That Time I Bombed is where the Straight asks comedians about their life-changing shows, favourite comedy albums, and, a subject that any comedian will face at some point in their career, a time that they bombed on stage.
Who are you
Well, I’m the luckiest girl in the world of course! Not the whole world, obviously, but I feel lucky and happy and my hair is often good when there’s no humidity.
I get to sleep ’til noon, eat bread on special occasions, and do stand-up comedy. And lately, people have been letting me do it more than before. (Eat bread, that is—not do stand-up.)
I’m frequently referred to as one of Canada’s fastest rising stars by Facebook event writers. Stand-up comedy is truly my favourite thing in the world. I’ve been doing it for seven years now, but before that I did some acting and gymnastics, neither of which worked out because they are stupid anyway, so whatever.
First stand-up experience
Comedy and laughing were always around in my family, but I wasn’t introduced to live stand-up until my mom brought me to a comedy club when I was 14.
I want to lie and say I knew I wanted to be a comedian from that first show, but I got pretty hammered that night and then threw up in the car. We obviously went back every week for about a year, then I went away to summer camp and then came home and did my first set.
I throw up significantly less frequently after shows nowadays. Do I miss throwing up in my mom’s car? Of course, I’m only human. However, it’s time to move on to bigger and better cars.
Life-changing comedy show
I was already deeply in love with comedy, but a show that really moved me was the first time I went to Meltdown in L.A. I had flown down with my then boyfriend who had shows but I wasn’t 21 yet, so I didn’t want to go to comedy clubs and get ID’d.
I lied so much about my age when I started stand-up that it’s not even fun anymore, so I’m lying about different stuff until I turn 40, then it’s back to age lies. Now I tell people that I’m part Egyptian. It’s not as thrilling.
My boyfriend went off to do shows and I decided to go watch Meltdown alone, which is all-ages because it’s a comic book store. It was already a great lineup, but man, oh man, was I not prepared for that night. That’s the first time I saw Jermaine Fowler which absolutely blew my mind. I sent him an embarrassing fan-girl email after that show because I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of him.
Already overwhelmed with emotion from finding a new comic to be obsessed with, I caught a tiny glimpse of someone behind the glass door from side-stage. That’s when I lost it. It couldn’t be Sarah Silverman. She was my first true comedy love; she rocked my whole world. It was her. She came out, destroyed, riffed, did new stuff, and was beautiful and charming... and I’m going to start crying again right now as I write this. It made me fall more deeply in love with her and with comedy.
That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be like her someday and I wanted to write honest, alive, and hilarious jokes. At that point, I was done for the night. It was more than my little heart could handle, so I tried pulling myself together for the end of the show.
Meltdown was not done with me yet. Closing out the show was, in my opinion, one of the most talented people alive: Reggie Watts. It’s impossible to describe one of his live sets, but it’s the closest thing to real magic we have.
The next time I went to Meltdown was over a year later and I not only got to perform on it, but Reggie Watts was also on the lineup. I was very unchill. If he wasn’t so much bigger than me, I might’ve tried to kidnap him.
I’m back at Meltdown on September 7, so if you’re in L.A. and want to see Reggie Watts, you should come. He’s been there 100 percent of the time I have—that couldn’t be coincidence.
Top three comedy specials/albums
It has changed a lot. I’m not good with choosing favourites. There are probably 10 comedy specials I’ve watched more than the rest and countless bits that have made me laugh so hard I thought I’d go insane.
For the longest time, it was Sarah Silverman’s Jesus Is Magic, but here are some more recent ones:
Patrice O’Neal – Elephant in the Room Patrice is so fucking cool. One of the funniest people who ever lived and it breaks my heart that I never got to see him live.
Dylan Moran – Monster Currently my favourite special. I like everything about it. Every joke is killer; it’s a different style than I’m accustomed to. I've watched it probably 50 times and it still makes me laugh.
Louis CK – Oh My God Everything Louis CK is gold, but Oh My God is one of his most underrated specials. I could write essays about Louis CK. I almost met him last year at Just For Laughs.
He arrived the day I left and everyone texted me that he was at a show while I was boarding a plane back to Vancouver. I was very angry. I made the man sitting beside me stand up a lot of times on that flight to punish the world for my misfortune. I said I had to pee but I didn’t have to pee, ha-ha. It made me feel a bit better.
All-time favourite joke or bit
There’s this Ellen DeGeneres bit that I used to do for my mom before I started doing stand-up. It’s about bad reception on a cellphone. It’s on her special Here and Now. (Highly recommended.)
Favourite individual line is from Dylan Moran talking about cooking. “When you have intentions to make a fancy meal—a meal with more than one colour—but you just end up eating bread, out of the bag, dipping it in anything runnier than bread.”
Something you saw that made you laugh but probably shouldn’t have
My best friend Sarah (aka Noodle) makes me laugh with the stupidest stuff. She’s hysterically funny. She often describes her cat’s body to me in great detail and sends me extreme close ups of her face in the dark. I don’t think it would translate well to mainstream comedy stages. The world ain’t ready.
That time I bombed
I once did a show in New West where there was a drunk man sitting alone in the front row, which should have been a red flag, but I just thought he was a big comedy fan because I’m an idiot. He had been doing some light heckling throughout the show, but nothing mean-spirited. Nobody spoke to him because the security was busy being completely useless.
As soon as I got on stage, he started telling me to suck on stuff (stuff of his), describing how I should suck, and how he would feel about it. It was lame. I didn’t know what to do, I was still pretty new. This went on for quite a while until another audience member walked over to him, threw his drink in his face, and punched him out.
I then did my jokes about how Vancouver is such a wacky city; it was poorly received. I went home and never did comedy again. I did comedy again, obviously, but that’s how that story should end.
The winner is guaranteed a spot at three of Canada’s biggest comedy festivals in 2017, including JFL NorthWest in Vancouver. You can vote for Sophie until August 23 here.
Catch Sophie performing at various venues around Vancouver and beyond. Follow her on Twitter for show updates and of course, for her jokes.