Comedian Tracey Ashley performed 8 p.m. Monday in IC Square and joked about topics like Oprah Winfrey, football and the government — and showed why she is a rising star on the comedy circuit.
Ashley began doing stand-up comedy in 1999 at the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis, Minn., and has worked her way up the ladder since then. In 2007, she was a semi-finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and has appeared as a co-host on TV Land’s “Prime Movies.” Ashley was also a featured performer on “Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious,” and was chosen by Sykes herself to perform on the show. Campus Activities Magazine nominated Ashley as Best Female Performer for her rave reviews when visiting many college campuses.
Online News Editor Sage Daugherty spoke with Ashley about her comedy tour and her experiences on “Last Comic Standing,” and “Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious.”
Sage Daugherty: How did you get involved in comedy?
Tracey Ashley: I got on the road and started doing colleges [in 2006]. In 2007, I got on “Last Comic Standing,” and once I got TV exposure, people started liking me, and I started booking colleges. After “Last Comic Standing,” I was a host on a show on TV Land, and I did the Wanda Sykes thing, and that was awesome because I was told by the producer that Wanda selected the comics … She’s the comedy goddess for me, so to be picked by Wanda meant so much. It solidified for me, “Do I want to keep doing this?” I love comedy, I really do. To travel this much, you got to love this, to live out of your suitcase and live in hotels.
SD: Tell me a little bit about “Last Comic Standing,” and what you learned from that experience.
TA: That was really interesting for me. It was a contest, and I learned I don’t like comedy contests because, how do you pick? Here’s the way I looked at it. You could kill that night and you win, and maybe on a different night you could eat it, you know what I mean? You’re only as good as that last performance. What I loved about “Last Comic Standing” was it showed me I could walk out and be on camera in front of a big audience and not choke and not lose it. I am not going to lie, I was nervous. My first time on TV was on NBC, in a contest. It’s crazy, if you have a dream and then you actually get to live it out. That’s amazing. It’s been a huge blessing. It really has been a great ride for me. I’m very thankful.
SD: How do you come up with the material in your comedy act?
TA: My act is all about my life and life experiences. Some people are observationalists. They observe. They make up stuff. I take what’s going on in my life and I write about that. Whatever’s going on at that moment, I’ll start writing more about that because that’s just how I write, and I am sort of a storyteller in some ways.
SD: How long have you been officially touring colleges and comedy clubs?
TA: [I’ve been touring] colleges since 2006, but it got really busy in 2008. It’s been super busy. I have been doing clubs too, but I do more colleges now because my calendar gets really filled with colleges.
SD: Where has been your favorite college or place to perform?
TA: I really did love this tonight, this was really great — plus the fact that you guys have a comedy club here, that means that you get it, and I knew this was going to be a good school. I have to say, one of my favorite schools was Ashland University in Ohio. It was a welcome-back-to-school show, and I don’t know why, but everything I said just hit and it all came together well, and they just were fantastic. It was one of my favorite schools.