Jasmine Ellis: I'm Gonna Get There

June 29, 2019

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin

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It’s sum­mer, and that means the Com­e­dy Wham team is out and about, bring­ing you yet anoth­er on-loca­tion episode this week. It’s a dou­ble-dou­ble as well; besides being a field inter­view, it’s our sec­ond-in-a-row return guest, the enig­mat­ic Jas­mine Ellis.

Enig­mat­ic is a bit of an odd descrip­tion for Ellis, I’ll read­i­ly admit. Fans who saw her on Jef­frey Ross’s Roast Bat­tle at 2019 Moon­tow­er, the 3rd sea­son of Standup Empire, or in her appear­ances like the You Look Like com­e­dy roast show­case, will quick­ly jump to the honed and caus­tic wit she applies to her sub­jects (and her­self) and may assume that’s Ellis to the core. The same is very much true of her must-fol­low Twit­ter account, where she skew­ers self, coun­try and world, but – and this is where the puz­zle comes in – quite often lets a very per­son­al lamen­ta­tion or heart­felt expres­sion of grat­i­tude grace her timeline.

And that’s real­ly the mys­tery of Jas­mine Ellis: where does this beau­ti­ful (inside and out) soul find the hook to turn her com­e­dy lov­ing­ly vicious on a dime? I think the most sim­ple answer, as usu­al, is cor­rect: she loves it. Relat­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly devi­ous diss from the trip to the Roast Bat­tle show, she talks about laugh­ing so hard she almost fell out of the car she was attempt­ing to enter. I’ll remind the read­ers that this isn’t a par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult task, and such is the impact that a sol­id burn has on her.

So what’s changed since Valerie Lopez last spoke with Ellis? Quite a bit, from con­tin­u­ing to push the bal­ance of her day job – as a beau­ty con­sul­tant – and com­e­dy, to, oh yes, get­ting mar­ried. Con­grat­u­la­tions are due on both, and she sounds hap­pi­er than ever. In addi­tion to the pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned appear­ances, she’s opened for Michael Che (of Sat­ur­day Night Live Week­end Update desk fame) and Christi­na P (co-host of the immense­ly pop­u­lar Your Mom’s House pod­cast), host­ed the Extra Salty pod­cast with Austin’s Ky Krebs, and per­formed in Fun­ni­est Per­son in Austin con­test three years run­ning. And, in a per­son­al high­light, has fea­tured at the Hye­nas com­e­dy clubs in her pre­vi­ous home­town area of Dallas/​Ft Worth, cross­ing off some­thing that has long been in her sights, and has a spe­cial taste of validation.

All of these are signs that Ellis has got­ten her arms around find­ing and focus­ing on her goals. In our last talk, she described her past as chaot­ic”, but today she could­n’t sound fur­ther from it. “[At the time I thought] of myself as the intern run­ning around drop­ping papers…[Now] I have a plan, and it’s mov­ing me for­ward,” she says of the trans­for­ma­tion: Instead of prov­ing to myself I should be a come­di­an, I’m just decid­ing how to be one now.”

Instead of prov­ing to myself I should be a come­di­an, I’m just decid­ing how to be one now.” Jas­mine Ellis

Part of the key to this new road is a renewed fer­vor for a take charge” method­ol­o­gy. She gives an exam­ple: I can’t decide if I can fea­ture [at a show], but I decide if I can ask the club to let me fea­ture.” She’s even got a vision board, ya’ll; it does­n’t get more seri­ous than that. An over­ar­ch­ing goal (one of many) is to final­ly shift her income stream from being a beau­ty con­sul­tant that does com­e­dy, to a come­di­an that has a hob­by in beau­ty. It’s yet anoth­er rung on the lad­der of per­son­al accom­plish­ment that – once climbed – fur­ther cements her trans­for­ma­tion into the life she has her sights on.

And in com­e­dy, no mat­ter how large your name has been writ on a mar­quee, that means a devo­tion to the grind: work­ing shows, per­fect­ing your audi­ence detec­tor”, and slip­ping in new mate­r­i­al to find the gems that will get shined up and become the new leads. Hav­ing her com­e­dy espe­cial­ly crisp is dou­bly impor­tant at the moment as Ellis is on the way to record­ing and pro­duc­ing her first album, dis­trib­uted by Sure Thing records. It’ll be record­ed live at Cap City Com­e­dy on August 11th. She does­n’t have the title yet; the come­di­an who describes her spur-of-the-moment set selec­tions as a live Choose Your Own Adven­ture”, is mak­ing the choice to wait until it’s record­ed, to real­ly cap­ture the expe­ri­ence of how it all goes down.

There’ll be some­thing for every­one, but Ellis makes clear that some will be focused on giv­ing a spe­cial expe­ri­ence to the ladies in the audi­ence: I believe women are absolute­ly hilar­i­ous, and I’m not an anomaly…[the album set] is geared towards women, and cel­e­brat­ing women, and…funny stuff that real­ly con­nects and res­onates with women”. And, as befits major life events, she insists there’ll be a par­ty (or two), claim­ing in turns that it’s because she’s so basic” and then real­ly extra”; you can hear the excite­ment in her voice as she pic­tures how the whole thing will come together.

I believe women are absolute­ly hilar­i­ous, and I’m not an anom­aly…” Jas­mine Ellis

Ellis’s Twit­ter bio is Basi­cal­ly Com­plex”, so maybe start­ing out by call­ing her an enig­ma was­n’t too far off the mark. Either way, her com­bi­na­tion of dri­ve and ambi­tion is unam­bigu­ous, and absolute­ly a thing of beauty.

Jas­mine Ellis has a full slate of upcom­ing shows, and here are just a few. See more at Jas​m​i​neEl​lis​com​e​dy​.com, and be sure to catch her live album tap­ing on August 11th!

  • July 3: Lafayette Wurst Biergarten
  • July 4th: Baton Rouge, No Show Comedy
  • July 5 – 7: Arling­ton Improv, fea­tur­ing for Rodman
  • July 12th: Austin, Jazz Karen at Scott’s Inn 8pm
  • July 13th: Dal­las TX @ Stomp­ing Ground
  • Aug 10th: Hous­ton, The Secret group head­lin­er series
  • Aug 11th: Austin, Cap City Com­e­dy album recording
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