comedians you should know

Holmes Holmes Is a Comedian Because of Cool Ranch Doritos

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 Holmes Holmes.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be? 
“I’m gonna be honest with you, whether you’re ready or not.”

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 probably best known for being on ~the internet~ (Twitter 2019–2020, currently TikTok) or for being Kelly Mallet in Welcome to Flatch (thank you Paul Feig and Jenny Bicks for casting me and changing my life!).

I’m very proud of a play I co-wrote and co-starred in, in Chicago, with my favorite artist, Cat Huck, called what r u doing tn? directed by the world’s best improvisor, Hailey Palmer. We used the show to discuss how all human connections are meaningful no matter their length of time. This was one of the first times I allowed myself to mix multiple mediums I love and therefore gave myself permission to create in riskier ways going forward.

Most recently, I am the most proud of a show I am developing with the funniest person in the world, Caleb Hearon. We are lucky enough to be working with icons Deirdre Molitor and Brooke Posch at Jax Media and have the genius Our Lady J as our showrunner. This TV show means so much to me. No spoilers, but expect something very funny, queer, and midwestern. Love you, Kansas City :)

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up becoming a comedian.
When I was in fifth grade, I came home from school one autumn day and joked to my mom, “All I want for Christmas this year is a big bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.” She laughed, and I moved on with my life.

Christmas morning came, and we were at my nana and papa’s house. My sister, my cousin, and I all start opening presents. I open my first gift, and it’s a family-size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. I think, Yum, I love these, and move on to my next gift. Another bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Next gift, Cool Ranch. Next gift, we’ve found a pattern. I look around and I see my aunts and uncles all whispering and giggling, “You did it too?!” This is when I start to piece it all together. My mom told my grandma about the cute little joke I made months ago, and then she told everyone else in the family, and they all decided to destroy me.

Flash to 30 minutes later. Nana asks me, my sister, and my cousin to sit on the couch with all our gifts to get a photo. My sister is sitting under T-shirts and CDs, my cousin with Legos and other gadgets, and then there’s me, sitting under seven bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, smiling while my eyes fight back tears. So that either explains why I was bulimic in my teens or why I’m a comedian. Probably both xoxo

If a network green-lit a semi-autobiographical series for you to star in tomorrow, what would your character’s name and job be?
Name: Holmes. Occupation: doctor. When I’m not performing, I’m really into medicine and being a doctor and stuff.

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would it be and why?
Any song by Sir Babygirl because she has my favorite voice and happens to make the queerest bops in town.

Tell us everything about your worst show ever.
Nothing bad even happened at this show. Just did average and it was my birthday and I’m a Leo.

Before the show:

Photo: Holmes Holmes

After the show:

Photo: Holmes Holmes

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why.
I have this problem where when I love someone’s comedy, I attack them with friendship. With that being said, Jessy Morner-Ritt’s stage energy is unmatchable. She is a complete star. When she performs, I hear nothing else, which means a lot because I have really bad ADD.

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
Make real friendships and cherish them because they make life better and ~the industry~ survivable.

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
Get married in the church my parents were married in. No … I’ll probably get married in a forest. But seriously, career-wise, I am going to make some pretty good rom-coms because I love love and the rom-com world has, in a nice way, room for growth.

Personally, I want to make as many people as possible stop getting Botox, and now that I wrote that, I can never get Botox. Sorry to me in the future. Oh no, I just started wanting it a little :)

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 advice I’ve received was from Carly Kane (incredible comedian). She basically said you shouldn’t obsess over a stand-up set that went poorly or incredibly. Remembering that has let me try what I actually want to explore versus how I think something will be received. Love u, Carly.

I think the worst advice was to deactivate my Twitter for a break and that “you can always reactivate it.” Sometimes you can’t. But that bad advice still made me calmer day-to-day, so let’s celebrate nuance for once people :) Cheese tastes really good even if it makes you really sick :)

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Holmes Holmes Is a Comedian Because of Cool Ranch Doritos