After a wildly successful show in Madison last year, Jenny Zigrino is back with a brand-new, highly personal set.
The Badger Herald talked to “Bad Santa 2″ actress about how she got her start in comedy and what makes her stylings unique.
The Badger Herald: How did you get your start in comedy?
Jenny Zigrino: When I was a teenager, I took an improv class in Minneapolis. I was 16 and that’s the first time I did stand up. I had a great time and then decided to go to college and pursue filmmaking. Then, when I was 21 in Boston, I got up again and did stand up and it just didn’t stop.
BH: What made you realize that this was something that you could do professionally?
JZ: I think the second time around it just stuck and felt right. It became something I kept going out and doing. The idea that I could make some money off of it was so exciting to me. It’s been six years and I’m still at it.
BH: I read online that your comedic stylings are often referred to as sassy, brassy and classy — how does your comedic styling differentiate from the pack?
JZ: I tell a lot of stories and I do a lot of crowd work. I really try to connect with the audience. I want them to feel like my friends and to have fun with them rather than just have them sit and listen to my jokes. I feel like my shows have a fun, party atmosphere. I love when people in the audience talk to me after and I feel like people connect with me on a personal level. I’m definitely more hands-on with my audiences than a lot of other comedians.
BH: In past sets, you’ve mentioned that your mother is a Russian immigrant and this has made you always want to be the best. How did your mom react when you told her you wanted to pursue comedy?
JZ: She was okay with it because when I started I was already in college getting a degree. I don’t think they really understood it, but they’ve been really supportive. Sometimes they’ll say that what I’m doing is really great but I should go back and get a masters degree.
That’s so funny to me because what would I even get a masters in, I don’t want anything. The most important thing is that I never had to hide it. For Jews, comedy is such a huge part of our culture so they’ve always been very supportive of what I’m doing.
BH: What I really admire about your comedy is that you’re so funny, but you never lose sight of who you are. As a comedian, why do you think authenticity is so powerful?
JZ: People are attracted to people who don’t care. They’re not trying to fit in, they’re just being themselves. Take Louis C.K. for example. Yeah, he’s grumpy, but he’s always himself.
Seeing someone who is being so much of themselves is rewarding to people because they want that so badly. They don’t want to be told they need to lose weight or make more money, they just want to be themselves. Seeing someone living as their true self is very exciting.
BH: What should your audience in Madison be expecting this weekend?
JZ: I really like Madison. I was there last year and it’s going to be the same level of awesome. If people saw me last year, it’s a lot of new material. It’s more personal stuff. There’s a lot more growth and more fun. And when it’s over, we’re all gonna party in my hotel room. I deactivated my Tinder account though, so sorry fellas!
You can see Jenny on Friday and Saturday (8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.) at the Comedy Club on State