Robyn Reynolds is Kind of Insane

September 2, 2019

Photo Credit

Kate Mulligan

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin

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Despite what you may have heard, an illus­tri­ous mem­ber of Clone Squad, the improv assem­bly of rean­i­mat­ed past civ­il rights heroes, isn’t in fact dead. Well, Robyn Reynolds’s pseu­do-fic­tion­al Squad char­ac­ter has indeed shuf­fled the coil, but (spoil­er) the real Reynolds is still very much alive. 

Reynolds is a stranger to nei­ther improv or stand-up; you’ve prob­a­bly seen them in PUNCH, Low and Inside, or on the Sure Thing show­case. It may have been said once or twice that the on-stage Reynolds can be a bit…let’s say acer­bic; when they sit down with Valerie Lopez and tells tales of their late father’s pull-no-punch­es humor, it’s easy to see where they gets some of their inspi­ra­tion. Grow­ing up out­side per­form­ing mec­ca Los Ange­les, Reynolds knew they want­ed to get into some­thing”; it was a bit of a non-spe­cif­ic cre­ative itch. Com­e­dy seemed like some­thing attain­able to the then-16 year old, grat­i­fy­ing their urges and the most imme­di­ate thing [I] could do”. Short­ly after, their fam­i­ly made the momen­tous move to (checks notes)…Cleveland? (It was a fam­i­ly deci­sion to move back to their home state after their father passed away.) It’s hard to move from prob­a­bly the best cli­mate in the coun­try, to the place where bliz­zards hap­pen,” they allow, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly shar­ing grat­i­tude for hav­ing spent the time in LA when they had it. Cit­ing a love of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Reynolds also had a bud­ding fond­ness for improv, but the Cleve­land scene wasn’t ripe enough to sup­port it yet. So it was nights of trav­el­ing long round trips into the city prop­er to grab mic time when they could. As men­tioned, their on-stage per­sona is known to push some people’s ideas of the lim­its, but they swear it’s not inten­tion­al­ly designed that way. I’m not try­ing to push bound­aries,” Reynolds insists: Things are fun­ny to me that aren’t fun­ny to oth­er people…I’m kind of an insane person.” 

Things are fun­ny to me that aren’t fun­ny to oth­er people…I’m kind of an insane per­son.” Robyn Reynolds

It’s a tough line to walk, but Reynolds car­ries on stage a com­bi­na­tion of con­fi­dence and qui­et charm that allows them to smooth­ly spout on a sub­ject like abor­tion, but leaks just enough self-aware­ness through the façade that the audi­ence know they are in on the joke, and it’s OK to laugh about it. It’s hard for me not to draw a com­par­i­son to Jesel­nik, and Reynolds does bring him up in the inter­view, not­ing almost a love-hate rela­tion­ship with his com­e­dy over time. It’s the nature of doing the kind of mate­r­i­al that peo­ple love to call too soon” or nev­er the right time”; you have to be able to look past the top­ic and know the place and mind­set it comes from. Not many can pull it off, though it doesn’t stop far too many from try­ing. It’s a deft­ness that belies Reynolds’s age: they are just 25, and actu­al­ly still in school. That’s 7 years from start­ing standup to being a final­ist in this year’s Fun­ni­est Per­son in Austin con­test; it may sound at first like quite some time, but many peo­ple have put in far more full-time work and not land­ed there. This pat­tern usu­al­ly high­lights a sol­id indi­ca­tor of a unique and engag­ing style, one that cements a sin­gu­lar per­former in the minds of the judges who see dozens of comics each night. So what’s next for Reynolds? They’ve got to fin­ish up school, as we men­tioned, and have moved on from a few of their reg­u­lar shows at Fall­out. They’re dab­bling in build­ing up their abil­i­ties for crowd work, and that could be a real­ly pow­er­ful com­bi­na­tion with their odd-yet-cap­ti­vat­ing world view. Like many of their pur­suits, they feel they need to let their Type A” work-self get out of the way, say­ing If I keep doing it…I’ll fall into things that let me bet­ter at it.” 

If I keep doing it…I’ll fall into things that let me bet­ter at it.” Robyn Reynolds

Clear­ly change is in the air for Reynolds, and for some­one who seems to rev­el in things that are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent”, we expect to be con­tin­u­al­ly (pleas­ant­ly) sur­prised. Catch Robyn Reynolds at some of their upcom­ing shows: 

  • Every Mon­day: Base­ment Brawl — Fall­out Theater
  • Oct 17, 31: Dead of Night (a talk show host­ed by the Grim Reaper, played by Devon Coleman)
  • Oct 24: Chester­field at Cold­towne Theater
  • Decem­ber (Sat­ur­days): Golf Cart’s Celebri­ty Christ­mas at Fall­out Theater

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Robyn Reynolds

Valerie Lopez Richard Good­win Com­e­dy Wham

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