comedians you should know

Laura Peek Prioritizes Silly

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 Laura Peek.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
“Allow me to introduce you to my haters: me, myself, and I.”

What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you  most proud of?
I think so far, I’m most known for being a decent stand-up! I love writing and performing stand-up more than anything in the world. And I’m proud of a lot, but since moving to L.A., I’ve created projects with friends that are unique and funny as hell. I’m excited to see where they go.

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up  becoming a comedian. 
One time my grandma had a heart attack at a dinner-theater show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We were eating mutton and the room was really dusty, and she just sorta tipped over. First time I realized that something could be sad and funny at the same time. (She lived — shout-out Colleen, I love you.)

If a network green-lit a semi-autobiographical series for you to star in tomorrow, what  would your character’s name and job be?
Oh, this is fun!! My name would be Lucette Perkins, and I would be a horribly unsuccessful country singer-songwriter with a heart of gold. I would have a series of awful boyfriends that are visually indistinguishable from one another, and my catchphrase would be something like, “I don’t smell trouble ’til I step all the way in it!”

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would  it be and why?
Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” She’s my hero and should be the president.

Tell us everything about your worst show ever. 
When I was coming up, I did a show in another city in Tennessee. Drove 200 miles to get there, got a $300 speeding ticket on the way, performed for four people and ate shit, and then the comic that went up after me mimed having sex with me when he went onstage. Our payment was one (1) free beer, and I had to go back to the city three (3) times for traffic court. Show cost me about $1,000 total.

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why.
I don’t mean to brag, but I think I know every good comedian who isn’t famous yet. Wait! One very funny person that I don’t think I’ve actually met is Kristen Toomey of Chicago. So original and fun to watch.

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the  industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
It’s good to be silly. It’s good to clown on yourself and be playful. Of course we should have opinions, of course we should push the envelope, but it’s not our primary job to be edgy. It’s our job to be funny and entertaining, and if we’re not doing that, then we’re not good comics.

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
To get successful, help my friends get successful, and be consistently kind to people lol.

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 advice I got was from a friend recently. I was feeling down on myself, jealous of other comics’ success. She goes, “So another person gets something you want. What does that mean for you? Are you gonna quit? I didn’t think so, keep your head down.” I later thanked her for that specific advice and she goes, “Jesus, I sound like a football coach.”

Worst comedy advice wasn’t really advice, but more of a pattern I saw a lot early on. If someone acts like a goal of yours is too ambitious, or they make it sound like it’s gonna be impossible for you to achieve, they’re probably only saying that ’cause they haven’t achieved it. Don’t let other people’s failures and insecurities stop you from trying. Unless you really suck at comedy! Then I dunno what to tell you.

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Laura Peek Prioritizes Silly