Steph Tolev [Interview]

Steph and her puppy Susan.


The world of stand up comedy is truly a weird beast, to say the least. I say this merely as a fan and avid listener. Honestly, I don’t get to see as much live stand up as I would like. But in this day and age there are so many ways to follow the world of comedy. In fact, live shows are probably a smaller portion of how the average fan enjoys comedy, which in itself, sucks, because this how they get paid and get to continue doing what they love. But alas, we as fans should appreciate the benefits and make every attempt possible to see live comedy when able.

So what the hell does this babbling mean? First of all, watch your tone. And second of all, it means we have an absolutely amazing comedian to feature on the site today who happens to have appeared on one of those “other” mediums that I enjoy immensely. Which would be podcasts. Podcasts are an almost necessary means of communication for comedians to fans, as will be discussed below. As we have done several times in the past, the absolutely hilarious Steph Tolev was recently a guest on one of the finest podcasts available right now, the incredible Who’s Your God? hosted by our dear friend & past guest Amy Miller, and Steve Hernandez. By my count, Steph is the fourth (fifth?) comedian I learned about directly from this podcast, was able to get them on this very site, and continue to enjoy to this day. So at least in my own manipulative world, the system is working?

No matter how you find yourself enjoying the absolutely hilarious Steph Tolev, I can tell you that you are going to be glad you did. Her new album is HILARIOUS and should be heard by all. There are plenty of videos out there for a Steph Tolev YouTube rabbit hole, and for God’s sake people, get out there and pay for live comedy! See Steph live, especially if you are in the L.A. area. I couldn’t imagine if I lived in that area, the pressure of what to see every single damn night. But, that’s neither here nor there. Or it is there? And not here? Anyway, Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the absolutely brilliant comedian Steph Tolev!




When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being and that you wanted to make people laugh for a living?

I think the exact moment was in high school, I was in A Midsummer Night’s Dream playing Nick Bottom and my teachers got this giant donkey head for me to wear and I got REALLY INTO it. The first night of the play I waltzed off stage in it and walked through the audience, stepping all over people and they were loving it. I remember thinking wow, I’m literally being an ASS right now and people are losing their minds. I didn’t really think I could make it a career until a few years after that, but that was the moment I knew I wanted to make people laugh.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of stand up? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work today?

I honestly can’t recall the VERY first paid thing I did, I’m sure it was a weird stand up show that I had to drive pretty far to get to, most likely in white out snow in Ontario. But I know that the first time I got paid made me really realize I need to work MUCH harder to make this a real career, cause I can’t live off of $50 once a month.Thinking back now I can’t believe someone paid me for whatever the hell I thought was worth getting paid for. Stand up is very rewarding in that sense to see how trash you used to be to where you are now. The biggest lesson I would say is don’t get cocky and think your good 5-6 years in, the more time you put into this the more valuable you will be.

Having been performing in the states for quite some time now, I am curious to know what it is like to go back to Toronto to do shows? Do you feel a different sort of vibe returning home after spending your days in the L.A. area?

I do feel a different vibe but in a good way. Since I’ve been gone so long I feel very out of touch with the Toronto scene, so many new comics and shows I don’t know but I still feel like its home and the I have no stress on any of the shows. I can just go home see my family and friends and do shows with no consequences I guess? In LA you feel like every set is a showcase set, and you never know who’s in the crowd so you want to make sure you are doing a tight 7 IN CASE. But in Toronto I am so laid back and I always feel comfortable at my favs venues around the city like the Comedy Bar, the second I get on stage I feel like I didn’t leave. Also Torontonians are less sensitive then the people out here in LA. I get a lot more groans when I’m self deprecating out here and more laughs back in Canada.

I came upon your comedy from hearing you on our dear friend and past guest’s podcast, Who’s Your God? And I’ve noticed you’ve done a ton of other podcasts as well. So, with that in mind, have you found this to be a trend of sorts? In your professional opinion, do you believe that doing podcasts these days are actually necessary for a carrier to flourish?

LOL my professional opinion! I actually do think its necessary at this point, I never really did but I see so many comics having a way larger fan base because of them. Especially ones with good themes that people can really relate to.  Plus you found me through one, so it helps other comics get their names out there as well! I am currently working on one that will be released SOON with my co-host Daniel Webb called Chunter. Its really the opposite of what I just said, its the two of us plus guests talking about truly anything at all. Daniel and I co-host a show called Hags in LA and we host like two old hags screaming at the audience, but people seem to really enjoy our wild energy and wacky topics. Ignore my shameless plug, but yeah I think its a great platform to hear comics much more candid and off script so you can really get to know them.

Having performed your comedy all across the globe, from your native homeland of Toronto, to L.A., Edinburgh, and back again, I am curious to know what are some spots you have performed at that may be a bit off the radar? What are some rooms you have worked in that many people may not immediately recognize as great places to perform?

I would for sure say Edmonton, Alberta Canada is a really cool scene that I didn’t even know about until I went there a few years ago, lots of great rooms and supportive people in that city. I just went up to Humbolt, CA recently and really liked the show I did up there, it’s a weird place but they love comedy. Victoria BC is also a really nice place, being on an island the room “Hecklers” there is amazing and I just did “Rumors” in Winnipeg, Manitoba CA anther great room, staff, and all the comics make you feel really welcome. I have to shout out the Canadian places no one knows about cause who the hell else will! But also the Toronto scene is VERY VERY GOOD and I do miss it.



What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

My album is out on vinyl now so I am really excited about that, link is in all my social media crap. Also I am doing my first ever ONE WOMAN SHOW at Dynasty Typewriter on Wednesday December 4th at 8pm called “I’ve Always Been Fucked”. I am nervous/excited for it!! If you are in LA please come! Also my show HAGS at the virgil with Daniel Webb is the last Tuesday of the month!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My puppy SUSAN!!!!! I love her so much and all I do is stare and her and smile, literally all day long and have been for the last three weeks.


Steph has a straight up smattering amount of shows lined up in the L.A. area over the next couple of months, as well as a headlining gig back in her homeland, Check her out. To learn more about the amazing Steph Tolev, check out her WEBSITE:


Nov 11- Mermaid Comedy @ The Hollywood Improv 8pm

Nov 12- Blair & Greta @ Gengis Cohen 8pm

Nov 14- Deanne Smith @ The Lyric Hyperion 9:30pm

Nov 17- Golden Hour 7pm

Nov 18- Kibitz Comedy @ Canters

Nov 19- Take On L.A @ The Red Lion Tavern 8pm

Nov 20- Super Serious @ The Virgil 8pm

Nov 22- Green Screen Show @ UCB Suset 10pm

Nov 24- Chatterbox in Covina 9pm

Nov 26- HAGS @ The Virgil 8pm

Dec 4-  ONE WOMAN SHOW ” I’ve Always Been Fucked” @ Dynasty Typewriter 8pm

Dec 7-  Good Heroin @ Stories 8pm

Dec 11- Junior High 7:30pm

Dec 12- Hard Times @ The Hollywood Improv 9pm

Dec 13- 14- Headlining Chuckles in St Johns New Brunswick, Canada

Dec 30- Hags @ The Virgil 8pm

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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