No offense to Billy Crystal or Josh Gad, but we're kinda in love with The Comedians star Stephnie Weir right now.
You probably already recognized Weir: she's written for gut-busting comedy programs such as Mad TV, The Millers, and Raising Hope and is lending her uncanny improv chops to new television series The Comedians alongside Billy Crystal and Josh Gad (and stealing the show). Now, Weir is taking her talent to the read to headline the 11th annual San Francisco Improv Festival alongside husband Bob Dassie. To welcome her back to the Bay Area, we chatted with the comedian to get her thoughts on sketch comedy today, what she finds funny, and who she's excited to see at Improv Fest.
7x7: How did you get into comedy?
SW: A theater professor of mine in Texas told me I should move to Chicago, so I did. From there my boyfriend signed both of us for an improv class. I loved it so much I just stuck with it.
7x7: Describe your comedy style:
SW: I don’t think I have the perspective to do that, but I imagine myself being very grounded and real in my broadness. But, I think most people would describe me as 'quirky'.
7x7: What are the differences between performing and writing comedy?
SW: There’s a lot more editing and second-guessing when you are writing. That's what I love about improv – there’s no eraser. You have no option but to fully commit to the choice you made. It’s still incredible to me how often those choices work out on stage when backed by that “all-in” mindset.
7x7: Who were your female role models growing up?
SW: I would venture to say Lucille Ball is the most legendary television comedian of all time. I grew up watching Carol Burnette, Mary-Tyler Moore, Gilda Radner, Goldie Hawn, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosanne Barr, just to name a few—there was no lack of role models for young girls like myself. It never occurred to me that women weren’t funny or that they couldn’t make a living as comedians until I became an adult and started reading articles that stated otherwise. I think there are too many current day role models—Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy. The list is endless.
7x7: What brings you to the San Francisco Improv Festival?
SW: We performed with the festival three years ago and had a blast. Jamie [Wright] was kind enough to invite us back and we jumped at the chance.
7x7: What are your thoughts on improv and sketch comedy today?
SW: Starting out in the late 90’s, I would have never imagined how massive the world of improv would become—it’s wonderful. It’s birthed some wonderful performers who have done brilliant things with comedy. I’m excited to see where it goes next.
7x7: We hear you do a mean Anna Nicole Smith impression ...
SW: Honestly, other than family members, she's the only impression I do. I’m not great at impressions, it just happened we have the same voice, both are from Texas and, eerily, are born on the exact same day.
7x7: What makes you laugh?
SW: Videos of people falling down.
7x7: What act are you most excited to see at Improv Festival?
SW: Really hoping to catch Messing with a Friend!
7x7: Favorite female comedian right now?
SW: Julia Louie-Dreyfus. Always.
/ / Catch Stephnie at The San Francisco Improv Festival from September 10-19th at the Eureka Theatre (215 Jackson St.). Buy tickets here.