News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: You’re Welcome

This week, local standup comedian Erin Jackson tickles our funny bone.

Erin Jackson performing at her favorite local comedy venue, DC Improv. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Erin Jackson’s blog is called You’re Welcome. “My ego came up with the name,” she says. “It thinks the world is hanging on my every word.”

Jackson is a standup comedian. She got her start when she was 24 years old, performing at clubs in DC and Baltimore. Now seven years later, Jackson is moving up fast: She has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, and she’s made several radio appearances on The Bob and Tom Show. Jackson was a semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and a finalist on the network’s Stand-Up for Diversity Initiative.

She started her blog in 2005. It reads like a journal, in which she documents what goes on in her day-to-day life. Jackson never expected anybody to read it except friends and family. But now, she says, lots of her readers are people she’s never met.

We caught up with this Howard University alum to learn more about the local comedy scene. Read on to find out how Jackson got her start, where you can find her after shows, and what went on behind the scenes on Last Comic Standing.

Age at which you knew you wanted to be a comedian:
“Twenty-four, I think. A lot of comics say they always knew—not me. I always loved comedy and thought I was funny, but in terms of doing it as a job, I never really considered it until an ex-boyfriend pushed me in the right direction.”

First joke you ever made up:

“I think the first joke I ever wrote is one I still tell. It’s about me wanting to get famous so I can do famous-black-people things—buy a mansion and some fancy cars and marry a white woman. Here’s the punch line: ‘I’m not gay, but I don’t see why that should stand in between me and my white trophy wife. How else is the world gonna know I made it?’ ”

Comedian you most admire:

“Ellen DeGeneres. I love the way she’s been able to parlay an awesome standup career into sitcoms, movies, and now this über-successful talk show. And she’s done it primarily on her own terms, by being true to herself and a genuinely good person. She’s my favorite. And she did me the hugest favor ever by inviting me to be a guest on her show.”

Most famous person you’ve ever met:
“Who’s more famous, Puff Daddy or Dick Cavett? You choose.”

Knock-knock joke that will make us laugh:

“I can’t guarantee it’ll make you laugh, but I met a guy at the Pentagon City Mall on Tuesday who told me this one:

“‘Knock Knock.’  ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Boo.’ ‘Boo who?’ ‘What are you crying for? It’s just a joke.’

“I’m here all week, folks.”

Best place you’ve ever traveled to for a gig:

“Guess I’d have to say Las Vegas, though I didn’t have much time to enjoy it.”

Five words to describe your experience on Last Comic Standing:
“Great exposure, but competitions stink.”

Funniest thing that happened behind the scenes:
“Well, I only made it to the semis, but I’d have to say the fights with wardrobe about our performance outfits. They told us to bring five of our best outfits and they’d help us pick the best one for the show. Well, they took one look at our clothes and the next day they went shopping for outfits for every single one of us. Apparently, our absolute best clothes all sucked. A lot of folks were unhappy. I actually liked the shirt they got for me. So when I found out I didn’t advance to the finals, I kept it. And then took head shots in it. Ha!”

Favorite funny movie:
Coming to America.”

Favorite non-funny movie:
Dirty Dancing. It’s my favorite movie of all time. I’ve even blogged about my love of it. And last Christmas I begged for the Dirty Dancing board game.”

Stage name, if you had to make one up for yourself:
“Erin Jackson is my stage name. Do you think I was born with a name that awesome?”

How you warm up for a show:
“Two words: Jack and ginger (ale).”

Most memorable moment in your career so far:
“I think my most memorable comedy moment was the first time I ever performed standup. It was at Cafe Japone on P Street. There was a Tuesday open mike there. It’s when I caught the bug.”

Favorite venue in Washington:
“This is easy: DC Improv. Not only is it one of the best clubs in the nation and the premier venue in the region, but the staff and management have been amazing to me over the years. They’ve given me a place to work and grow. I had my first emcee spot there back in 2005. And this Fourth of July weekend I’ll be headlining the main showroom for the first time.”

Favorite place to go after a show in Washington:
“Since most of the time I’m working in Washington I’m at the Improv, the default hangout spot is just up the street at Lucky Bar. Fancy, I know. No one even has to say the name of the place. It’s like, ‘You goin’ over?’ ‘Yup, see you there.’ ”

Where you go to not be funny in Washington:

“To bed. I’m not very funny in my sleep.”

Favorite local comedian besides yourself:
“This is gonna be awkward because most of the other local comedians can read, and I secretly tell them all they’re my favorite. But only because you’re making me answer this, I’ll say my fave local funny person is Jason Weems. He’s literally got paper bags full of jokes and writes like crazy. I always love to hear what he’s working on.”

Favorite local comedian blog:
“My favorite local comedian blog is Don’t Know Better, written by comedian Aparna Nancherla. Her posts are great—they’re witty and weird and adorable, just like she is!”

Next week, we hop aboard The 42 Metrobus with blogger Tim Wright. He tells us all about his favorite bus route and what’s great about Mount Pleasant, the neighborhood he calls home. Come back on Wednesday for the interview!

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