Leah Bonnema: On “Making It” in Stand-up Comedy – Ep. 39

Leah Bonnema is a stand-up comedian and writer who recently moved from NYC to LA. She’s done performances on network television and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (a personal hero of mine), and she’s also written full-length books and scripts in addition to co-hosting a weekly podcast, Were You Raised by Wolves with Nick Leighton.

Today we talk about making it as a comic in this crazy world.




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3:22 – “I’m comfortable with the split in my personality.”

5:56 – “You could bomb for 45 minutes straight with just a group of people hating you. And I think that’s one of the reasons why… there’s nothing else like it, you know what I mean? Because it’s the highs and lows…”9:04 – “Everybody has different ideas of what success is for them. My idea of success is not having to have another job.”14:12 – “I’m my most productive when I don’t go on social media.”

19:26 – “I need to be as crisp as possible. Also, so much of comedy—for me at least is—there’s so much rejection that it’s maintaining a healthy mindset, so you don’t just fall off into the void, you know what I mean? And any kind of substance really ends up making me moodier, and then it’s harder to climb back up.”23:33 – “I have a lot of friends who have just blown up on social media. They have an incredible audience. They put their specials on YouTube. They did a phenomenal job. And then I have people that go more traditional routes. I think I’m going to be somewhere in the middle.”

26:37 – “I always think of like younger women and how I would want them to always feel like they can do what they want to do, and that people can’t say shit to them.”32:41 – “There is a solace in meeting other comics, because we’re like, ‘oh, there was nothing wrong with me. I was just with the wrong group of people.’”

40:04 – “Comics put up with an incredible amount of garbage and no regular lifestyle or, you know, piecing together an income, for that moment [on stage].”

45:27 – “I do think that comedy is very well suited to political stuff, because when people laugh at something, they may be more willing to digest something that they weren’t willing to digest if you said it seriously.”

51:05 – “I would say get up as much as you can—just keep getting up. Talk about the things you want to talk about.”

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