18th August 2022
Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Photo Credit: JJ Ignotz
Felicia Madison talks to us about being a comedian while juggling being a mother. We chat to Felicia about her love for comedians, mental health and her club in New York City, New Talent.
Hello Felicia! Thank you for talking to ReVamp Magazine. How would you describe your comedy to people that haven’t seen you live?
If someone hasn’t seen me live and asks me to describe my comedy I would say, you should come see me live! Seriously, I would say, come see me live. But if you can't, I would best describe my comedy as Mom Com with a dash of snark. I make fun of being a mother, and a wife, and add in some more generic material for the non-moms which is usually 80 percent of the audience. For the young couples, I incorporate my addictions, depression, and basic disdain for life and unfortunately, that is more relatable for most.
Do you remember the first time you performed as a comedian?
I definitely remember the first time I performed, it was my graduation performance for the first comedy class I had taken with my college roommate. I invited all of my friends to attend, which in retrospect was quite risky. I remember being so nervous I was literally shaking. I took a deep breath and went for it and remember feeling such a huge rush of adrenaline. I can’t remember anything that I have ever done before feeling so right and so rewarding instantaneously. I am super critical of myself, another theme in my comedy, and as a result, was very very afraid to watch the recording of my performance. After a few weeks, I finally got the nerve to watch, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised, which for me is like getting an academy award. And the rest as they say is “her” story.
Who are your favorite comedians? As you’re based in New York City. Do you have any comedians from the United Kingdom that you love?
I have so many comedians I love it is hard to list my favorite as they run the gamut from Joan Rivers to Taylor Tomlinson with about 100 more in between. I tend to like clean comedians that cover topics that are mainstream and also relevant to me as a mother and a woman. Right now I am obsessed with Ali Wong’s new special and although very controversial, I also loved Ricky Gervais’s new special. It is rare when I watch a comedy special and laugh and for both of these, I was literally laughing out loud.
As for U.K comedians, I am not terribly familiar with most but recently had Russel Howard at our club and he was amazing. Shazia Mirza was another British comedian I enjoy who graced our stage recently. James Acaster is another one who recently caught my eye at the Just for Laughs awards ceremony, would love to get him to West Side.
You’ve opened up about your mental health and that you suffered from depression. Do you have any advice for people who are struggling especially with what’s been going on the last couple of years?
I would suggest anyone who has any sort of mental health crisis seek help. In fact, I would suggest that everyone seek mental help. A friend of mine started a charity called, We Are All A Little Crazy, which basically tries to squash the stigma of mental health by stating outright we are all a little crazy..and we are. Life is hard, and now more than ever it is even harder so if you want to be your best self, get help. I think this generation is so much better off because the stigma of medication and mental health is lifted. In my day it was looked down upon or you were viewed as weak if you needed the help…at least that is how I grew up. I encourage my children to be the best they can be in life and that includes self-discovery, examination, and help outside of the house. Living with me, trust me, it was a huge relief for my kids to be able to seek advice elsewhere.
Also, we’ve heard about your New Talent Director at West Side Comedy Club in New York City. Can you tell your readers a little bit about it?
New Talent is my baby at West Side and it is really how I got started there. As a struggling comedian myself in New York, I knew the issues, troubles, and travails of starting out in the comedy world. It was always a passion of mine to help the young struggling artist. . Many comedians call me Momager, the rest call me something that starts with a B (can’t please everyone all of the time especially when you have to deliver bad news), because I try to provide a nurturing environment that provides opportunities for comedians not yet performing on a regular basis on the club circuit. I really enjoy discovering new talent as it is so much more fulfilling and challenging than just booking. I always say booking is like walking into a designer store and coming out with a fab outfit…not too hard… new talent is like walking into forever 21 and coming out with a killer outfit, it takes time and a good eye but it can be done.
Lastly, have you got any exciting things coming up for the rest of 2022?
I recently posted on Facebook and asked what people wanted to see change in the comedy industry and I have to say I received a “mouthful”. I am thankful for the comments because I am hoping to institute some new programs at West Side as a result so look out for that. I am also trying to come up with more programs to help raise money and awareness for women's reproductive rights, in addition to my open mic program where mics are free if you donate to a pro-choice charity and Dynamoms where profits go to WRRAP. I am also working on a new version of my Pilot that was sidelined by the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Two goals for me this year are to film my hour of comedy and also perform a revised version of my one-woman show the Miserable Mrs. Madison. There is also a documentary being edited at this very moment called Funny Felicia about my start in comedy. Hoping that gets picked and is in theaters or on TV soon.