While men seem to dominate the world of comedy, strong female comedians such as Melissa Rauch are trying their best to show the world that they are just as good, if not better, than their male counterparts.
Best known for her appearances on VH1’s hit show “Best Week Ever,” Rauch described her sense of humor in an interview with The Hatchet as being on par with Ellen DeGeneres. While Rauch and DeGeneres have different comedic styles, Rauch admires her because her sex is not part of her “shtick.” Rather, DeGeneres’ comedy “speaks to the masses,” even though comedy is typically thought of as a “boys’ club.” Couldn’t that be an advantage, though?
In recent comedy films such as “The Aristocrats,” there seemed to be a bevy of male performers and only a handful of women who got the chance to get as down and dirty as the guys. Rauch believes that it’s not the quantity, but the quality of humor that counts.
“It’s almost as if you expect something so dirty to come out of a guy’s mouth, but it’s shocking when it comes out of a girl’s, and so it makes the joke even funnier,” Rauch said.
Rauch, who began developing her particular brand of comedy as a young girl imitating actors and actresses on television, described her own sense of humor as “basically a hybrid of observational humor, life experiences and some character stuff.”
One of her first memories comes when she was 5 years old, prolonging the inevitable nightly dispute over bedtime, by imitating characters on the show “Three’s Company,” which her parents were watching. They began to laugh, and she reveled in the feeling, wanting more. She performed her first routine at the age of 7 and went on to compete in several talent shows.
When Rauch’s impersonations “stopped being cute, and started being weird,” she concentrated on developing her acting skills. She attended Marymount Manhattan College and majored in acting, although she didn’t forget how good it felt to make people laugh. She soon began performing at many open-mic nights in and around New York City.
However, Rauch says that she hasn’t forgotten about her dream to one day be a well-known actress. She hopes that comedy will be a gateway into her acting career.
In addition to having appeared numerous times on VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” Rauch also starred in a comedic one-woman show entitled “The Miss Education of Jenna Bush,” which she performed at the New York International Fringe Festival this past summer. Rauch also recently finished a movie called “Delirious,” with Steve Buscemi, due out in October.
One of the reasons Rauch loves performing at colleges is that she gets to perform material she normally wouldn’t do at a bar or club. She started taking standup seriously when she was in college and loves returning back to that material and relating it to students currently in school.
Rauch will be performing a free show at J Street’s Columbia Plaza on Saturday, at 7 p.m. in the Marvin Center. Also, GW students can enjoy free coffee from Starbucks. Rauch will be at a table in J Street during the day giving out Elizabeth Arden samples, as they have provided her with more than $200 worth of products to hand out and raffle off to students.
This article appeared in the February 9, 2006 issue of the Hatchet.