Allison Wojtowecz: Always Ready to Jump In

March 12, 2021

Photo Credit

Holly Beaupre

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin

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Some people you remember from their actions, some their laughs (or ones they evoked), and sometimes a name just “sticks” with you. With Allison Wojtowecz, all of those are just a jumping off point. And, lest you spend too much more time trying to sound out that oh-so-Polish last name, Allison (née AlliWo) says it’s easiest to remember it as “void-of-itch”, something to which we can all aspire. There will be a quiz later.

In something of a rarity in the local comedy scene, Wojtowecz hails not from the bustling center of Austin, and isn’t a transplant from any of the “Coasts”: she calls the suburb Round Rock home, as do I. (Admittedly we also sometimes refer to it as “Comedy Wham: North”.) Outnumbered as one of the few females in an extended family full of “hilarious” boys, she posits that her appetite for humor grew from the desire to compete with--and best--their constant antics.

School brought out a similar competitive attitude, with Wojtowecz double-majoring in acting and kinesiology at The University of Texas. Her love of theatre first grew from experiencing the welcoming people and program at her high school. The concept of being able to visualize and step into the “blank slate” of character creation intrigued her, as well as the possibilities it opened into better understanding the experiences of other people. One performance that sticks out to the self-admitted “goody two shoes” was an emotionally impactful enactment of sisters living through the Dust Bowl, and the abortion that her character carried out on stage. Taken out of context, she says “it seemed like a violent scene”, but that “it was an interesting way to lead the audience to experience empathy” in relating to the characters’ challenges.

Combining her kinesiology experience with her predilection for diving headfirst into any new endeavor, Wojtowecz turned her nascent recipe sharing website into a legal entity and partnered with Austin-based health company PaleoFX. In the process, she committed herself to learning all of the required modern aspects of such a creature: search engine optimization, social media skills, and other tricks of the trade, then pivoted her own company to offer digital marketing services to those in need of them.

Spend even a few minutes with Wojtowecz and you’ll also find yourself in the midst of an infectious energy, which isn’t in the least an accident: it’s a talent developed to motivate clients she has taken on at times as a personal trainer. The throughline here is her desire to perform not only at her best, but to enhance and empower the lives of others.

It (stand-up) started out just as a tool to be better at improvising and being funnier in that and then stand up just became its own passion.
Allison Wojtowecz

One way to do that is to have people sweating and swearing through a grueling training session; another is to get people guffawing from the edges of their seats. With her theater background, performing was seemingly always to make another appearance in Wojtowecz’s life, first with Shitfaced Shakespeare. After a brief attempt at improv to supplement her skills with Shitfaced Shakespeare, she made the jump to stand-up. Of the experience with stand-up, Wojtowecz says "it started out just as a tool to be better at improvising and being funnier in that and then stand up just became its own. its own passion."

In only a couple of months from her first open-mic, Wojtowecz found herself offering logistical show advice to a “random woman with a notebook” in the audience at one of her shows. That woman turned out to be rising comedian Jen Fulwiler, a fact that Wojtowecz only realized as their friendship organically grew, and led to her later opening for Fulwiler on tour. Wojtowecz credits the fortuitous meeting not with opportunity-seeking, but with her mantra of “Be a nice person, and good shit will happen”, something with which we definitely agree. You can check out the taped special at The Naughty Corner Tour.

Be a nice person, and good shit will happen.
Allison Wojtowecz

Wojtowecz looks back on her growing comedy career--with multiple shows per month, a Funniest Person in Austin appearance in 2019, and the aforementioned tour--with amazement. “I was a crazy person”,at the pre-Covid peak running both weekly and twice-monthly shows. After the world pivoted in 2020, another planned tour with Fulwiler was shelved, and Wojtowecz, in true headfirst style, jumped into online shows, including our own Isolation Comedy series. Appearances on other online shows like In the Meme Time, she progressed to hosting shows (and doing social media) for the growing Big Laugh Comedy network.

Speaking of jumping, at this point we’d be remiss in not mentioning an experience that may well encapsulate Wojtowecz’s approach to new challenges. Having purchased tickets to literally jump off a bridge (albeit with bungee firmly attached), she found herself engaging her logical side to overcome the dread creeping in. “I woke up scared,” she admits, but, after finding out that only 80% of people actually step off the ledge, told herself “you’re not going to be in the 20%!”. In another interesting corollary to the fright some people struggle with in comedy, she notes the experience taught her “the physiological response of both nerves and fear is the same as excitement..it’s just the way your brain is interpreting it based on the situation“, and advises “you can usually convert it, if you talk yourself into it”.

In parallel, Wojtowecz added a podcast to her repertoire, with high school friend Alli Tooms called, fittingly, All. Is. On. (Put the letters together, you’ll get it.) She jokingly describes it as “two white girls from suburbia”, but takes pride in their tackling of meaningful subjects like the denial of potentially life changing drugs like MDMA from those with mental health issues who could truly benefit.

As we enter the phase where, like human Punxsutawney Phils, we again begin peeking out our doors to see the state of the world, Wojtowecz (and indeed Austin in general) are watching with interest the changes in the local comedy scene. An influx of comedians, big names and small, have begun making their way to our berg, like Joe Rogan, Brian Redban, and others. Online endeavours like Big Laugh Comedy have kicked off real-world partnerships and live shows with Kill Tony, Redban's Death Squad at Vulcan Gas Company. It’s a time of change, to be sure, but one that brings hope that the scene will emerge from forced hibernation reinvigorated and ready for a new phase of growth.

For Allison Wojtowecz, and her “say yes to everything” approach to life, we can be certain that she’ll find--or forge--her place in it for years to come.

Allison can be seen and heard:

  • All. Is. On. Podcast with Allison Tooms
  • Performing at Vulcan Theater at Big Laugh Comedy Network shows


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