|Photo Credits||Ashley Overton (feature), An Indoor Lady (inset)|
Usually I don’t sit in the front row at comedy shows, primarily because I have a decent amount of stage fright, and am certain the performer will see the fear in my eyes and dress me down. I don’t blame them, I would too, I’m easy material.
With Ashley Overton, it’s a whole different type of “dressing down” that concerns me; namely, that she has a distinct fashion style on stage–to go with her unique brand of comedy–and let’s be honest, I’m already at a disadvantage there just leaving the house. Off to the dim lighting with me!
When Overton sat down with Valerie Lopez, they kicked off the discussion on the topic of her fashion, and it turns out the credit goes to Overton’s nan, and is perhaps best described by a fellow comic who said to her: “You dress like [you’re] your own superhero!”. Overton says she simply picks the look that’s going to take her where she needs to go emotionally in the day; for example, if a boost of happiness is needed, out come the bright colors.
Putting a personal touch on situations was a part of Overton’s early life, who frequently found herself with ample alone time in a busy and crowded family in Grapevine, Texas. Imagine a girl who could entertain herself by creating weddings between “families” of travel sized shampoo bottles, and you start to get a hint of her creative capabilities. Her family, while frenetic, also played a formative role in making comedy an everyday experience. “My family is really funny…in different ways. I think it’s because they’re all lunatics,” she lovingly notes.
“My family is really funny…in different ways. I think it’s because they’re all lunatics.”
Performing also came into Overton’s life early, whether it was stuffing heroic amounts of toilet paper in an oversized dress to “fill out” before a family dinner, or performing in a local theatre group in a shopping center. (As it happens, toilet paper comes up multiple times in her talk with us; it appears to be a cosmically important part of her universe.) Fueling dreams of being an actress, she continued to audition for opportunities and “peaked” (in her words) when landing a lead in a Christmas play, over fellow applicant Demi Lovato. Yep, that one.
History will note that Overton definitely did not peak there; her career continues to grow, and she recently performed her first hosting spots for actor and comedian Jeff Dye at Cap City Comedy. Her style is very personal, in part powered by her mixed introvert/extrovert nature. Given the anxiety of facing a situation of unknown other humans, in general as well as from the stage, she instinctively turned to comedy to give her a lifeline to overcome the challenge. “[Being goofy and funny] is how I naturally communicate with strangers. It’s where I’m the most comfortable,” she says.
“[Being goofy and funny] is how I naturally communicate with strangers. It’s where I’m the most comfortable.”
Overton did a trial by fire five years ago, jumping early on into a Funniest Person in Austin competition entry, fully engaging her comedy senses into performing on stage. Between her continued FPIA showings, and performing comedy outside her home scene in Austin, Overton continues to build her experiences and style. And while she admits that she’s still not quite sure what the center of her persona is, she’s working on it. “I don’t know if I have [a comedy philosophy]. I just kinda cross my fingers, walk into a room, and hope it goes OK,” she says of her current strategy.
“I don’t know if I have [a comedy philosophy]. I just kinda cross my fingers, walk into a room, and hope it goes OK.”
It’s clearly working well, as Overton continues to have a healthy performance roster, including co-hosting two shows at Kick Butt Coffee with Derek Kopswa: the Kick Butt Comedy Open Mic night, and comedy showcase Turnt. She loves the gigs, and has a natural interest in deep diving into people’s backstories, traits that have planted the seeds of a future dream of being a late night TV show host. “I like talking to people that are much more interesting than me,” she jokes.
We think Overton should give herself a bit more credit; she’s always interesting to see, so do your best to go out and catch her at her regular shows, or wherever you can:
- Kick Butt Comedy Open Mic night: 8PM, every Wednesday @ Kick Butt Coffee
- Turnt: 9PM, every 2nd Monday @ Kick Butt Coffee