Pamela Ross [Interview]

Hello Folks! Today we have a very exciting interview for you all to check out as we wrap up the month of November which already very packed full of goodness. As we have come to do lately, we have some words from an absolutely brilliant stand up comedian and writer who is on the rise and is currently one of the best in the business right now. It’s Pamela Ross Everyone!

I discovered Pamela’s brilliant comedy in the way that I have tended to find all of my favorite comedians today. From the world of podcasts! Specifically, I heard Pamela on a brilliant podcast hosted by past TWS guests Tommy McNamara and Tom Thakkar. And ironically enough, I knew of the latter because of his multiple appearances on a different, you guessed it….podcast! Seriously though, this medium has helped me come to know some of the funniest people out there right now. And Pamela Ross is definitely one of the young greats in the business. We are so honored that she was willing to share a few words with us as she graced our digital pages.

So with that, please enjoy some incredible words from the absolutely hilarious and immensely talented, Pamela Ross! Enjoy!

What inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it a deep-rooted passion you always felt you could excel at, or did you just sort of stumble on stage one day?

I started listening to comedians’ podcasts my senior year of college. To graduate you had to complete a thesis in your major, so I wanted background noise besides the music I usually listened to. I found podcasts through Twitter, which at a certain point became an invaluable resource to comedians publishing and circulating content. I realized that literally *anyone*, for better or for worse, could write a few minutes of material and try it at an open mic. I’d grown up performing – musicals, plays, dance, and singing – and had always been told I was funny and had a distinctive point of view. That summer, before my move to Boston and grad school began, I started writing material and lying to people, saying I was already a comedian who performed regularly. I boxed myself into a corner where I HAD to try it, or I’d keep lying forever – which would make it pathological, not a fun quirk to self-motivate. That winter I finally did an open mic while on vacation from school, and started micing all the time that spring. That was in 2014 and I haven’t quit yet! 90% of stand up is just not quitting, I think.
I should probably have verified this, but I probably won’t, so let’s just go with it…..I believe you are the first comic to come out of Boston that we have featured on the site! Boston being a frequently mentioned city in the dozen or so podcasts I listen to daily. So with that, how was it coming up in Boston? What is it about this scene that makes it unique and possibly sets itself apart from others?
Wow, I’m honored! It’s quite a scene and a legacy to represent in any capacity. It shouldn’t be surprising that someone who came out of Boston has a chip on her shoulder about it. I think it’s a fantastic scene that produces particularly strong writers, and it deserves more industry recognition than it gets! I’m very defensive of Boston and feel an allegiance to it that I’ve never felt to sports team – which confused Boston sports fans deeply. More than once saying “I don’t follow any sports” shut a conversation down there. Anyway, coming up there was great because there’s ample stage time between open mics and booked shows. You get to watch everyone from brand new open micers to rising stars to masters of the craft – great comics like Gary Gulman who headline nationally and stop in Boston. Performing there regularly helped me appreciate how far I’d come from the time I started, and how much work I had to do to become better. Some of the funniest people in the world – period! – incubated there, and that fact keeps you working diligently – or at least, that’s the effect it had on me. “You think you’re funny? Patrice O’Neal was funny. You suck.” That was my internal monologue for four years there.
And how has your transition to the world NYC comedy been for you? What sort of differences have you noticed in this scene?

It’s been good so far! I’ve been in NYC since early August, so I’m still adjusting and getting into a rhythm. I keep overestimating how much I can get done in a day, or maybe underestimating how often the trains are delayed. I’m still mastering the logistics. Regardless, the big difference is the scale – it’s massive. So, so much bigger than Boston. There isn’t one cohesive scene – there are a bunch of smaller ones that form an ecosystem of sorts. I’ve noticed that people here tend to be more multitalented – they create using several mediums, or do several forms of comedy – and are more professionally focused. I don’t think a pure hobbyist moves to NYC or LA to do comedy. It’s more competitive at every level, from free bar shows that pay in drink tickets to paid spots at the best clubs. It keeps me focused and productive. I get lazy if I’m not being terrified into action.

I first became aware of your wonderful comedy when you appeared on our friend’s, Thom Thakar and Tommy McNamara’s, podcast Stand By Your Band where you defended AFI. Each time I listen to this show, I am curious as to what kind of backlash the guests might get after they’ve done it. Even if it’s all in good fun, have you received any shit for your support of AFI on the podcast? And how did you enjoy appearing on the podcast?
No backlash yet! I think AFI’s not as hated as, say, Nickelback or Puddle of Mudd – or within the punk genre, Green Day or Blink 182. They’re also more obscure on the whole. I loved doing the podcast! The day I did it, I actually recorded two podcasts back-to-back in Brooklyn, which made me feel like a bona fide New York City comedian (tired, hungry, and slightly lost).
Over the last year and some change, there have been a lot of strives towards making the comedy world a safer, or at the very least more comfortable, for the amazing & hilarious people working in the business who just happen to be female. But, as a professional in the business….has anything changed at all? Like, actual change of any kind? As an outsider looking in, it’s really hard to tell if any good has come out of the #metoo movement and more? 
Thanks for calling me ‘professional’! What a wonderful rumor to start. That’s a great question and I think the answer would vary somewhat among comics. Personally I think the attention paid to personal stories and insights from female-identified performers/writers has effected positive changes on the whole. There’s more awareness of what women deal with that men never or rarely have to consider, from being properly compensated to sexual harassment in its various manifestations to being physically unsafe or intimidated in professional spaces. Industry gatekeepers are feeling more pressure than ever to make sure women are treated equitably. But not everyone will bow to that pressure, especially if there aren’t consequences legal or otherwise for mistreatment. Social progress of all kinds isn’t linear – we’ve already seen that with the backlash to feminism in the 90’s, and the backlash we’re seeing now towards queer people and people of color under Trump’s administration. So it’s an ongoing process, but I’ve already observed positive changes happening.
What does the future hold for you? Is there anything coming up that you would like to share with our readers? (This will go live early December)
I started a weekly show in Williamsburg in late October with my comedy spouse, Kendall Farrell. It’s every Tuesday at 8:30 at The Graham if you’re in town! It’s a fun, fast-paced show of stand ups and a musical comedy act. Our accompanist, Sami Schwaeber, is fantastically talented. Besides that, you can follow me on Twitter @PamNotAnderson or through my website
What was the last thing that made you smile?
My foster cat Leo sneezed and it was adorable 🙂

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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