comedians you should know

Ever Mainard, the Proud Onstage Idiot

Illustration: Franziska Barczyk

This week, we’re highlighting 24 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.) We asked the comedians on the list to answer a series of questions about their work, performing, goals for the future, and more. Next up is Ever Mainard.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
“Life gets messy. Get a Swiffer, bitch.”

What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you most proud of?
I think I am most known for being larger than life and very rowdy onstage. I also incorporate a lot of storytelling in my performances and am very proud of the way I’m able to connect with people on a genuine level while still being an absolute idiot onstage.

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up becoming a comedian. 
One time when I was about 7 or 8, my grandfather called me and the cousins to gather around a cow in his pasture. He then put me on top of the cow so that I could ride it like a horse, but there was no saddle and sadly a cow is not a horse. I immediately fell off.

If a network green-lit a semi-autobiographical series for you to star in tomorrow, what would your character’s name and job be?
Okay — would for sure keep my name the same. The second part? I think I would like to be a downtrodden and alcoholic park ranger who stumbles across a dead body and, in a foolish attempt at redemption, takes it upon themselves to solve the case even though they have no detective or forensic training. It is not at all autobiographical, but I would love to be a park ranger.

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would it be and why?
This seems like hell and I refuse to answer. (Lol, “The Whisper Song,” by Ying Yang Twins.)

Tell us everything about your worst show ever.
You think you know bleak, but then you perform at a small casino in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the middle of winter. There is no coming back from that. I am changed, man. Something has been lost.

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why. 
This is a bit tough! There are so many comics that are way overdue for wider recognition — Melody Kamali, Ali Clayton, Lindsay Adams, Liza Dye. It’s hard to pick one. I also think Martha Kelly should be a household name.

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
I think our performance style should match the change and growth that we experience as a person. I think a lot of people get trapped (myself included) in this mind-set of, Oh, well, everyone knows me for doing this type of thing, and if I try something else it would be weird and inauthentic, or whatever judgmental thing we say to ourselves. If you want to try something new, then do it! Try it!

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
I would like to look back at my life and really know that I gave it my all and that I had a good time doing it. #nodaysoff #riseandgrind #grindlife #moneyovereverything

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? 
The best comedy advice that I’ve ever received was to learn how to be patient and kind to myself. It’s a tough industry, and it’s easy to get caught up in your head with thoughts that just bring you down: How did they get that? Why am I not getting those opportunities? Why is this set not hitting? Where is this set going? I’ll never succeed, etc. It’s very easy to get tangled up in those thoughts! But being gentle and taking a moment to question the validity of such negative statements and let them go has been a game changer and a lifesaver. Those li’l demons will always pop up, but it’s nice to go, Okay, I’m thinking these shitty thoughts. They aren’t true. This is not helpful. Time to redirect. We are all worth our talent.

The worst comedy advice I’ve ever been given? That a mic is a mic and stage time is stage time, and you should always say yes to a show. While there is truth that practice makes perfect, it’s okay to be selective with your time.

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Ever Mainard, the Proud Onstage Idiot