For this installment of “Why So Serious,” we caught up with Denver comedian Heather Snow, a relative newcomer to stand-up who has nonetheless managed to create an impressive mini-scene at Beauty Bar each month.
Snow’s Ladies Laugh-In night, which takes place the third Thursday of every month, is a killer showcase of female comics (who are often grossly underrepresented at other venues and shows) like Jodee Champion, Stephanie McHugh, Gretchen Hess, Nora Lynch and Timmi Ann Lasley. But the free show is also a chance to catch some of the city’s best male comics, like Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland, Phil Palisoul, Hippieman, Elliot Woolsey and many others.
We grilled Snow in advance of the next Ladies Laugh-In this Thursday, April 21, at Beauty Bar.
What was your first time performing stand-up like?
In the past, I’ve suffered from terrible stage fright. Attending comedy shows had become a part of what I called “Productive Drinking.” The requirement that I had set for myself was that if I was going out to drink, there needed to be an activity. So, I started going to see comedy at Paris on the Platte. After months of watching, I wanted to get up, had some jokes, but was terrified. Right before they were done one night, a fellow comic, Matt Baca, encouraged me to bite the bullet. With enough liquid courage, I said, “OK.” And I killed.
The next week, I went back sober and bombed. It was horrifying… everyone looked at me in silence. So I thought that I needed to be wasted to be funny. Not true. After drinking before my set the following week I bombed again, even harder. It was a challenge. I was hooked.
Do you have a joke you used to love to tell but now can’t stand?
I’m still very new to stand-up, so my material is constantly changing. But there’s one in particular that I hate. It’s about working at Sesame Place, an amusement park outside of Philadelphia, and when a kid would poop in the pool, the lifeguards would get on the walkie-talkies and say, “We have a code Snuffalapugus in the Big Bird pool.” I hate that joke. It’s a poop joke. Now, diarrhea? Farts? That’s funny!
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever felt bad laughing at?
My friend Kimberley and I look very similar. We often get asked if we’re sisters because we’re both 6′ tall and blonde. We’re both athletic, have similar facial features and often get mixed up. She’s a Denver firefighter, and she always gets “Wait a minute? Aren’t you a comic?” Kidding. No one ever recognizes me. But, I usually get, “Hey, aren’t you a firefighter?”
We were at a rooftop party at Vita and I was standing next to her husband, and this Korean guy kept thinking that I was Kimberley. I finally shouted at him, “WHAT?! DO YOU THINK THAT WE ALL LOOK THE SAME?!?”
Do you have mentors in the local scene?
Nora Lynch and Lori Callahan have a regular impact on my progress and have been amazing and supportive friends through my all of my good sets, bad sets and the hurdles that can come with being the new girl on the scene. Hippieman, Ben Roy and Phil Palisoul are always fun to watch, and their advice and guidance offstage is always both straight-forward and inspirational. And, I like to take Phil’s poker money because frankly, I’m a winner and just can’t help it.
The women of Denver comedy are awesome, supportive and original. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish. Some are upset with stage intros like, “Here’s your first LADY comic.” I’m happy they say “first” and not “only.”
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried, and why?
My buddy has a safety word and it’s apparently “banana.”
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of comedy?
I’m a skiing and yoga junkie. If I can fit both into one day, I’m a happy girl. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to do both at the same time. I dislike amusement parks, pirates, buffets and hiking.
Favorite joke of the moment?
It’s one that’s off-stage and an “inside joke” between a few comics. I’m often very self-conscious about being so tall, and feel as if women and small men treat me like I should do “man” things for them like open jars, carry their luggage, pay for dinner and open car doors. So I’ve decided to throw people for a loop when shaking hands. Instead of firmly shaking, I turn and place my hand gently on top of theirs. It also helps if my hands are wet. Nothing makes me feel more like a lady than giving a cold, clammy, dainty handshake. Sexy. People’s reactions are priceless.
Read more about Ladies Laugh-In in an article I wrote for The Denver Post earlier this week.
John Wenzel is an executive editor of Reverb and an award-winning A&E reporter for The Denver Post. He is the author of “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” (Speck Press/Fulcrum) and maintains a Twitter feed of completely random song titles and band names.