comedians you should know

Lisa Gilroy Is Gonna Have the Most Fun

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 Lisa Gilroy.

What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
“Mess with me and I will begin to cry.”

What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you most proud of?
Ooh, I don’t know what I’m known for! Maybe crying while reciting a Dr. Evil monologue on Twitter?? Or the videos where I talk to myself as my own period? Having read this back to myself, I can’t in good conscience claim to be proud of any of it.

Tell us one story from your childhood you think explains why you ended up becoming a comedian.
I remember wearing a Santa beard (off to a great start) on Christmas when I inhaled a piece of synthetic hair, choked on it, and threw up on myself. It got a laugh.

If a network green-lit a semi-autobiographical series for you to star in tomorrow, what would your character’s name and job be?
Pig the clown (played by Angelina Jolie).

If you had to come onstage to just one song for the rest of your life, what song would it be and why?
“Happy Birthday,” sung a cappella by the host of the show. Then, of course, the audience would join in, thinking it was my birthday. Everyone loves to sing, and “Happy Birthday” is such a mood-boosting song. Then, even if I did a bad job onstage, they would go, “Oh, it’s her birthday after all, isn’t it? We had a good night. Glad we got to all do some singing. She did a good job.”

Tell us everything about your worst show ever.
I was performing at a sketch fest in Austin a couple years ago and in this one sketch, I was playing a preteen boy at the doctor’s office. The last line was supposed to be me screaming at the doctor, “DON’T TOUCH MY DICK!” (you can tell the sketch was very good), but the tech person had lost the script, so they didn’t know that was the last line. They didn’t know when to pull the lights. So the lights were just … up … and the sketch never ended. We had to stay up there and just improvise like three more minutes of dialogue to a sketch that was already not going great. It’s one of those things I think about sometimes while I’m washing dishes and it sends chills down my spine. My loved ones catch me whispering, “Don’t touch my dick” in a really haunted way.

Nominate one comedian you don’t know personally who you think is overdue for wider recognition and why.
This was a REALLY hard question for me because if there is an up-and-coming comedian I admire, I usually insist on knowing them personally. But I love EJ Marcus on TikTok for their impressions of everyday people. EJ, if you are reading this, PLEASE ALLOW ME TO KNOW YOU PERSONALLY.

When it comes to your comedy opinions — about material, performing, audience, the industry, etc. — what hill will you die on?
When it comes to comedy, I guess the only hill I’ll die on is that We Should Not Be Dying on Any Hills. None of it matters, really. We’re all just gorgeous little clowns floating around in hell. But I guess I do think comedy is better when you keep it short.

What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
I’d like to write a teen fantasy-fiction novel. Maybe it would be a little horny?!?!!! OK????? I’d also like to meet (or sit next to) Sarah Silverman.

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?
One of my directors at the Second City used to say, “Who’s gonna have the most fun?” before we went onstage, and I would say that completely transformed how I perform and became my sole motivation every time I step onstage. Best advice.

Worst is from my mom, who said I should get a custom-made T-shirt with my name and email on it to wear for networking.

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Lisa Gilroy Is Gonna Have the Most Fun