Samantha Ruddy’s Reductress article “I’m The Chill Girl Who Can Hang With The Guys And Also Stray Cats” isn’t just a great piece of satire, it’s also the only article that site has ever published under the tag “dumpster lasagna.” “All l I do is bro out, belch the alphabet, and chase red dots that I can’t seem to catch,” she writes. “My friends are crazy and we do crazy shit together, ’cause we’re bros, and also mostly alley cats.”
This sense of the absurd meeting social commentary, a hallmark of the generation that grew up reading The Onion, is typical of Ruddy, a recent transplant from upstate (where she went to college at Syracuse University). On stage, Ruddy has an easy presence that makes everything seem perfectly rational. In one recent set, she says that as a woman and a lesbian, she can’t get on stage like male comics and make dick jokes. “What am I going to say? My dick is like a poorly designed seatbelt: it takes forever to strap on.”
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
When I was in kindergarten, I memorized a bunch of street jokes and told them at my Catholic school. The other kids weren’t really into them, but my teacher thought it was so funny to see a five-year-old telling dumb blonde jokes—or whatever they were—that she made me go from room to room telling them to the other teachers.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
I think sometimes it can be too insular. You’ll write this great joke that has a movie reference and it gets big laughs in a room full of young Brooklynites, but then you do it on the road and people are like “Wait, what? Who the hell is Wes Anderson?” I’m glad that I started in a little bit more of a “blue collar” scene upstate before I moved here because it taught me how to write more broadly. Then I moved to Brooklyn and it taught me how to write more intelligently.
The best thing about Brooklyn is the community. A lot of people characterize the scene here as a bunch of monsters who would kill their own mother for a Conan spot, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve only been here for a little while, but I’ve been shown overwhelming kindness. That could be a recent development, though, because everyone is always joking that the scene has gotten too soft compared to how it was a few years ago. I think the more welcoming the better—at least to an extent. There’s no reason not to support and be good to each other. Standup is hard enough that it doesn’t need our help in weeding people out.
Who do you find funny?
When I first started doing standup, I tried so hard to be John Mulaney. He’s my favorite. I think he’s based in LA now, though. Here in the city, my current favorites are Josh Gondelman, Mark Normand, Aparna Nancherla, Sam Morril, and Andy Sandford. They’re all great joke writers. I love stories and weird characters and all that, but high joke density in your standup is the key to my heart. Oh, also, I’m putting money on Kyle Ayers to be the next big thing. He’s really funny, but also just incredibly creative. He’s always putting together these crazy, completely original shows. There’s a lot more people I love, but I’m sure you don’t want a list of 100 comics.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
When my friend, Ariel Elias and I roasted each other at The Stand. I think we respect each other enough that we were able to be brutally mean and find it hilarious instead of hurtful. I had to pull myself together a few times just so I could get my jokes out.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
I want to be able to do standup at night and write for a TV show in the daytime. Laurie Kilmartin has my dream career. That’s my long-term goal. In the short-term, I’d really love to be a New Face at Just For Laughs in Montreal. I didn’t get an audition this year, but I just got management so I’m hoping I will next year.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
That KGB knock-knock joke from The Office.
Dwight: “Knock knock”
Michael: “Who’s there?”
Michael: “KGB who?”
Then Dwight slaps his face and yells “WE WILL ASK THE QUESTIONS!”
To see 49 more of Brooklyn’s funniest people, click here.
Photo by Nicolas Maloof.