Comedienne Loni Love (Chelsea Lately) enjoys a successful career doing what she loves — touring the world and making people laugh — with no signs of stopping anytime soon. Love will be performing at The Comic Strip (West Edmonton Mall, 8882-170 St.) nightly from November 21-25. Tickets are are $18.95-$24.95 and are available online or at the door.
WHERE Edmonton had the pleasure of talking with Love prior to her show in Edmonton, and she was talkative, friendly, and, of course, funny. If the brief chat we had with her is any indication, her full-length performances this week are certain to be hysterical!
WHERE Edmonton (W): Thanks for taking the time to speak with us this morning, Loni. How would you describe the show the audience will see when you’re in Edmonton for your Live, Love, Laugh Tour?
Loni Love (L): It’s just my regular show. This will be my first time in Edmonton so I’ll be performing my usual mix of routines, drawing on things like relationships, pop culture, politics… it’s very relatable material.
W: How do you gather material or decide what you’re going to perform in your routine? How much is improvised?
L: It depends on how I feel that day, what is going on with the [local] climate, what is new or relevant. I talk about observations. For instance I was just in South Africa so I talked about my observations and responses to the place while I was there; I’ll do the same thing in Edmonton. It’s nice to be able to mix it all up so that there is something for everyone in the audience, drawing on local and familiar observations helps to make each show particular and varied.
W: You do a lot of work on television; you’ve recently appeared in various acting roles, in stand-up comedy segments, and most prominently as a correspondent on Chelsea Lately. Why is it important to you to do tour and do live shows?
L: A live show offers a very different experience . . . it’s just like being a singer. If you are a singer and you have a new album out you like to go out and perform to promote it and people want to see you live. Artists perform live so that people can see the “real you” which is different from the “you” portrayed on TV. When I perform live I’m more relatable, I have more time to connect to the audience, and there’s a good, live energy. Live energy is so different from what you see on TV. You can see things on the internet or on TV but it’s not the same as seeing it in person, you can’t say you know a person from what they’re like on TV. People will say “oh I’ve seen her on TV…” and expect that the show will be exactly like that. It’s not. There’s just something very special about live shows.
W: What do you do to prepare right before your live shows? Do you have any superstitious rituals?
L: Not really, I just like to listen to music and relax. I usually go online and look up music and bands. I’ll listen to U2… something to hype myself up and get a good energy going. It take a lot of energy to be on stage! People think “oh you just stand up there and talk” but you’re not just talking–you’re performing. You’re on stage by yourself and you have to engage the audience for a long period of time. When you’re [performing comedy] you’re the only person who is expected to do something. It takes a lot of energy. So before I perform I just make sure there are no negative vibes; you want to have a good mindset and be in a good space. Music is a good way to do that.
W: You have a very strong following and are very active on Twitter (@LoniLove). Do you like when fans tweet you before or after your shows to give you comments or feedback? What sorts of interactions do you like to use Twitter for?
L: I like Twitter for all of those reasons; fans always get excited when I reply or re-tweet them and it’s nice to see that. I like to re-tweet funny lines or compliments people give me. It’s nice to get feedback after my shows. I don’t mind criticism as long as there’s no name calling. Twitter is a good outlet, people need it and use it well. I wish it had been around longer… wouldn’t it have been nice if we could have tweeted Elvis (laughs)? I’m not wildly famous, I’m well known, so I can tweet a lot and still connect with fans. I’m able to re-tweet and reply to fans often; not all of them, but some.
W: Who is your favorite user to follow on Twitter?
L: Oh, I like to follow regular, normal people that work and just tweet regular, common sense things about their work or day… I just like to read what people are up to. I like following some celebrities. I like Blake Shelton a lot (laughs). I like reading tweets from Will. I. Am. from the Black-Eyed-Peas; his tweets are very inspirational. And MC Lyte. I cohost a radio show called Cafe Mocha and she’s one of my cohosts on the show… her tweets are also very inspirational. And of course I like reading political tweets, I like following people like Bill Maher for political insight.
W: Comedies are some of the most popular and most acclaimed shows on television now. Are there any new shows that you recommend watching?
L: Some great new cable shows will be starting… I think Amy Schumer has a new one coming out [Come Inside with Amy Schumer], she’s really funny. Jeff Ross has The Burn. I like to support fellow stand-ups and their new shows, and support what they are doing. It’s a very encouraging thing to do, and it’s encouraging to see stand-ups breaking out into television. There are two new comedy shows out this season geared towards women. Nickelodeon has some new shows, they’re doing programming geared towards moms. And TV Guide channel has a new show called Stand Up in Stilettos. I think it’s nice how they have these types of shows, because it brings attention to female comedians. But [shows for women] shouldn’t be all female comedians. I don’t like that [these shows are suggesting that] comedy for women has to be performed by all female comics. It shouldn’t be all female comics on these shows, it should be just comics! Female comedians shouldn’t be separated [from male comics] as if to say only a female audience will understand and laugh at a female comic. Like, it shouldn’t be that all female comedians have to appear together, or that shows geared towards women have to have only female comedians. Women can be entertained by both male and female comics, and likewise female comics can entertain both women and men.
W: Would you say that it is still hard for women to be “successful” as a comedian? With women making advancements in so many other areas, why is it that they still have to struggle in comedy?
L: Very few women are willing to sacrifice or give up certain things, like relationships and having kids, and so just don’t have the time it takes to become a successful comedian. It’s hard work to become a successful comic! You need to do lots of road work and travel… and when you’re just starting out you need to find yourself and discover who you are as a comedian. Even if you take nine months off from your career to have a baby, nine months is a long time. Consistency and frequency is important [to establish a successful career]. I can be on the road for 40 weeks of the year, and that’s hard on a relationship with a partner or with your children. I gave up having children because I wanted to have this specific career. Stevie Nicks said something like that… she said she knew she wouldn’t have kids because she wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to be a comedian. I’m not saying you can’t have it all… but it’s hard. It’s not that women aren’t funny. There are lots of very funny, very engaging women. It’s not that people don’t accept or like the humor put out by female comedians. It’s just that it’s lots of practice and hard work; you have to get out there and get on the road to become well-known. Audiences like comedy by people that they “know”. It’s not enough just to be on TV because [as a comedian] you need to have a good stage presence and you have to be funny on your own, not just within a TV show. The only way to do that is to tour and create rapport. You never see lots of women on line-ups at comedy clubs. The reason you don’t isn’t because venues don’t want to book them or because people don’t want to see female comedians; the reason is because there are few women who want to go on the road and tour and make that time commitment. For instance, I am one of probably only five female comedians that headlines stand-up shows.
W: Sounds like a lot of work for sure! What, then, makes it all worth it for you? All the travel, all the practice…
L: Travel is a lot of work but it is also what makes it worth it. For instance, I was just on tour in South Africa. It was a 22-hour flight there! But when you step onto a stage in a foreign country and people cheer and applaud you… being on that stage makes you forget about how tired you are or how long the flight was or the crying babies on the plane.
Knowing that you can entertain people, and seeing them laugh, anywhere in the world, is what makes it worth it.