Rachael O’Brien [Interview]
March 1, 2017 Leave a comment
As you may have noticed in the last few months, we have become obsessed with the world of stand up comedy. And even more, we are thrilled by the idea that there are more and more amazingly talented female comedians popping up these days. And today, we have a brilliant interview with a woman who is exactly that. Rachael O’Brien is a brilliant young comic who has a lot to say on and off stage. She has a great podcast called Be Here For A While… that is an intriguing look at what it means to be young and living in the L.A. scene. for those of us so far removed from that scene, her podcast is as informative as it is hilarious.
So, please enjoy a few words with the amazing comedian, Rachael O’Brien as she schools all of our old asses here at TWS on what it means to be young and talented in today’s society. Enjoy!
When did you decide you wanted to join the world of stand up comedy? Was this the job you always wanted to do? And what keeps you doing it?
I think I always knew I wanted to be in comedy from a young age, but initially I thought it would just be comedic acting. I was obsessed with SNL as a kid and dreamed of moving to New York and doing that when I got older. Obviously SNL is still a dream, but stand-up has become my main focus. I decided to join the world of standup in my early 20’s. I had gone to a grad program at UCLA for screenwriting and immediately fell in love with writing comedy and I wanted to test my jokes out on stage so I tried stand-up. From my first open mic I knew instantly that it was something I needed to do for the rest of my life. I think that’s how you know you’re meant to be a standup comic. If you get on stage and it gets under your skin right away, and you feel almost uncomfortable when you’re not on that stage, then you’re meant to be a comic. If you try it and you can go several months without doing it again, then you’re probably not meant for it. It’s not the easiest business so you almost have to be addicted to it.
What is the comedy world like for a young person like yourself these days? More specifically, a young female in comedy today? Does it sometimes feel like an “Old Boy’s Club”, as I have heard it occasionally called?
There definitely is that part to it, and sometimes it can be discouraging, but only if you let it be. I try not to pay too much attention to that part of it because it’s up to me to create my own future. Plus, I’ve always had a lot of male friends so I enjoy the energy of being around both woman and men and cracking jokes and hanging out at the comedy clubs.
Just to dig a big deeper, for those of us who are completely out of the loop, what is the atmosphere of L.A. like for young and up and coming comedians? Is it a bloodthirsty and competitive environment? Or are most of you all out there to help one another do well?
It’s competitive, there’s no doubt about that, but every industry can be. The one thing I’ll say about comedians is that we do often help each other out and bring each other up, it’s sort of how it works. A more successful comic brings a younger comic on the road to open for them, which is an amazing opportunity. Plus we all know what it’s like to bomb on stage so when we see each other at the clubs, we share the same highs and lows and, for the most part, I would say we want the best for each other because we know what it feels like to have an off night.
I have thoroughly enjoyed your podcast Be Here For A While…, especially your conversation with our old friend Nemr. How has the experience of doing a podcast been for you? What do you believe you are doing in order to make it original and unique amongst the plethora of podcasts out there right now?
Thank you so much. I love doing my podcast. It has been a great way to create an hour of new content every week. It’s a challenge and actually more work than I thought it was going to be but I absolutely love it. It’s also so fun to get to talk to your friends about the industry we both love. In terms of making mine unique, I think that I do a good job of finding guests with interesting stories and then also letting them tell those stories. Of course, it’s my podcast and I need to be the main voice of it, but I do think I know when to listen and ask the right questions.
I noticed that you recently completed a massive 3 week tour through Europe for military members, which is always cool to hear as I have attended a few of them. So how was this experience for you? Were the service members receptive to your style of comedy?
It was the best experience of my life. To be able to travel Europe and do comedy with some of my best friends for the most appreciative audience in the world was priceless. They were so receptive and so welcoming and on most bases we got to hang out with the service members afterwards and hear their amazing stories and get to know their life in the military first hand. I would do a 100 more of those tours if I could.
When you’re not writing or doing spots around L.A., what would we find you doing for just a bit of “me” time?
I love trying new restaurants and I’m a huge classic rock music fan. So you will either find me eating, or listening to music in my apartment.
So what does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug here?
I’m currently writing a new pilot to hopefully sell, produce, and be in. I’m also planning to put together my first comedy special in the next year. I just want to do more and more standup, acting and podcasting. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve made it. It will all be a long journey, but I really do love every step of the way.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
An email from one of my podcast listeners.