Greenwich comedian brings her tightly-wound stage persona to Fairfield
Honing her stage persona as the uptight mom from Connecticut, comedian Jane Condon came to comedy fairly late, at age 37, after serious careers as a journalist and teacher. On her fifth audition for Last Comic Standing in 2007, she slept in her car overnight in March in New York (it was a Lexus so she called it camping Greenwich-style).
Shaun Eli Breidbart, comedian and executive director of The Ivy League of Comedy, noted many bookers won’t put two women comics in the same show fearing audiences might think the show is only for women. His instinct otherwise was proved right when his first Fabulous Funny Females show a few years ago sold out quickly. The current lineup accentuates each comic’s individual styles. “You want variety in style, energy, point of view and topics,” he said. “For example you don’t want a show that’s all single heterosexual males in their 40’s who all talk about their experiences using Tinder (and that’s more comics than you might think).”
She and fellow comedians Maureen Langan (HBO, Gotham Comedy Live) and Ellen Karis, aka the “Greek Goddess of Comedy,” will headline the Ivy League of Comedy’s “Fabulously Funny Females” show Sept. 28 at Fairfield Theatre Company.
We talked to Condon about her path to comedy and stage persona.
Andrea Valluzzo: Were you always funny?
Jane Condon: I was the youngest of four children so I wanted attention. I was always the funny kid. We had some problems in my family and I’d be on the side going ‘Look over here!’ My job was to cheer people up. I wrote about Japanese women in the 80s. We lived in Japan for five years before we moved to Greenwich. I would lecture about Japan and people would laugh and I thought, ‘Oh, if you think that’s funny, let me tell you about living in Greenwich, Conn. That’s the foreign country!’
AV: You grew up on Massachusetts' South Shore, lived in New York City and Japan and now Greenwich. Which place induced the most culture shock?
JC: The biggest culture shock was Greenwich. I really wanted to fit in and I was worried everybody would be a snob but the people in the grocery store have been very nice. If I forget to wear my pearls, they lend me some. Never in a million years did I think I would end up in Greenwich. Brockton (Mass.) is a tough town. People get shot in Brockton; I like to say it’s our way of saying hello.
AV: What was the first big thing you bought with a comedy paycheck?
JC: (Long laugh) This is embarrassing, I bought an ice cream maker. I probably should have spent it on my kids because they have given me the most material.
AV: How hard is stand-up?
JC: It’s the most fun in the world but we work very hard to make it look very easy. It takes you years to find your persona. I’m an uptight Connecticut mom and I do my comedy from my point of view so I probably have the shortest sex section. What’s nice is people send me sex jokes because they are trying to help me.
AV: Do you watch your shows after?
JC: I have audio-cassettes going back more than 20 years, I have drawers filled with them. Now, I try to videotape myself on my phone. You can really learn a lot either audio- or videotaping yourself. It’s painful though. Usually on the drive home, I will listen to it and say, ‘Oh yeah, that was great, that was great. Oh, that was an ad lib, keep that. Oh, that didn’t work.’
AV: Favorite joke?
JC: One of my favorite jokes is about same-sex marriage. My husband and I have been married for a long time so let me say this about same-sex marriage: Same-sex marriage, what’s the problem? My husband and I have had the same sex for more than 40 years.
AV: Give us another line from your show.
JC: There’s a new survey out. It says the average married couple talks for about four minutes a day and I’m thinking is it really that long?
AV: What was your first show?
JC: My first show in Greenwich was my son’s nursery school fundraiser. I just hopped up on a Fisher-Price picnic table and started telling jokes. It still boggles my mind. I didn’t really have any jokes so I borrowed one from the Junior League. And their joke is “Why do members of the Junior League not have group sex? Too many thank-you notes.” I love that joke, I wish I’d written that joke.