Photo by Anya Garrett
“The Snuggie? Really? The commercials say, ‘Blankets are great…until you have to answer the phone.’ Really? If you’re an adult and you can’t master the blanket and the phone, you should just kill yourself.”
Amy Carlson learned early that if she made people laugh, especially her depressed mom, it could make growing up poor in New Rochelle just a bit easier. Her mom didn’t censor what they watched on TV and, in good times, they’d laugh together at Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Saturday Night Live. Amy knew that making people laugh is what she wanted to do and started in comedy after completing a standup class at Carolines On Broadway in New York City.
Carlson, now 33, plays down the cliché that all comedians are tortured souls. “I think a lot of comedians come from dysfunctional families—but a lot of people come from dysfunctional families. It depends on how you to decide to cope.”
She spends a great deal of her time traveling all over the Northeast taking different gigs to hone her craft. Her clerical day job at a private school enables her to make ends meet while she continues her five-year fight to make it in comedy. “Standup is a lot like an abusive boyfriend that you go back to no matter how bad it beats you up,” she says. “I ask myself what keeps me in it all the time, and the simple answer is that I would die if I didn’t do this.”