With 15 years in the biz, stand-up comedian Erin Foley will make her way to the Port City this weekend, and play two sets on Friday and Saturday at Dead Crow Comedy Room. Having grown up in a funny, sports-loving Long Island (and later Rhode Island) family, comedy always has run through Foley’s veins. Armed with a blend of observational and personal humor, the comic first tried her routine in NYC. She started out as the opener, warming up for other comics, with 6:30 p.m. spots, doing bits at open-mic nights. Despite the stand-up business’ slow and arduous progression, Foley kept at it. “It’s extremely long and slow, and I think that’s why a lot of people drop out, because they want this instant gratification,” she says. “I loved it. I think it’s such an advantage to start in New York City.”
Though comedy always has been her intended trajectory, it didn’t stop Foley from landing a few acting gigs. She earned a role in 2000’s Cameron Crowe film “Almost Famous,” as Rolling Stone magazine’s fact-checker. Foley—always searching for humor in life’s moments—recalls her nerves taking over when the pressure of being on set took hold.
“When you’re nervous you can’t say ‘fact check’ properly,” she remembers. “You’re like, ‘flack check,’ ‘fax check…’ I was profusely sweating!”
And that’s the sort of moment on which Foley thrives: Her routines call attention to real-life moments—moments that may happen to anyone, moments that are relatable.
“I think you always have to look at life through something that includes everybody,” Foley descries. “Funny things happen to you all the time where you’re screwing up or something happens. I think the perspective of, ‘Look at this thing that happened to me and might have happened to you.’ That’s what I love about stand-up.”
Whether she’s talking about using outdated music technology at the gym (everyone still runs on the treadmill with a Walkman, right?) or light-heartedly discussing her gluten-free diet, Foley knows how to turn mundane into extraordinary.
“[In LA] you’re constantly in a coffee shop where people are picking up a croissant, and they’re like, ‘Is it gluten free?’” Foley quips. “You’re like, ‘shut up; just get the croissant or not.’ It’s so annoying, I’ve had that experience like 700 times.”
Though she travels for touring, since moving to the City of Angels from New England, Foley’s enjoyed the 75-degree weather. “You would get tons of snow [when I lived there], but you wouldn’t get the insanity they have now,” Foley remarks of the current bout of blizzards wiping out the northern East Coast. “ It makes you want to stay out in California forever.”
Sunshine hasn’t been the only thing to come out since Foley’s move to LA. For years the comic didn’t use the “she” pronoun when talking about relationships. With so many years in the business, eventually, she become comfortable getting more personal onstage.
“I always knew I was going to talk about it, but it took me eight years because I was coming out personally, and I had to deal with that beforehand,” Foley says. “It’s great. For me as an audience member, I want to leave a show knowing that person. I know people do an hour-and-a-half of observational stuff, and that’s hysterical and great, but I think it’s really interesting to get to know the person.”
Likewise, Foley’s career has taken off, too. She recently was enlisted to be a punch-up writer for the Ellen DeGeneres-produced NBC sitcom “One Big Happy,” which premieres March 17 at 9:30 p.m. She’s also a regular cast member on TruTV’s “How To Be a Grown-Up,” a comedy that explores the comedic elements of adulthood. Plus, she’s made appearances on shows like “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Chelsea Lately” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.” And she’s released a couple comedy albums.
About a year-and-a-half ago, Foley launched a sports-minded podcast, “Sports Without Balls.” Growing up around New York, the Yankees, Giants, Nicks, and Rangers have long been a part of her life. The weekly podcast yuks it up with female athletes, sports reporters and other comics. It takes a look at the most gut-busting happenings in sports from the week.
“Much like stand-up, there’s a real lack of women talking about sports,” Foley says. “It’s been a labor in love. Hopefully, we’ll maybe develop it into a TV show one of these days.”
Looking toward Wilmington, Foley reports it will be her first time to the Port City. However, her parents, who currently reside in Florida, have been through during their travels and love the quaint coastal town. Foley’s main concern upon arrival, aside from getting in on the preliminary March Madness action, is finding a decent place for a hot cup of joe, an obsession she’s begrudgingly accepted.
“I’ve become an annoying coffee person,” she says. “My ex-girlfriend was obsessed with espresso and finding the right bean, and oh, my God, I’d always make fun of her and joke around with her. Now, I think I’ve become that person. It’s really annoying.”
Check out Foley at 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at Dead Crow Comedy Room, as part of her “Lady with Pockets” tour.
Stand-up Comedy with Erin Foley
Dead Crow Comedy Room
265 N. Front St.
Fri.-Sat., Feb. 20-21, 8 p.m., 10 p.m.