Brooklyn’s 50 Funniest People: Janelle James

Janelle James
Your life changes when you get older. Janelle James is not old by any stretch of the imagination, but her life is changing, and she embraces it. “I used to be a dominatrix, and now my favorite shit to do is go to Costco,” she said in a recent set about the joys of abandoning Brooklyn for the suburbs. (The crowd booed, don’t worry.) 
This is the start of a solid bit about eating samples at Costco, behind a big guy waiting for a tiny slice of chocolate cake. The suburbs seem to have inspired James. Her act now is about becoming best friends with the only other guy in her town who smokes weed. “He called my up and was like, I got a new vape pen, you wanna try it? HELL YEAH,” she said. “Vapin in the burbs, I feel like I made it! That’s what America’s about!” 
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
I was always a nosey kid and I would ask a million questions about things I had no business knowing. One day I was asking my dad about some “gossip” I overheard and he said “How do you know that?! Do you work for the Daily News?” So I made myself a little press pass and the next time I wanted to ask questions I gave him my pass and pulled my pad and pen out. That’s the first time I remember making somebody laugh really hard.

What is the worst part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn? What is the best?
It seems like there are 900 million comedians which I guess I can’t really complain about since I’m one of them. So it can feel like there’s a lot of competition. On the flip side every comedian starts their own show at some point so there’s also a lot of stage time. BUT now that means there’s more GOOD comedians. It goes back and forth.

Who do you find funny?
Bill Burr is my favorite stand-up right now, I watch his latest Netflix special over and over in awe. Hadiyah Robinson is the funniest person I know. Myka Fox is a freaking genius online. I love everybody behind the Rick and Morty show which KILLS me it’s so good. I love John Roberts Jr. and John Early..Sam Morrill, Pat Brown, Mike Recine, Kareem Green…I could go on but everybody I forget to include would be texting me crying after this comes out because comedians are soft as 1000 thread count sheets with easily hurt feelings. Anyway, like I said there are a lot of funny comics now. Fuckers…
What is the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
This is really mean but it was at someone’s baby pic on Facebook. I laughed, felt bad for laughing, showed it to another comic and she laughed so hard it set me off again. It was just a really ugly baby.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
Standup is always my number one so I’d like to headline a really fun tour on a luxury bus/train/plane with my friends while laughing and eating a lot and objectifying men. I’d also like to be able to write for more shows and eventually produce all the weird things in my head for film and TV. Finally I’d like to gain enough power to destroy all my enemies.

To see 49 more of Brooklyn’s funniest people, click here

Photo by Nicolas Maloof.


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