Jackie Loeb didn’t choose to be a comedian. It chose her and she tells Some Notes From A Broad that she couldn’t be anything else.
I have always been a performer. In my formative years I mightn’t have had a real understanding of what that entailed but I was always doing something peculiar to garner an audience in the playground.
The comedian was recently named Best Variety Performer at Short and Sweet Hollywood for her new ten-minute mini cabaret Role Model.
The Broad has known the funny woman since, let’s just say a long time ago, and spoke to her via electronic carrier pigeon about her life in comedy, where she finds her inspiration and the latest green smoothie fad in LA, were Jackie is based.
Last month she performed her brand new solo comedy show I Don’t Necessarily Like Your Dog at the Sydney Fringe Festival.
Thankfully people left their dogs at home. Actually you can’t say dog anymore, it’s fur baby or fur children or in some cases domestic partner.
Jackie Loeb has some shows in Sydney in December and if you can’t make it to a gig, you can share a laugh with her Facebook videos @jackieloebcomedianwoman.
What are you currently working on?
I am always writing comedy, whether it’s stand-up material, sketches or songs. What I’m really focusing on now is screenwriting. I’ve been working on an idea for a half-hour comedy series for a number of years and after 45873895784 drafts and a name change and setting it in a different country, it’s finally at a point where I feel it’s ready to be made. Now to find a network, cable channel or streaming service that wants to make it! Can I be my own streaming service platform?
I’m also working on my first non-English album in a language that I have made up from scratch! The first song is called ‘Falo Me Laco No Nah Kineh’. Which basically translates to….I’m not exactly sure.
How do you come up with your material?
Any outside stimulus is potential comedy material. It’s random and organic. I can be inspired by something I see or hear or it can be the most mundane and meaningless thought. Ideas usually flow when I’m in the shower, which is unfortunate considering we are in drought.
Can you describe your process?
Book a gig, write, repeat. That’s pretty much the formula! With copious amounts of chocolate, TV viewing, vacuum cleaning, Facebooking and other general time wasting activities in between.
Do you take observations from everyday life?
If I deem the observation to be worthy of going into my act then yes. Sometimes observations seem funny at the time but then when you let them sit for a while you realise they’re best left where you first observed them.
How much do you borrow from people you know?
I tend not to. I have too many of my own ridiculous and inane stories to relay. Occasionally someone will tell me something uproariously funny and I’ll exclaim “I want that for my act!”, but then for whatever reason it never makes it onto the stage. What is funny between two people in a particular moment doesn’t always translate to funny on stage.
Why did you choose comedy and performing?
Being a comedian is a privilege. I get to have one-sided conversations at full volume and if someone interrupts me I can have them removed from the premises. If only life was like that all the time.
How did you start and what are some of the highlights of your career?
I started as soon as I realised that being a comic was actually a legitimate somewhat respectable vocation. I found out about an open-mic and off I went with nothing but a few poorly crafted jokes and a Janis Joplin impersonation.
Highlights have been performing at comedy festivals around the world. How else would I have seen a game park in South Africa? Don’t worry, I didn’t shoot anything endangered.
Is LA one big joke?
I think LA has a lot of heart. It certainly means well. It might be perceived as vacuous and self-obsessed, but it’s just a humungous tiny city trying to survive on an economy fuelled by delicate creative souls.
Sure, people are a little fixated on green juice and collagen powder and pretend meat and yoga and taking their dogs for walks in baby strollers, but other than that, Los Angelians are salt of the earth…albeit sodium reduced.
Can someone learn how to be funny or is it innate?
Going by the many comedy workshops run by comics it would have to be a resounding yes. I don’t want to be responsible for the collapse of somebody’s livelihood!
I’ve tutored a few aspiring comics over the years and a person can definitely learn how to develop their material, craft a joke, hold a microphone and to stick to their bloody allocated time! But at the end of the day it’s all in the doing. Comedy is a muscle that needs to be worked. ‘Funny’ should be classified as a verb because it’s really a doing word.
How has comedy and performing changed in the time you’ve been in the industry?
I started in the early 90’s. It was very male dominated and I was often the only lassie on the line-up. When there were multiple women on the same bill it was branded as a ‘Women’s Comedy Night’. There are so many more women on the comedy circuit now. We are no longer tokenistic, we are booked because we are and always have been flippin’ amazing at what we do.
Audiences are more discerning too. They expect more than stock standard jokes and thankfully won’t tolerate sexist, homophobic and racist humour. (Most of the time, subject to change, sometimes, not entirely sure, maybe I’m just being idealistic.)
There is so much more diversity in comedy too. The world is a melting pot of different cultures, faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities and we need comedy to reflect this. How are we to evolve as a society if we are only listening to twenty-something white men talk about their appendages?
Yeah, the industry is still a little sexist and ageist, but at least now it’s smoke free!
Do you think it’s harder for women to get by in comedy?
Yes! If I were a young dude who played guitar and sang and was funny, I’d be watching myself on a comedy special right now.
Women have to work so much harder and back when I started, the odds of having a successful gig were stacked against you before you even set foot on stage. Women are still pigeonholed as being ‘female comics’ rather than just being comics. In saying that, I know so many bookers and clubs that book women because they know women are essential to the success of any comedy night.
The industry has changed and more women are producing comedy nights and booking the best acts that just so happen to be…women.
Who are some of your favourite female comedians new and in the past?
I want to say on a good night me! But I’ll refrain.
I have worked with so many amazing female comedians. I dare not name them for fear of leaving someone out. But in terms of high-profile comedians that I don’t know or are no longer of this earth they would include but are not limited to… Lucille Ball, Jennifer Saunders, Bette Midler, the cast of the Golden Girls, Ellen (yeah I’m on first name basis because I can’t spell her last name), Wanda Sykes and ok, I’ll name some of my favourite ladies from OZ…Judith Lucy, Julia Morris, Wendy Harmer, Denise Scott and so so so so so many many more.
Each time I come back to Australia there’s a new batch of young female comics who I am truly in awe of for bravely pushing boundaries and taking comedy in a fresh and inventive direction.
Where can people see you perform or find out more about you?
Why not mosey on over to Facebook. I’m always there posting songs, videos, thoughts of the day and photos of what I’m about to eat. @jackieloebcomedianwoman
Or follow me on instagram @jackieloebcomedian
Or subscribe to my YouTube channel
Or come to one of my shows. I always post my upcoming gigs on facebook.