Comedian Sara Armour opens up about DC Shorts LAUGHS!, DC's comedy scene, and her favorite comedians.
This weekend (January 9 and 10), DC Shorts hosts DC Shorts LAUGHS!, a two-night comedy and comedic shorts film festival showcasing four 90-minute shows with a rotating lineup of comedians. Here, we chat with hilarious Washingtonian Sara Armour, who will be kicking off two of the shows, about standup comedy in the city, how she got started, her favorite comedians, and more.
Tell us about the stand up comedy scene in DC. Where do you typically perform when you’re here?
SARA ARMOUR: The best place to go if you want to see a truly pro comedy show is the DC Improv. I consider it my home club, and it’s definitely the most fun place I’ve ever worked. I’ve been working the road now for over a year and I’ve been on a number of different stages, clubs, theaters, and the DC Improv is just truly magical. They have great comedy. And they have good burritos. So I really couldn’t recommend it more.
The underground independent scene is [also] amazing in DC. Specifically Underground Comedy DC. [Founder Sean Joyce] has shows every night of the week, and he’s partnering on a series of monthly shows that I think will be amazing. He brings in amazing talent, puts on amazing shows. The vibe is just right.
When and how did you first get into comedy?
SA: I don’t know if there was ever a time that I chose to be a comedian. I was hosting bar mitzvahs when I was 16, so I was always performing and just sort of being funny. I was really interested in theater and doing a lot of serious theater work and was never that good. I was always being extremely funny in parts that were not meant to be funny, which I think actually just means that I’m a bad actor, but I really fell in love with being funny on stage.
Did you ever take classes?
SA: I went to film school, and then I started doing improv at DC Improv and I found that I was obnoxiously monologueing during the improv scenes... which is a cardinal sin. My boyfriend at the time signed me up for the Five Minutes to Funny class, which I was so mad about because I had this idea that real comics don’t take classes, but I did it begrudgingly because he’d already paid for it. The class was awesome. It really got me out of my own way, and onto the stage. The minute I started taking that class, [comedy became] the thing that I was most committed to in my life, and continues to be.
You were personally invited to perform at the DC Shorts LAUGHS! festival this weekend.
SA: It corresponded with my orthodontist appointment and I saw that I could do the workshop this weekend too, and it was perfect so it all worked. The universe provides. It’s all possible. I’m a slave to dental work. It’s my cross to bear.
You followed a boyfriend to DC right after college, and you’ve been here in DC—with some split time in New York—ever since.
SA: It ended up being the best thing I could have asked for. I think if I had started comedy in New York…I don’t know if my ego could have taken it. DC is a really awesome place to start doing comedy. There are so many stages. It’s an incredibly supportive community and the level of talent in DC is so high. There are so many people in DC that have had unbelievable experiences.
Who are your favorite comedians?
SA: Three right now. I saw Chelsea Peretti at Bentzen Ball at the 9:30 Club in 2009 right before I started. I was so inspired and triggered, and I wanted to be doing what she was doing. Her special just came out on Netflix. It’s totally brilliant—she’s so creative and funny and smart and cutting.
I also love Amy Schumer. I think the last season of her show was easily the best…incredibly funny, incredibly poignant, she’s a total idol of mine. She’s become a really powerful feminine voice in the world—feminine and feminist voice in the world, which I think is really interesting. I think she’s able to really connect with men on feminist issues in a way that doesn’t turn them off, and I think that’s so just so cool.
And Rory Scovel is fantastic. His sense of play is amazing. He’s unique, so creative, and watching him on stage, it’s always clear how much fun he’s having, and you really want to have a good time with him. He’s totally inspiring in that way.
Who do you think is the funniest public figure that’s not a comedian?
SA: Dr. Ruth is very funny. Just that she’s still talking about sex at this age, I think is very funny. And hopeful.
For tickets to DC Shorts LAUGHS!, visit laughs.dcshorts.com. Shows at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center’s Burke Theatre. 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. To learn more about Sara, visit SaraArmour.com. Find them both on Twitter: @dcshorts@SaraArmour.