Kristen Wiig and Allie Brosh: Sisters of Stand-up.
I have been a long time fan of Hyperbole and a Half, the blog written by Allie Brosh. She stopped, got depressed and started up again.
Kristen Wiig (left) and Allie Brosh have much in common. If there wasn’t ten years difference in their age one could argue that Kristen Wiig and Allie Brosh were separated at birth.
Except of course that would be hilarious. Which they are.
So let’s call them Sisters of Stand-up.
Brosh certainly knows Wiig, but I’m betting your last nickel that Wiig doesn’t have a clue who Brosh is.
Together they are a lot of the same things… besides hilarious.
If you’re female and want to be hilarious, anything to be learned from their careers?
First and foremost and probably the most important tip for budding female comedians is to be a hell-raiser in your formative years.
I probably lived more of a rock-star life when I was 15. I got in trouble a fair amount. I cared more about hanging out and skipping school than studying. … I definitely ran with a pack of hoodlums, that’s for sure.
Brosh once tried to set her sister on fire. Brosh wins.
I was a very, very problematic child. I don’t know why. Maybe I was trying to get a rise out of my mom. It might’ve been entertaining for me to be troublesome. I know that I had to go see a psychiatrist when I was 3 because I’d bit my sister and then tried to set her on fire.
Second tip for a successful career in female comedy: Become an artist. Brosh illustrates her own books. Brosh wins.
probably ever since I could pick up a pen and figure out what to do with it. My mom would use drawing as a babysitting tool; she would buy me rolls of butcher paper and just give me pens and tell me to go nuts. It was a good outlet for my energy. I was a problematic child.
Wiig majored in art at the University of Arizona – after following a boyfriend there from the east.
My major was studio art, and you could pick three different types of art for that major, and it was like sculpture, painting, and I just tried this class called Performance Art, which was like writing poems and doing very weird light changes and things like that, which was like my first experience of being on a stage, even though it was like this tiny, little box in front of a class. It was literally Acting 101.
Third tip, don’t have a clue what you want to do with your life after college. Wiig just chucked it all and headed to Los Angeles. Wiig wins.
And I was like, ‘I want to move to L.A. and try to be an actor,’ which was crazy but I didn’t stop myself. I packed my car the next day, and my roommate at the time, in Arizona, lived in Beverly Hills and she said I could come stay with her.
Brosh started her blog (a word she hates, call her work “drawwriting”) as a way to avoid studying for an important exam. She said she was “laterally productive…” explaining that she often got things done while avoiding another task.
Procrastination, for instance—she actually started the blog as a way to avoid studying for a college physics final. “I sort of wondered if I could write something that people would like,” she says.
One chose to move to Los Angeles and become an actor. The other chose to move to her bedroom and start a blog.
Guess which one is rich and famous and guess which one isn’t. Wiig wins.
Both ended up doing stand-up comedy.
Allie Brosh considers her blog the same as doing stand-up, whether Wiig and other stand-up comedy stars would agree is up for debate. This one is a toss-up for a winner.
Brosh on her style of writing.
I would describe it as standup comedy in book form. I feel like my writing style is sort of the result of me subconsciously trying to replicate the feel of standup comedy. I was very frustrated when I first started writing that there wasn’t that physicality to it. There was – it was more one-dimensional than standup comedy, which you can rely on tone and facial expressions, body posture, and I wanted to find some way to commit that to the page. And drawing fixed all those problems.
There is no doubt that Wiig excels in improv stand-up comedy. After getting her start at the Groundlings in LA, she vaulted to television stardom on Saturday Night Live and then to movie stardom by producing, co-writing and starring in The Bridesmaids.
Fourth career tip from these two successful female comedians – be reluctant about comedy as a way to earn a living. Brosh works alone. Wiig has a staff. Brosh wins.
If I’m in a room full of people and someone says, ‘Hey, Kristen, what happened at that thing?’ I’ll just be like, ‘Oh, ugh, ugh’ and I’ll start sweating.
Brosh says she is not sure she could make it doing stand-up comedy because her ideas
tend to come out rapidly and partially deformed.
She admits that sales from her books allows her to live a modest life in Bend, Oregon.
From different coasts, both Wiig and Brosh spent their childhood in small towns. Brosh in Auburn, California and Wiig in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Fifth valuable tip to budding female comedians, get born in a small conservative town. If you ever been to Auburn, California, you know Brosh wins.
Allie Brosh and Kristen Wiig are both hilarious writers. If there are two women who are more alike but ended up with a more divergent way to success someone should let me know.
Until then, I’m calling it. Allie Brosh wins.