Interview With Comedian Juila Rotino: Yoga Pants And Daryl Strawberry.
Julia and I met a few months ago as she was branching out into stand-up comedy. She was truly kicking ass as a comedian and wanted a few photos to go with her new website. We spent an afternoon shooting a few concepts and the below shot was my favorite. I got a chance to harass her with questions afterwards and this is what she said:
Basics: Name, where you live, how long you’ve been doing comedy…
My name is Julia Rotino. I live in Long Beach, CA, because I want to be a LA resident but not deal with the traffic. I’ve been doing improv, acting, and stand up for the past few years. I’m one of those “found my passion later in life” people.
What brought you to standup?
Probably a combination of narcissism mixed with a social conscious. Also, it’s a great way for me to get on stage without having to audition.
What’s your writing process? Do you have a routine that you fall into?
When I observe or have an idea about something that is amusing, I think, “I should write this down.” Half the time I don’t and the idea flies away into the ether. On the occasions where I do jot down my thoughts, I will mull the idea over for many weeks to figure out why it’s funny. If I can somehow come up with a series of sentences that turn it into a joke, I usually test it on my husband. And if he says it is crap, I will perform it because, chances are, it might be good.
Is it cheesy if I say my parents? They are not professional comedians but they have been making people laugh for many years. But since you probably don’t know them, I’ll say that I love the story-telling powers of Mike Birbiglia. I admire the ease with which Louis C.K. makes you feel like you are having a (very funny) conversation with him. I would mention some female comics but I am way too jealous of their success.
Why comedy, as opposed to making a comic book, writing for movies, or being a serial killer?
I love that comedy can make people think without realizing they are thinking. If you go to a dark indie film, you understand that you are there to analyze your current opinion on drug addiction or terrorists or on drug addicted terrorists. However, comedy is a much more subtle way to say something impactful and potentially get someone to ease up on their bigotry. I love making people realize that there are so many stupid things that we spend a ton of energy worrying about needlessly, like gay marriage, for example. I just never realized until I started writing that my humor was going to make people a little uncomfortable. The hope is that you can get someone out of his or her comfort zone and maybe just turn them into a kinder person for even a second. Or you might just get a bigot to laugh, which is a tough thing to do.
What’s in your pocket right now?
Nothing. I spend a majority of my existence in yoga pants. They are just so damn comfortable.
I hear you’re quite the karaoke star…Give us your top three go-to karaoke songs.
In my twenties, I spent years crafting my stunning rendition of Four Non Blondes “What’s Up?”. I could croon “hey yea yea ey ey” with conviction that would bring a tear to your eye. When I first started dating my husband, I asked him if he could guess my karaoke song, failing to hide the pride in my voice at my edgy choice. He shrugged and said, “ugh, I hope it’s not that ‘What’s going on’ one…the song that every girl does at karaoke.” Now failing to hide the disappointment in my voice, I replied, “Oh yeah um…that song’s cool. But I have a lot of others I do.” So now I have tried to expand my repertoire and love to perform “Time After Time”, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, and the incredibly original, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
Describe your comedy style using only the names of celebrities that have gone to rehab or who have been arrested.
Sean Young, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Urban, Courtney Love…because Young Strawberry Urban Love would make a great comedy album title.
Secret super power?
I suck at this answer. And surprisingly, I get asked this question frequently. I put so much pressure on myself to answer it with some witty response. The truth is that I would want the power of teleportation, mostly because I hate driving. Think of all the time you could save if you didn’t have to drive anywhere. And the savings on gas! Okay, not the funniest of responses, but seriously practical.
Write a craiglist ad for a missed connection for yourself.
Funny lady- I saw you do standup at The Comedy Store. You were wearing a dress. I laughed so loud at your jokes. I think you heard me because you smiled. After the show I told you I liked your joke about cancer and you said thanks. You liked me too because you said I should come to your next show. But I forgot your name. If you remember me reply with the show date and what I was wearing.
How do we follow you/get in touch with you?
My website http://www.juliarotino.com has videos of my standup, photography by the fabulous Chris Fitzgerald, and an upcoming daily blog. As soon as I think of some stuff to say, it will be really interesting!
You can also follow me on Twitter @juliarotino and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Rotino/240065926119603?fref=ts).
And please check out my YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtmoDsaWEZ5cZp3fA_aW0QQ?feature=mhee. One of my videos already has 63 views. You could be the 64th!