Sarah Colonna On 'Life As I Blow It,' Chelsea Handler
Earnestly hilarious comedian Sarah Colonna, who graces the raucous roundtable on Chelsea Lately, has taken questions from Uinterview users about her new book Life As I Blow It, available now. Colonna was born and raised in Farmington, Ark., which has given her ample material for her jokes in stand-up comedy and her book. Colonna also works with Chelsea Handler in her other spin-off shows, Comedians of Chelsea Lately and After Lately.
Colonna is an accomplished stand-up comedic in her own right. She performed in Las Vegas’ Comedy Festival, was a semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and she showcased on the BBC’s The World Stands Up. In addition to being a comedian, Colonna is an actress and has made appearances on a number of shows such as The United States Of Tara, Monk, Strong Medicine, Days Of Our Lives and Scare Tactics.
Colonna opens up about using her absurd life in Arkansas and questionable relationships for good humor. “My family was running a volunteer fire department,” says Colonna tells Uinterview exclusively, “my mom was working at a funeral home. I could just sit back and be like, ‘Well these things are obviously going to contribute to something funny later in life.’ ”
- Q: Is Arkansas a blessing when it comes to comic material, and did you have a moment as a child when you knew you were funny? - Cindy Luo
- A: Arkansas definitely is a blessing when it comes to comic material. My family was running a volunteer fire department, my mom was working at a funeral home. I could just sit back and be like, “Well these things are obviously going to contribute to something funny later in life.” My high school boyfriend had a mustache, I mean, come on! I don’t know if there was a moment, really, that I knew I was funny. I just knew I liked to laugh a lot. The idea of making other people laugh was really appealing to me.
- Q: You talk about some of the guys you dated growing up, and some of them turned out to be pretty dumb. What about these guys attracted you? Was there one boyfriend that was the worst? - Susan Peters
- A: I don’t know. That’s a really good question. Somebody asked me the other day, 'What is it about you?' I have good self-esteem. It’s not anything like that. I don’t know if I always did, but I’m not one of those people who think they should be treated poorly. And these people didn’t treat me poorly. There’s something attractive about somebody who doesn’t quite have all his shit together, and I don’t know what it is. I think it might be the challenge. There was this guy I went out with that had a Superman tattoo, and he had a Superman poster and he had a Superman logo on his car. But he was in his 30s and he rented a room in an older man’s house and he had two giant dogs that slept in the room with him. He seemed like such a normal person, and I was like, 'Why do you live like this?' For some reason I kept dating him for a couple of months. It wasn’t that long, but the minute I walked in that house and saw what was happening I should have walked out. He was a nice enough guy, but that’s about it.
- Q: In your book you talk about having a complicated childhood. Is having that kind of childhood essential to being a good comedian? - kamalani roman
- A: I think it helps. It wasn’t uniquely difficult. My parents divorced, which obviously happens to a lot of people. But I do think that when that happens you have these opportunities because your parents date or remarry, and the kid meets these different people or has different families. I had a few people coming in and out, and they made for some decent stories for sure. But I’m sure that every single person in the world has really good stories about their upbringing that could be funny.
- Q: You talk about drinking in your book. Do you ever feel like drinking helps your comedy or is it an impediment to your comedy? - Matthew Zingg
- A: I think when you’re in your early 20s it’s funny, and you don’t really think about it. And then of course when you grow up a little bit you think, 'Okay, obviously I enjoy drinking but it can’t get in the way of anything.' As it says on the back of the book, 'I like to work hard and play hard.' I definitely think I won’t have more than a drink or two before I go onstage, because people pay to come see you and you want to have it together. Sometimes having one drink before going onstage loosens my nerves a little, and I can do it without it too. Sometimes people are funny when they’re drunk, but it’s more fun for me to have drunk people in the audience I can make fun of.
- Q: Tell us about the first time you met Chelsea Handler. What did you think of her? - mikeyp
- A: We were taking an improv class together. We had both just moved. I had moved here from Arkansas, and she had moved here from New Jersey, and we hadn’t been in L.A. long. We signed up for this class and met. I liked her immediately. We had a conversation during the class about how the class seemed pretty terrible and we both seemed pretty terrible at it. So it was an instant bonding, like, 'Oh, you don’t know if you should be doing this either. Perfect!' Then we found out we both wanted to do standup. Then we both found out we liked vodka and going to bars.
- Q: Do you have a story of an adventure with Chelsea from before the show got big that is the craziest thing that stands out to you? - Sam Vandever
- A: There was one time when we were going to Fresno to perform. It’s a five-hour drive from Los Angeles, and we were performing at this bar with this woman who was more of a working comedian than we were. She was bringing us along with her. Chelsea convinced me it would be a fun drive up there. About an hour into the drive the woman told us she had been attacked by a man once. Chelsea and I were horrified, we were like, 'That’s a terrible story.' But when we asked if anything happened to the attacker, she said, 'My husband and I took care of him.' Chelsea and I were like, 'Oh my god, there’s a body in the trunk!' We had four more hours to think about her statement. It’s funny now to me. I think she killed somebody.
- Q: Both you and Chelsea are pretty frank in your humor about sex and drinking. Is there something about this type of humor that speaks to audiences today? - Wendy
- A: The feedback I am getting from my book, which I really appreciate, is that people can relate to it. I think that’s the most important thing. There are a lot of things on TV that are fantastical. For instance, I loved Sex and the City, but I was always broke in my apartment thinking, 'How can they go out for martinis every night? This is amazing!' I think this book honestly deals with the idea that we don’t all come from the easiest backgrounds, and we don’t make the easiest or the best decisions. I think people can relate to it, and people can tell when you’re being honest and when you’re not, and things are always funnier if they come from the truth.
- Q: A lot of your humor comes from your quest to find the right guy. Do you think that stuff is funny because so many women are in the same boat with you? - Tanya Michel
- A: I think for men and women. The things I talk about in the book are not just relationships, but also jobs and trying to figure out what you want out of life in general. There is the ideal people have presented to you versus what you want to do versus what you think you’re supposed to do, and that all applies to relationships. Everyone goes through that, like, 'I want to get married,' but then you get in a serious relationship, and you’re like, 'I kind of want to be single' [laughs].
- Q: Your humor comes from topical issues of the day. How do you feel about Rick Santorum coming out against contraception? - Laura Pirovano
- A: Every time that guy comes out against something I’m like, 'I don’t even know why he opens his mouth.' Obviously, his sex life can’t be great. He described it like, 'You’re supposed to have sex to procreate.' I’m like, 'Well that sounds like a bummer.' I think it’s too bad. I think it’s not a smart message to send. It’s not going to discourage people from having sex, and if you tell them, 'Oh, just don’t use contraception,' you’re encouraging people who maybe aren’t ready or mature enough to have kids. It’s not the right message to put out there. You’re not going to stop people from having sex, so why not encourage them to do it safely?
- Q: You have a film coming out with Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum. Can you tell us about it? - Matt Gerish
- A: I can’t say a ton, because I know they haven’t released the press releases. They are still locking up people’s deals. It’s not some big secret thing, but I don’t want to step on his toes as far as getting to talk about it. I am excited. I’ve read the script and it’s very funny. I know I’m playing Harland Williams’ wife, which I think is going to be entertaining.
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