Monday, April 9, 2012

Q&A with Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy Founder Glennis McCarthy

In 2010, Glennis McCarthy founded G.L.O.C. aka the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy, a fantastic resource for comedians and fans alike. The site has now expanded to the stage. Glennis tells us all about it...

Wisecrack: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! First off, how did you get started in comedy?

Glennis McCarthy: Thanks for the interview! I moved to New York at 19 to pursue a career on Broadway which was, in my mind, a shortcut to stardom. (In lieu of college, which takes so long to make you famous.) When I realized the level of skill it took to make it in that world and remembered that I really had no formal training, I tossed out my character shoes and fled the scene. (JK I hung on to them. Those shoes are expensive!) Broadway requires a commitment level and passion I just didn't have at 19 (and still might not), but I was still hungry for stage time. I saw an ad in Backstage for a short form improv group at NY Comedy Club and had done some short form in high school, so I auditioned and started performing weekly with them. I met some amazing comedians there who really made me feel like I had a community in NY, but the show was a little unorganized so we all ended up moving on. That was around the time that the UCB Theatre, then housed in a converted strip club on 22nd street, was getting a little buzz and my friend Kirby urged me to go check it out. I waited on the never-ending line outside the theatre to see ASSSSCAT and after that one show, I was hooked. Everyone was so smart, so funny and the endless possibilities of long-form got me psyched to try it. I've been performing there, and all over New York at various clubs and theatres doing varying forms of comedy, ever since.

W: What exactly is the G.L.O.C. and why did you create it?

GM: G.L.O.C. or Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy (a tip of the hat to the badass bitches of GLOW -- Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) and, in html form, is a community-building website for and by women doing comedy across the globe. Right now new content is going up on the site daily, we've got two shows running, G.L.O.C. Live at Littlefield Brooklyn and The GLOCDOWN at The PIT in Manhattan, and a third show, an all-improvised stand-up open mic, in the works. I'm also working on producing some original video content and we'll have video from the live shows and two podcasts. It's a lot, but the good thing is this is a community effort and I've got a lot of ladies helping out. 

I get asked why I started G.L.O.C. all the time and honestly I think I originally started it because I needed a new project. I am very project-driven, as are most comedians, and was once of the mindset that the more projects I had going the better my chances of success. (I found this actually has the opposite effect.) So I started up a blog ( and began interviewing the ladies around me doing the kind of comedy I thought was interesting and unique. When I was quickly getting hundreds of hits a day and had ladies wanting to write columns for the site I realized I was on to something. My mission with G.L.O.C. has now changed a bit. There is still the community aspect, as I think that's a very important part of getting and keeping more women involved in the scene, but I also want to encourage women to do comedy for each other. It's tough because we have to appeal to the people in charge and they are, more often than not, men. I just have this ridiculous notion that when we start doing comedy for each other the tides will shift. I think we've already seen this to be true with the success of Bridesmaids!

W: Yeah, we've seen the proven success of Bridesmaids, Parks and Recreation, Ellen. This year there are also many more female-led sitcoms on TV. Some people are calling the success of women in comedy a "trend'... what are your thoughts? 

GM: It is most definitely not a trend. A trend is something that is over the minute it's called a trend (I'm stealing that insight from my brilliant husband, Matt McCarthy) and, try as they might (*cough-Lee-Aronsohn-hack*) this is much more than a trend. I for one am sick of seeing men write cliched dialogue and characters for women. Women are now writing for women and yes, sometimes it includes period jokes and crying while eating oversized muffins, but just as often it consists of brilliant and heartfelt humor which we can all relate to. We are weird, we are crass, we are classy, and most importantly, we are funny. It's time to recognize that on a larger scale and I think this is the just the tip of the iceberg. Iceberg lettuce, which has no calories so we can stay skinny and get on TV.

W: Have there been surprises (or challenges) along the way?

GM: There was a point where I felt like I was losing myself to the project and that was really hard to come to terms with. I put G.L.O.C. on hold for a while so I could figure out if this was something I wanted to devote all my time to and to figure out how to keep my own passion for performing alive in the process. I am a caretaker by nature and often to my own detriment, so I have to remind myself that it's OK to give myself some creative freedom where I need it outside of or even within G.L.O.C. Hosting the live show--and doing stand-up and storytelling when and where I can--has really helped renew my passion for G.L.O.C. again. I don't feel like it's a monster I created and am now beholden to; I've got much more control over things now. I've also learned that business relationships are just that--business. It was a difficult lesson to learn, but I'll never make the same mistakes again. It's all a learning process and I know more challenges are ahead, but I'm in a really good place now and really excited with the upcoming projects. (Projects!)

W: What comedians made an impact on you when you were young?

GM: The first woman I ever had a comedy crush on was, hands down, Tracey Ullman. She was (and still is) an fearless and flawless performer and I watched her show religiously as a kid. Before that I remember seeing Lily Tomlin on Sesame Street (as Edith Ann) and maybe not realizing just how funny she was at that young age, but I remember having this sense of overwhelming awe at her performance. Later in life I became obsessed with Weird Al and thought for a hot minute I would take over when I got older. (I wrote a pretty mean parody to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun... Girls Just Wanna Chew Gum. Clearly I was a child prodigy.) Once I started at UCB my comedy crushes were, of course, Amy Poehler, but also Miriam Tolan and Jodi Lennon who were, again, just these fearless women hanging with the boys on stage. It was a much more male-dominated scene when I started and those women helped me feel fearless when I took the stage.

W: Who's making you laugh, lately?

GM: I hate to be diplomatic, but there are just so many women I love that I would hate to list them and leave someone out. Anyone I put up on the site or on one of our shows makes me laugh. We did a Mixer at The PIT a few weeks ago and had over 60 performers doing stand-up, sketch, improv, characters and music. I am surrounded by so many brilliant women I just can't name names. Don't hate me for this answer. I can't stand the thought of someone hating me.


If you're in New York, check out the upcoming G.L.O.C shows:

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012, 7PM
The G.L.O.C. ReLaunch Party
Littlefield Brooklyn
622 DeGraw Street, Brooklyn
Featuring performances by Kristen Johnston (Emmy Award-winning actress and author of "Guts"), Julie Klausner (author and host of the popular "How Was Your Week?" podcast) and Kambri Crews (author of "Burn Down The Ground: A Memoir"), a DJ'd dance party, gift bags, treats, drink specials, raffle prizes and more!
Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door:

Monday, April 16th, 2012, 8PM
Comedy Central's Corporate Retreat: G.L.O.C. Edition
UCB East
153 East 3rd Street, NYC
Featuring: Kara Klenk, Annie Lederman, Kate Berlant, Amber Nelson, The Reformed Whores and a special surprise headliner!
Hosted by Glennis McCarthy