the industry in general has changed that you hope continues post-quarantine?
I’ve loved collaborating with people who don’t live in the same city as me. I hope that continues in a post-quarantine world. But oohhhh “post-quarantine world,” how nice does that sound? I really can’t wait to be able to be in the same room as people: laughing, talking, eating food, hugging. I will never take that for granted again. (Cut to me post-quarantine leaving a party within the first six minutes.)