Monday, July 15, 2013


On behalf of the Dairy Center for the Performing Arts, I would like to thank the many of you that turned out for the all-female comedy show this past Saturday, the 13th of July. As many of you already know, the show sold out and was a complete success. The women did a fantastic job and the audience was extremely receptive and open and seemed to be there to really relax and have some fun-- the entire point of a going out to see a comedy show. It went as perfectly as a comedy show possibly could.

Thank you for spending your Saturday evening with us and thank you for supporting the local comedy as scene as well as the local arts community. Your support is much appreciated.


James Gold

Jil Chrissie, the emcee of the show, works the crowd

Friday, July 12, 2013




Haley Driscoll:

Colorado native. College graduate. Commuter. Office worker. Actress. Improv-iser. Comedian.

I didn’t catch up with her recently, but I met her somewhere.

Specifically, we met at the Laughing Goat on Pearl Street in Boulder— a coffee joint where students and hipsters and yuppies go to stare judgingly over their laptops across the room at one another… a spot with excellent pastries and beers, for a coffee place.

The joint was busy with the clattering of cups and plates and baristas pulling shots.

Haley came in, smiling and warm, mixing easily with the youthful vibe of the joint.

We had a great talk, and as it turns out, she is a very interesting, sweet and naturally hilarious person.

She initially has a shy demeanor, but anyone who has seen her perform, knows that she’s anything but that.

Here are some bits from our chat:

JG: What is your earliest memory of performing?

HD:  Probably that would be tap dancing when I was five or six. And I hated it. I hated the whole conformity of everyone having to do the same dance moves. There’s actually a picture of me in a little red velvet dress looking sooo confused and upset.

JG: Do you have this photo on you?

HD: (laughs) No, but I think it’s on the internet.

JG: How did you arrive at a life of performing comedy?

HD: Well, I’ve always done acting, my whole life. In my senior year of high school I got involved in Madcap theater (an improv company), in Westminster.

I’ve been doing improv for about 7 years now and I love that. Two or three summers ago I went out to LA and studied with IOS and did the Groundlings, Second City. After that I went to Amsterdam and Italy and toured around Italy doing improv.

JG: Um… that sounds amazing. When was the first time you tried stand up?

HD: The first time wasn’t at an open mic or anything. It was at Impulse, in Denver. They do an improv thing there. But one time they booked out a standup show. So the first time I did it was a sold out show with standing room only, with all family and friends. So it was a pretty positive first time experience.

JG: Since you have an improv background… when it comes to standup comedy, do you prepare an act or do you go onstage and just wing it, since you’ve developed those sorts of skills?

HD:  Oh no, I’ve gotta prepare.

It’s hard sitting down and writing jokes and coming up with punchlines, though.
               Improv is mostly acting, and I love character work.

I feel like I’m good at feeling out what the audience is enjoying.

JG: How confident are you, inwardly, when performing stand up?

HD: When I’m onstage, I feel incredibly confident. Because I’ve been onstage a lot. But when it comes to writing jokes… one thing I’ve struggled with is telling a joke again. I get real bored. Especially if I look around and I’m seeing a ton of people who have seen me do the same jokes before.

JG: Do you do open mics?

HD: I like to do Kingas. It’s not too late and usually you can get on early and not be there too long.

I used to get so frustrated at the first open mics I started going to. Three Kings is pretty brutal.

It’s so easy there for people to just not pay attention. And you basically end up talking to open space until you finally make some connections.

 It’s especially hard if you’re a lady. Having to be in those seedy bars late at night.

JG: What do you feel your strengths are?

HD: I think it’s my experience when I get up there, I can tell new jokes with confidence. When I go up there, I don’t freak out. I kinda know that even if this isn’t great, I just keep going. The stakes always feel so high, but it’s just one show. My weakness, on the other hand, is actually finding the time to sit down and write shit down.

JG: What is your joke writing process?

HD: Twitter has actually helped me out quite a bit, with figuring out joke formats and getting the seed of something that I think is funny. And sometimes I’ll have a few ideas and it will just hit me suddenly, how I can connect them all. I’m still in the process of trying to figure out what method works best for me, though.

JG: How would you describe your stand up?

HD: I’m realizing more and more that it’s real silly. It’s really, really goofy. It’s a lot of characters and silly plays on words.

JG: Who are some of your favorite comics?

HD: I saw Dan St. Germain recently… he was so goddamn funny. I would also say Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, and I like a lot of Lewis Black’s stuff, when he’s not too in your face political. Oh! And Maria Bamford is probably one of my favorites. She’s so good and so weird and nobody can do her jokes. Nobody can steal her jokes because no one can do them like her. She’s so unabashed about how mentally unstable she is.

JG: So regarding the upcoming show at the Dairy… have you performed much in Boulder?

HD: Yeah, at CU Boulder where I got my theatre degree and I did the Shakespeare festival there.

JG: What do you think about Boulder?

HD: It’s so hard to get people to come out of Boulder to go anywhere, even Westminster. But it’s really beautiful and the people are really nice.

JG: Have you done anything at the Dairy?

HD: Yeah. I actually did a drama (play) there called “Bug.” Right after I graduated school.

JG: What do you see in your future?

HD: Well, I’m with a commercial agency and I’ve done a few commercials and short films. So I’ll see how the standup thing goes. I know that I have some good bits and I know that I’m generally funny. It’s such a craft though. Figuring out who people perceive you to be onstage and what kind of humor that’s most conducive to that.

JG: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten regarding stand up?

HD: To just commit to it for a good amount of time of trying it out before you think about discarding it. Those first couple of months of open mics is really hard and frustrating.

JG: And what advice would you give, to someone starting out?

HD: Carry around a notebook. Write down everything that you think is funny or could be something. Also, don’t be discouraged by other comics. Don’t get intimidated. I get really intimidated by other comics sometimes, so I get that.

 You can see Haley Driscoll perform this Saturday, July 13th, at the Dairy Comedy Show.
Tickets and more information can be found at


Tuesday, July 9, 2013


by James Gold

Recently, I met with Jil Chrissie at the Appaloosa Grill in downtown Denver, to talk about the all-female show coming to Boulder’s Dairy Center for the Performing Arts this Saturday, July 13th.

It was a fierce, choking-hot afternoon but Jil came in with an infectious smile on her face, ready to get down to biz.

First up, a tall rum and coke.

Then, the Q & A:

Me: How is that you became a performer, Jil?

Jil: I’ve been performing since I was a kid. My mom was a musician who worked with Al Green, so music and performance was just a part of our lives. My brothers and sisters, we grew up singing gospel music together and even used to tour around doing performances. I really started performing everywhere when I was about eight. Even now, when my family gets together, we’ll still sing.

Me: What led you to standup comedy?

Jil: Well, it started with spoken word poetry. I got into that when I was about ten years old. Didn’t really get any good at it, though, until I was about sixteen. And even then, it took a couple of more years before I knew what the hell I was doing. My poetry is funny, so it was a natural transition. It’s gratifying to me to make people laugh, and I feel like I need to do that.

Me: Where was the first place you tried stand up?

Jil: I don’t even remember the name of the place now. It was some place on Colfax where they would usually have spoken word performances. I bombed horribly, which was hard. I was used to doing poetry and used to people liking me, but this experience was different. When I bombed, I could feel the people thinking “yeah, we are NOT fucking with you.”

Me: Do you or have you done the open mic thing?

Jil: Oh yeah, of course. The thing about the open mics here though, is they start late as shit.

Me: Do you find the Denver comedy scene to be welcoming?

Jil: The comedy scene here is dope. And so is the poetry scene.

Me: There are only a couple of black female comics on the scene here. Do you find that people have certain expectations of you?  You know, stereotypical or pigeon-holing expectations?

Jil: No, I don’t feel pigeon-holed at all. That’s one of the reasons I’m happy to be here. Denver has a way of letting you be yourself. I don’t feel like people expect me to be a stereotype. They look at me like an individual.

It was about this time that the bartender checked in. The drinks were gone and the vibes were good.

Jil knew the woman—they’d worked together at a restaurant before. “Would you like another drink,” the bartender asked. 

Jil considered it for a moment, then said “yeah. Another rum and coke. And girl, just make it strong as hell. Like a double or something.”

It was probably in this moment that it was most apparent how Jil’s charisma is off the charts. Her degree of politeness, the cheerful pitch of her voice, and her degree of attentiveness to what you’re saying—it is simply impossible to do anything but adore her.

We talked about working shitty jobs. Mostly the “customer is always right” types of jobs.

We discussed how wrong that sentiment is. How frustrating. And how it gives certain types of people a sense of entitlement when it comes to being incredibly awful to the low paid workers.

Jil: When you have a job like that, you realize how much you hate people. But only because you really love people, you know what I mean?

Me: Yeah. You have certain expectations of people to just be decent human beings towards others.

Jil: Exactly!

Me: So speaking of jobs and careers, are you gonna take this comedy thing all the way?

Jil: Oh yeah. To the end. Imma kill the fucking game. I’m constantly trying to find a new way to deliver comedy and a new way to write my comedy.

Me: So, how would you describe your comedy?

Jil: Well, some of it is self-deprecating, which is really cathartic. I would also say that it’s rhythmic. There’s a rhythm to it that helps me set my jokes up for the punchlines in a way that I think is unique to me. And I really like that about myself at this point. There are a whole lot of things I don’t like about myself, but that’s one thing I’m really proud of.

Me: What would “making it” mean to you?

Jil: Well, I want to make it in the sense that I want to be able to take care of my parents. Either you’re a starving artist or you’re an artist who is producing things and making money off of what you are producing. And for me, I just want to be able to take care of my parents.

Again, the bartender steps up to see if we’re cool on the drinks.

We are, and she walks away.

Jil laughs at me and says “you’re checking out her ass!”

I laugh, but don’t deny it.

And the conversation leans towards men and women and relationships for a while—many things which cannot be printed here—but we eventually return to comedy.

I shoot straight to the obligatory heckling question that so many people like to ask.

Me: Have you ever been heckled?

Jil: Yeah, when I was doing stand up in Los Angeles. I was just starting out, and I got heckled by other comics! And I was like ‘fuck you, dude. I don’t need your help in getting thick skin.’ I don’t view that as helping.

Me: So who are some of your influences?

Jil: A lot of the New York comics—Steven Wright, Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chappelle… Chris Rock. I love Chris Rock. I watched his specials growing up.

Me: So about the show at the Dairy that’s coming up… have you worked with any of the girls that are on the lineup?

Jil: Oh yeah. And you’ve got a killer lineup. You know that right? The thing that I love about these girls is that they don’t just joke about things like their periods. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

Me: When you think of Boulder, what do you think of?

Jil: Weed.

And she laughs.

In fact, we both laugh here. The good ol’ Boulder stereotype that is a stereotype for a reason.

And the conversation veers once more away from comedy, to music.

She talks more about Al Green and how she grew up with him just sort of being around, working with her mother.

We talked Sly and the Family Stone, the Red Hots, and Coldplay.

“I know a lot of black people that like Coldplay,” she says, “there’s something about the rhythms in their music.”

We talk about her college days and her work in broadcasting and how she wrote commercials for a while.

And eventually, it’s time to go.

We hug and bid farewell until the 13th and I promise to send her links to some of the music we talked about.

As I’m riding the bus out of Denver towards Boulder, I’m silently thanking the comic who recommended Jil to me to book as the emcee for this show.

It’s going to be phenomenal.