|Photo Credit||Megan Baker|
When Angelina Martin opens her interview with Valerie Lopez by describing her appreciation of the beauty of her hometown of Ojai, California, as “I like being inside, knowing that it’s pretty outside”, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. I think nature is fantastic, as are windows, which provide a scenic–yet protective–barrier through which to view it.
Clad in her almost trademark ball cap (“I have such a commitment to not buying hair dye,” she jokes), Martin opens up quickly about life in Ojai on the road to growing up in comedy. An only child until age 11 when her parents adopted two children, she–despite claiming love of the indoor life–was an avid tennis player, and even at a young age was starting to test the waters of performance and creativity.
At age 7, Martin was pushing out that perpetual rite of California punk passage, “zines”, from her bedroom floor. She also jumped into some high school plays that can only be described as “memorable”, and “required attendance audience”. Much of the credit and support for her burgeoning creative expressions she attributes to her high school drama & writing teacher, Kim Maxwell. “She encouraged me to be as weird as I wanted to be,” Martin gushes about her encouragement.
While attending San Francisco State, it turned out college life didn’t quite hold the appeal Martin expected, while–unsurprisingly–income and freedom did. That led to a 40 hour work week as a nanny, funding improv classes to build her performance skills. Inspiration for improv came from leading shows like Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and Whose Line is it Anyway. With only so many hours in the day, her classwork suffered, and she ultimately decided to bid farewell to school, and California, and moved to Austin to continue pursuing comedy.
Martin saw in Austin what so many have come to appreciate, a thriving scene that provides a “carefree environment, where people create comedy and art for comedy and art’s sake,” in her words. (To be fair, she also got the idea from the movies Whip It and Dazed and Confused.) It’s a proving ground, with levels of success in its own right, and we’ve come to welcome established and up-and-coming stars, eager to hone their voices and skills with a plentiful, friendly, audience. It’s a city so nice, she, in fact, moved here twice, with stays in California and Iceland in between, before making Austin her long term home.
After mostly focusing on work in her first stay, the second time around Martin realized “I need to do this all the time”, and started doing comedy “obsessively”. Encouraged by comics like Nikita Redkar and Elizabeth Spears, she took on her first open mic at their show Playpen, and it went well enough that she was quickly ready to go back for more.
“I feel like I’ve found the closest friends through comedy…it’s like a big extended family.”
With supportive friends, and an ethic for constant performing, Martin found a growing confidence. She truly values the connections she’s made, noting “I feel like I’ve found the closest friends through comedy…it’s like a big extended family.” She appears in multiple shows regularly, and hosts the hilarious and cringe-inducing Slide in the DMs, the first Thursday of every month at Fallout Theater. Slide brings Austin’s female and non-binary performers on stage to reveal and riff on the worst of humanity that…exposes itself…through direct messages on social media. She also recently took over the popular show Buzzkill, originally with co-host Tyler Groce, but currently with Carlton Wilcoxson.
I can’t mention social media and Martin without talking about her Twitter feed. Rarely a day goes by where she doesn’t drop a bit of–often self-deprecating–gold that jumps right out amidst the normal torrent of mundanity and depressing news. (A recent favorite: “I love to have fun (for 90 minutes tops)”; truer words, Martin…truer words.) “I hate my social media presence,” she says, but “I feel like I really put myself out there.” Take my advice and go follow her, pronto.
Offline, Martin is working on other ideas, many of them involving “crushes” in one way or another; one contemplates talking to her crushes about their crushes. She’s been knocking items off her “goal checklist”, opening for performers at The Velv and Cap City, and was recently cast in a feature length, fully improvised, film. “Putting myself out there” is indeed her order of the day, whether it’s the stage, or acting in student films or episodic web-series.
“I really want to cherish and take advantage of this really nourishing creative environment.”
Martin has accomplished quite a bit in a fairly short career to date, and we expect to continue to see more and bigger things in her future. She says she’s bid farewell to the “impulsive girl”, and is directing her urges into building more talent and projects. As for the long term, can we expect her to heed the calls of the East or West Coast comedy scene? Not yet, she says: “I really want to cherish and take advantage of this really nourishing creative environment.”
We’re hoping Martin will be taking advantage of us for some time to come.
In addition to Slide in the DMs and Buzzkill, you can catch Angelina Martin at these upcoming shows:
- Apr 26: Bubble and Squeak at Brentwood Coffeehouse at 8pm
- May 6: Shit’s Golden at the Velveeta Room at 9:30pm