Meet a Comedian: Rhiannon Archer
By Brianne Hogan
Though she says she got into stand-up “by accident” in 2009, comedian Rhiannon Archer’s busy schedule (she’s pretty much booked this month, including a stint at this month’s NXNE festival) proves that there really is no such thing as an accident. Performing at the Rivoli tonight, we chatted with Archer about flying belts, the boys’ club of the comedy world and making herself laugh.
How did you get into stand-up?
I got into stand-up by accident. I always loved watching stand-up but never thought of doing it. I wanted to do comedy acting, like improv or sketch work. I had just gotten in the mood to try it one night, so I did, and it went well, and then I just focused more on that.
Were you always funny?
I have always made myself laugh. Since I can remember I have always been bored. It’s a terrible affliction. I can be out and about doing things and I just feel this sense of boredom and need to stir things up. Since I would never want to hurt anyone, I used comedy as a way to occupy myself and others.
Write a tweet demonstrating Rhiannon Archer’s sense of humour.
“Omg! I think Bruce Willis is on this street car..................... False alarm, just a potato with a cigarette...”
Speaking of Twitter, there was a recent Twitter uproar over a recent National Post article that basically said women have to be ugly to be funny. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened?
There was an article in the National Post that called out two very talented and beautiful comedians, who are female, and it claimed that female stand-up comics need to be undesirable in order to have success. It really upset me to read it, especially because it was written by a woman and the source of information was from a woman who was taking Women’s Studies or something along those lines. Either way, they should have known better and been more supportive.
It’s a tired argument about whether or not women are funny. When all is said and done, there was nothing good about the article. It attacked my friends, and was ignorant to the industry and career path that I, and many other great, funny women have chosen. It was a waste of time. I would have loved it if she or most other media publications didn’t criticize in a negative way and did more supporting pieces about females/males/comedy in general. It would just produce better work from people and inspire rather than discourage.
Is the stand-up comedy world really such a boy's club?
I don’t feel it is a boys club, really. There are more men than women doing stand-up comedy, but that is changing. I think some people think it’s a boys club because of the roles and guidelines that society has put on genders, and they really do play a part in it, but I have never really felt I was in a boys club.
Favourite gig so far?
My favourite gig would have to have been opening for Maria Bamford. She is just such a great person and inspiring comedian.
Most embarrassing moment on stage?
I was doing a show and was wearing a cincher belt, and I guess the belt decided it had enough and it came undone, but since it was stretchy it “flew” off and smacked a girl in the face in the front row.
Favourite funny movie?
Best piece of advice?
Just have fun in everything you do.
Describe your first stand-up show.
My first stand-up set was not much different from most people’s. I wasn’t scared, but I was worried about looking like a moron. I mostly just wanted to get on stage and talk and try to make people laugh.
Anything exciting on the horizon? I will be at NXNE on June 15 and will be opening for Maria Bamford when she comes to town November 1-3 for the Dark Comedy Festival that takes place at Comedy Bar.
Year started: 2009
Influences: Maria Bamford, Lucille Ball, Don Rickles, Sarah Silverman, Steve Martin, but mostly my friends though (lame).
Next show: June 11, Alt Dot Comedy Lounge @ Rivoli, 334 Queen St.W., 416-977-5082