By Corn Mo
Some comedians who try to be edgy aren’t because there’s nothing there, nothing to pull from. And then there’s Virginia Jones.
She has a laundry list of experience to draw from: a boxing instructor, a swing dance teacher, a waitress, a DJ, a designer of country and western apparel, a sales clerk at JCPenney and now apparel development for Nike. Also, she was once the only vegetarian assistant manager at Jack-In-The-Box. And now she’s talking to me.
How long have you been doing stand up?
I have been doing stand-up for almost four years! It will be four in May 2010. My first open mic was 5/29/06, and that can be heard here and is delightfully rough and awful:
It was a magical evening, I went up at 11:30 or so, and my set was interrupted by a gentleman in a suit who had been smoking crack in the bathroom all night, and a drunk comic who put a flashlight down my shirt and laid down on the floor and took his own clothes off.
I got to do a little time in NYC in October at a club called Eastville, which was described to me as “a club so shitty, you could get time there!” and it was accurate! I was glad to get the time, though.
Were you recently in a rock opera?
We just closed 5 runs of Chariots of Rubber, a hair metal musical about best friends, love, and demolition derby. We called it a rock opera sometimes but it wasn’t really, because there were spoken parts in it. It was written by Jeffrey Wonderful (words and lyrics) and “Private” Mike Albano (music.) It was in pre-production for three years and rehearsal for (I shit you not) a year. Everyone involved was kind of from the rock world rather than theatre, so we kind of puzzled through it together. It was really great.
I played Cindy, a race driver cum hooker. My favorite scene is where I got to sing a song to my boyfriend’s head, which has unfortunately come off in an accident.
Do you have a good heckler story?
This may or may not be a cheat. I was in Austin, Tex. for a comedy festival, which was a great time, and I was excited to perform for my mother and sister, who had never seen me onstage. I was the “headlining” standup lady, (it was a mix of improv, standup, and sketch) so I got twenty minutes of stage time, during which my mother heckled me unmercifully. Obviously, she did not mean it in a negative way, but she just didn’t understand that the silence inbetween the setup and the punch is important. And she didn’t stop! Ever! Yelling out where I was born, facts relevant and irrelevant- even when I threatened to punch her in the face. After the show, people told me they thought we were hilarious and thought that she was a plant.
I don’t generally get heckled – I have shut some people down, but it’s never been too involved. It’s generally people who think they’re helping, or who are so excited to be out of their houses and drunk that their thoughts come tumbling out of their mouth.
Tell me your favorite joke.
“I can’t think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember their name, or how you met, or why they’re dead.” -Laura Kightlinger
Who are your five favorite comedians? Eddie Izzard. Bill Hicks. Steve Martin. Paul F. Tompkins. Woody Allen.
I am struggling with wanting to put a lady on the list and my lady hero is Elayne Boosler, but it would have to be in her strongest period, 1980-1985, or thereabouts. My top five ladies are Elayne Boosler, Tina Fey (not really a standup), Maria Bamford, Paula Poundstone (improv genius) and Jen Kirkman.
What are you currently reading?
I am reading a book called Hip: The History by John Leland, which traces underground/outsider culture from jazz to modern day. It is pretty cool. I have always been interested in the cool kids and alternative culture.
I have started re-reading Infinite Jest by dead guy David Foster Wallace and I will be done with it by Xmas 2010. It annoys me that his writing is so dense and creative, and yet Dave Eggers lives on. Where the Wild Things Are was good, though.
What are you currently listening to?
Ha- HAAA! Last couple of days I have been listening to, pretty much nonstop, the Harold and Maude soundtrack of Cat Stevens songs that I have assembled on Itunes. If you want to sing out, sing out! This makes sense in context, though, because sometimes the funniest people are also the saddest people. My favorite artists are Nick Cave and Robyn Hitchcock, both of whom I find desperately funny.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by my interactions with other people, and telling stories and hearing stories told. Most of my jokes grow out of things that I say spontaneously to friends, or that grow out of conversations and real-life, and I love storytelling and bull***tting. Yay! Bull***tting = technical term!