Bri Pruett [Interview]

Hello Folks! And a happy Wednesday to you all! Today we have some wonderful words from an even more wonderful comedian. It’s Bri Pruett! I first came to notice Bri’s comedy when she appeared on the first episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Who’s Your God? which happens to hosted by our dear friend and past guest Amy Miller, and at the time co-host and past guest as well, John Michael Bond. She is an absolutely hilarious human being who is a god damned delight to see perform. I am utterly jealous of anyone who has had the opportunity to see her live and in person rather than just YouTube rabbit holes as I tend to do when I feel the urge to laugh alone in an empty dining room. But alas, however you can find your way to Pruett’s delightful material, I cannot recommend it enough.
Bri also happens to hail from my beloved homeland of Portland, Oregon, although she has rightfully moved on to “greener” pastures (such irony that LA being physically WAY less green than Portland), much like our friends like the aforementioned Amy Miller, as well as another amazing comic we are so honored to have had on the site, the one and only Sean Jordan. And then it all comes around to the fact that Bri and Sean are actually on an episode of yet another favorite podcast featuring several guests we have had grace our digital pages, which is Doug Loves Movies. And in a strange bit of coincidence (I promise it is) their episode went live today! So definitely check that out, and follow Bri on Instagram to find out when she will be in a city near you!

And now, please enjoy our wonderful interview with one of the greatest comics working today, the great Bri Pruett!

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When did you first discover that you were a hilarious person, and that you could make people laugh for living? I understand you started in the world of improv and theatre? What prompted the shift to stand up as your primary art form?
I was involved in theater as a youth, but I was always pretty dramatic and serious. My freshman year of college I took a comedy class, where we worked in all different mediums; I tried stand-up then, but really thrived in sketch and characters. A local sketch team plucked me from that class, and that was my first foray into comedy. My sketch and improv teams were great places to experiment, but when many of my teammates started new jobs and families, I realized I needed a solo medium to work as hard as I wanted to. I also wanted a platform to find my voice as an individual. There, that’s my very unfunny answer about my beginnings in comedy.

What was your very first paid gig as a stand up performer? And did you happen to learn anything from this set that still affects your work today?
Applebee’s, it was an Applebee’s. The coolest Applebee’s actually, the manager wanted to try and make it a hot spot – they had poker and stand-up comedy nights. My friend Alex Falcone, the most industrious person I know, started the gig and hosted. I was paid $30 and a menu item for 15 minutes. I bombed so, so hard. I was extremely blue when I started, and I remember families listening to these jokes. It was a good lesson for the middle part of my career where I was doing pretty undesirable gigs; you need material that works during that period, for survival. I’m not scared of bad rooms like that anymore. Give me any damn Applebee’s, Denny’s, or IHOP.

You hail from my beloved homeland known as the Pacific Northwest. Specifically Portland, Oregon, which still holds a dear place in my heart. Unfortunately, I was not around during the period in time in which yourself and so many other hilarious people (such as our friends and past guests Amy Miller and Sean Jordan) were killing it in the local scene. So I am curious to know what that scene felt like? How was your time performing in your homeland as part of best classes of comedy that Portland has ever produced?

The Bridgetown Comedy festival made the local comics into stars – local papers and national industry started paying attention after that. Bridgetown is 100% responsible for the scene in Portland; I hope there’s enough momentum to keep it going for a while now that it’s over. The festival brought audiences out and taught them how to enjoy stand-up, and they continue to come out because of that legacy. The scene was also bolstered by the comedy club, and the early success of comics like Ian Karmel and Ron Funches who left and made it.

 

I have learned that you have a very interesting and unique show in which you co-host in L.A. called High Priestess, which sounds very intriguing. Many of our past guests on the site, including the aforementioned Amy Miller as well as Lydia Popovich, David Gborie, and Laurie Kilmartin, have appeared on the show. So, I am curious to know about how the idea of this show was conceived? And can you tell our readers a bit about how they can check out the show?

 

High Priestess is a cannabis and tarot card themed comedy show; we book mostly women/non-binary comedians, and include male comedians who are also POCs and/or LGBT+. The result is a very femme, magical experience. To give you an idea, we have had medicated beverage sponsorship, ritual chanting, and up until recently, the show has typically taken place outside during full moons. Sara June is a very funny Austin (now LA) comic who I shared mutual friends with; she knew of my witchy proclivities and approached me about doing a spin-off to a San Francisco based show called Witches Brew, which is a fantastic show. We brought in Sara’s dear friend Tess Christy aka Sybil the divinatrix to co-produce and read tarot cards at the show, and it just evolved from there. All three producers are water signs (Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio respectively), and we’re very in sync about the kind of experience we want to create for people. There are plenty of comedy clubs where folks can hear a white dude over a beer and chicken fingers; at High Priestess you can smoke a joint, see your future, and hear femmes be real!

You have been appearing consistently across the country, performing all over the place. So, I am curious to know about some places that you may have performed at that some folks may not realize are wonderful places for comedy?
Bloomington, Indiana – they have a great club called the Comedy Attic. Go Bananas Comedy club in Cincinnati was also great. Here’s one more… While I didn’t perform there, I watched a stand-up show in Barcelona, Spain, in spanish. Now, I don’t speak spanish, but I enjoyed the hell out of the show, the comics were active and nuanced and different. It’s exciting to see how stand-up is exploding as a medium all over the world.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
My podcast should be launching soon, but folks can currently listen to the High Priestess podcast, and follow-me on social for giggles; my IG stories are where the good stuff is.

What was the last thing that made you smile?
I smile all damn day long. I really don’t know what I’d do without the ridiculous, hilarious details of this life. One specific thing that comes to mind, I met a physical therapist today who asked me about my comedy festival t-shirt and I told him I was a stand-up. His response: I won’t ask you to tell me a joke, because I know you get that all the time. I smiled. God bless that man.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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