If you haven’t heard of comedian Sue Smith yet, you likely will soon, because Time Out New York named her one of the 10 funniest women in NYC in 2014 and she’s coming out with an EP, Slutty Pretzel, on May 7 on The Experiment Comedy Network. Or maybe you met her in McCarren Park one recent Saturday when — as a member of UCB1, the Upright Citizens Brigade “news” team — she asked you to stick something up your vagina to save the world. We called her up to learn more.
I have been doing comedy for like almost eight years, and I just took my first class at the UCB a while ago and I just loved it. And I thought, “I love the culture, and I love the atmosphere,” and I just wanted to keep going with it. And then a few years ago I decided that I wanted to just do solo performance, so now I’m focusing mostly on standup.
So you’re doing stuff on your own now, but you’re also doing videos for UCB1. How did you get into that?
Almost exactly a year ago, they created video teams and every team was a different genre. And you applied and then you got placed on it, and it was the first time that I got on the house team there ‘cause like it’s very competitive. So it’s been great because it’s set up so that you have a group of performers, and then a group of writers, and then a group of editors. So our team produces a video a week—it’s crazy—and there’s always people there to support us from the technical side who know what they’re doing that makes it so much easier to put videos out.
Because I really think it can! I’m just really passionate about it. So here’s the inspiration: I read an article online about children in Africa who were given menstrual cups and were able to go to school five days more per month. Usually when girls have their period they can’t go to school in Africa, they have to stay home from school because they don’t have appropriate methods of dealing with their periods. And I was like, “That is awful!” But then I realized a lot of people here don’t know about it because they’re not widely available in stores and I firmly believe that Big Tampon is trying to get everybody down, and trying to buy their products. These menstrual cup companies are like these little startup companies run by women that are super independent that don’t have a lot of money and nobody knows about them. And it’s really a bummer because it’s so much better for the environment, so I just want people to know more about them.
We’re man on the street news pieces. So we did a piece at the Gathering of the Juggalos which was really fun. And we’re shooting a piece tonight, “The Best Way to Shave Your Balls.” So we’re at the point where whatever we’re passionate about, like the team was collaborating and trying to think of things for green month, we want to do all environmental videos this month, and I was like, “I’m so passionate about this [menstrual cups] just let me do a video!” and they were like, “Okay.”
And how about your podcast, Tits & Giggles?
So I think that there are a lot of women in comedy and people don’t just know about them. I’m a fan of comedic podcasts and when I was listening to them I was like, “There are so few female guests!” And so I think by allowing women’s voices to be heard more and be louder, that helps put them out there in the atmosphere and they are more well recognized. So I wanted to have a venue for that.
Yeah, I think that there’s so much that we don’t talk about because it’s really weird or taboo, but there’s all this shared experience that people should be talking about. So, for example, I have a student in my class–I teach improv to standup and I teach improv–and she was nervous to do a joke about having anxiety and depression and then playing a lot of video games. And it was a really funny joke, but I could tell that when she was telling it she was super just tentative to talk about those things. And I was like, “Listen, this is something that everybody goes through, don’t be scared.” I just operate from the assumption that everyone has shared experience and it’s something that we’re all going through, so let’s just talk about it. Lately I’ve been opening–I don’t know how this is going over–but lately I’ve been opening my act by asking the audience if they’re happy, and saying that I’m happy because I’m on Wellbutrin. And I don’t mean that to like shock people, I just think it’s a great drug and we should all know about it, and how did I not know? I think it’s a thing people should talk about more, just like periods and menstrual cups and vaginas. They don’t have to be gross and dirty, we should be talking about them more.
This interview has been edited and condensed.