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Not Just The Dirty Guitar Girl: Spotlight on Comedienne Allison Weber

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Allison Weber has been doing stand-up comedy since 2008. I wanted to interview her because she is truly a ray of light (on stage and off). Her dream has always has been to make people happy. Since she could walk and talk, Allison knew that all she wanted to do was entertain people and make them smile. She has been blessed with the gift of pure silliness and a sparkling charisma. When you watch Allison on stage, you feel like she is your friend. 

photo by Michael Schwartz

photo by Michael Schwartz

Her start in comedy… A very fateful fluke.

I’ve been playing guitar since I was a teenager. I used to play cover songs with my friends and we would make up silly lyrics. Cut to – moving to LA in 2007. I had no guitar with me so I decided to purchase one and get back to my musical roots. Mostly because I love to do karaoke (I’m a nerd!) and I was losing my ability to stay in tune while singing. So I thought, having a guitar again would help with that. All of this was for hobby purposes. But as they say, it just takes one person to believe in you to make a difference.

I had met an amazing comic, Jill-Michele Melean, through a mutual friend. One day, while just hanging out at my apartment, and playing cover songs/making up silly lyrics on the spot, Jill responded, almost shaking me, telling me to put this on stage! Now, I had moved to LA to be a comedic actress. I NEVER considered doing stand-up… but Jill was almost insistent. She told me that my “off the cuff” lyrics were hilarious and if I just put some effort into writing this out, I could easily have a stage ready stand-up set. Realizing she wasn’t trying to blow smoke, I really gave it some thought. Maybe since I was into music AND being silly, and I wanted to entertain people, MAYBE this could be the avenue to do so. The ultimate fire came when she so amazingly offered- “I have a show once a month at the Hollywood Improv. If you write a set, I will put you on stage.” Her astounding belief in me that I could truly do this as well as her incredibly generous spirit, gave me all the gusto to sit and write. That first show was in December 2008, and my life from that moment was forever changed. I owe Jill everything and I still thank her every chance I get.

On actually calling herself a comic…

During my first couple of years, I didn’t get out as consistently as I maybe should have. I was doing a show about once a month because one show would lead to another and so on. But I didn’t “pound the pavement” as many did. I felt, in the beginning, that I was just a musician pretending to be a comic. So I didn’t go to open mics or anything like that. The comics I knew that were starting out, had been wanting to do comedy forever and I had it thrown in my lap. That feeling kept me out of the fight for stage time. I just sort of rode the slight wave of shows I was being offered. So it took me a while to get more consistent. After my first couple of years, my comfort level increased, of course, and started actually calling myself a comic. Although, due to a lot of reasons over the past few years (one of which is having 3 herniated discs in my back which can put me out of commission for a while), I still wasn’t able to get up nightly like most of my comedy comrades. But now, my writing bug is starting up again and I’m feeling a fresh new start. I’m getting out there, as they say, much more! 🙂

Not just “The Dirty Guitar Girl”!

When I first started writing, I had sex on the brain. And when Jill said to write a set, I thought I needed a through theme. My idea was Relationship 101 since I had a lot of qualms with some things in the dating department. So the songs were based around the beginnings of relationships and our differences as men and women going all the way through the weirdness of a lot of sexual situations we find as the relationship progresses.

The Dirty Guitar Girl moniker came when I was working on getting a website. Having a name like Allison Weber comes with so many different spellings that I thought saying “Look me up at AllisonWeber.com” or my current “AllisonComedy.com” would constitute my spelling of it every show. AND might be something easily forgotten. If someone saw my act, they might say, “what was the name of that dirty guitar girl?”. So I thought, maybe just for show purposes, I would have that name so people can easily remember me. However, as I’ve been growing in my comedy skin, I don’t want to be known as that name. I want to leave myself open to write more clean material so I’m not limiting myself. It’s hard to get a lot of big work whilst remaining a totally blue comic. So I’m currently trying to phase that away… This is all a learning experience. Now, I’m putting it out there that I’m to be known as Allison Weber Comedian (not just Guitar this or Dirty that).  I’m proud to report that something I’ve had extreme trouble with up until now—putting down the guitar and just talking— has been my main focus and my most recent achievement! My plan is to have an hour long set(s) of intermittent music and monology.

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Living in a two comic household? It’s hilarious!

Seriously, we make each other laugh all the time. And we randomly come up with material based on our silly home/life together experiences. I think having a creative person living with you, helps to bring out the best creativity within the other person. And we understand each other’s dreams and help each other strive for them. Which is sometimes not the case, I hear, with comics in relationships with anyone with a normal job. It’s hard that one has to travel away from the other for long periods of time, as well as being friendly with everyone of the same and opposite sex at shows. It can create jealousy in a lot of people. But because we both are in the business, we know these ropes and are completely supportive of each other. I actually love when we have a little time apart…. me and the cats get to stretch in the bed! And I get to be as messy as I wanna be!! While daddy is away, me and the cats will play.

And I have to say, meeting my husband, Flip Schultz, was a bit of kismet all on its own. We met at my second ever show at the Hollywood Improv, both booked by my mentor Jill-Michele Melean. He actually was on the show as his alter ego, Skippy Greene, which is basically a dirty catskill era throwback with a new wave twist (hilarious!). And lets just say with our dirty powers combined, it was raunch at first sight. And since we met there, we got married in July 2011 on stage there. He’s my best friend, my lover, my partner, and my constant source of inspiration. He’s been doing comedy about 4 times as long as I have so I of course learn so much from him. But I’m very prideful and make sure that we keep our writing very separate. I ask for his input every now and again and definitely credit my new found abilities with writing to my years of watching him work. But it can be hard being a female comic who just started out around the time she started dating a very established comic. Even though it was my second show we met on, most used to assume Flip started my career. AND that he helped me write my songs! That’s where I’ve been adamant that he doesn’t help me come up with material. It took a while to break away from being Flip’s girl who does/tries to do comedy… to Allison Weber Comedian “and did you hear she’s also married to Flip Schultz?”

I’m very happy to say, most comics I meet now, know who I am or know of me based on my own merit and sometimes don’t even KNOW about my relationship with Flip. To any comic involved with another comic, they know that’s a win. When you and your abilities are not being compared to your partner. And when Flip and I work together on the road, we have a blast not telling anyone we are couple until the end of the show! Its always a surprise and gets the best reaction. The crowd gets to see our separate comedic stylings and see how truly different we are… at the same time we’re showing our personality as a couple. We absolutely love working and traveling together.

If her best friend wanted to get into stand-up comedy, the first three pieces of advice that would come to mind would be…

1. Write down all the ideas that make you laugh and find the biggest, funniest part of that, to be the “punchline” or “place to get to” in the rant.

2. Next, find an open mic and go up with a few minutes of these ideas ready and see how it feels with a mic in front of you. See how these rants feel being said to a crowd and what might come to you in the heat of the moment. Also, testing your comfort ability on stage.

3. And don’t feel that if you “get no response” to something you say, that its not worth trying again. Keep every funny idea you have and realize sometimes it takes looking at the idea in a different way to get it to come across to a crowd. Revisiting your ideas and working on timing and rhythm and wording might help to bring the idea to funny life.

For more about Allison Weber, please visit her official website: AllisonComedy.com!

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About Marilyn Anne Michaels

Actress/Waitress/Writer/Comedienne - Marilyn Anne Michaels is a member of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. She trained at the Second City Chicago Conservatory Training Center and did tons of theatre before moving to Los Angeles in 2006. Marilyn co-created and starred in the award winning web series The Best Friend. Marilyn does not like writing bios.