Tori Pool Celebrates the Risks

May 9, 2021

Photo Credit

Tori Pool

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

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Hooray to us and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.

We picked a great guest to celebrate our 200th episode of Comedy Wham Presents. Not only is Tori Pool a favorite of Comedy Wham, but she's a mom and has the right kind of energy to put out for our 200th episode.

Double Triple Digit Milestone

What a thrill it's been - from guest #1 to guest #200 and from interviewers Richard Goodwin, Lara Smith, and yours truly, we've talked to so many interesting comics. It's a bit surreal that we've hit this milestone.

We started the podcast in January of 2016 and have never run out of comics to talk to. Many we were fans of, some approached us, and others were brought to us by a publicist looking for a promo piece. We're happy to oblige all sorts of comics; it provides a patchwork quilt of what it's like to be a comic to those who listen. Thank you for listening by the way. We've got over 40,000 downloads in 5 years time! We've been busy building our website over the last few years and being a go to for the comedy events in Austin, but during the covid shutdown, we put a heavy pause on the podcast. Mainly to focus on the online Isolation Comedy show, but also because interviews by Zoom felt too different from the face-to-face interview. But as 2021 kicked into gear, I realized I missed podcasting and getting to know comics, so the pace is building back up to the usual weekly release schedule. For now, the interviews are happening by way of screen-to-screen conversation. I look forward to the return of the face-to-face interview. It's coming soon, I know.

Back to Business

And, now let's talk about Tori Pool, our 200th guest.

Pool is both sweet and rough and the tough girl you wanted to be friends with growing up (mostly because she'd fight her enemies). She struggled in school, dropped out of high school (but is quick to note she was always good at English), married young, had her first and only child young. Humor was a coping mechanism from an early age, which is important to note. Not only was that humor a coping mechanism, but her love of language was a gift that wasn't brought to fruition until she had sowed her wild oats.

After dropping out of high school, Pool got her GED and tried to attend college. Twice, and hated it and quit each time. She wasn't ready to learn how to learn all over again. "It wasn't until I found out I was pregnant with my son that I was like, 'Alright, I'm going to do it'," Pool says of finally tackling the college experience and degree. She went the practical route and got a teaching degree in the hopes that practice would push her on the path of being the responsible adult she wanted to be for her son. There was another motive for pursuing teaching for Pool: "Maybe I can get into the education system and reach someone like me...and for a while I did reach a lot of people. I will say that. Sharing my non-traditional background made me a stronger teacher."

I was tired of not taking risks.
Tori Pool

But ultimately, teaching wasn't for her. After some political battles, she walked away, which also gave her an opportunity. "I've always felt like I've had to entertain. And that has always been a thing. And then I've always been a writer." But why start comedy? Pool says "I was tired of not taking risks." And that's how it began. You hear the trope frequently from comics we talk to: one mic becomes five in a week, becomes a mic nearly every night of the week. And now, not only was she pursuing comedy, she was using her love of writing and language to write, too. One "problem" she identified early on is fighting feelings that she'd say the wrong thing to the wrong person. "It's an inside joke that I have, if there's an elephant in the room, I accidentally always identify it."

If there's an elephant in the room, I accidentally always identify it.
Tori Pool

Of course, from our perspective, we call that a happy accident. It's what drew us to her. I saw Pool perform at Altercation Festival a few years back and her "unfiltered access to her brain" style of comedy was immediately engaging. We were lucky enough to bring her on several times to our online Isolation Comedy show during the 2020 covid shutdown and it's still part of her magical charm. Calling on her wild childhood, her experience teaching, and motherhood, she connects with audiences easily. This is imminently evident if you listen to her "Worth Repeating" (Texas Public Radio) short story. Between her soothing voice and her story, she draws you in, makes you laugh when it's needed and reminds you of the need for humanity. It's a beautiful recording and whatever you think of her comedy, you would best be served by seeking it out.

Four years into performing comedy, Pool is a fixture at the Blind Tiger Comedy Club (a small venue in the basement of the Magic Time Machine) in San Antonio. In fact, she's the current director. In an interesting discussion, we spend a fair amount of time talking about the differences between the Austin and San Antonio comedy scenes. We are lucky here in Austin to have such a thriving, brimming scene, but San Antonio is one of the largest cities in the country and envies the comedy opportunities of Austin. The proximity in distance is a perk, though - Pool recently landed a weekly open mic at The Creek and the Cave called Case of the Mondays and she hopes to leverage that into bringing Austin comics to San Antonio and vice versa. We know San Antonio has developed excellent comics, from Raul Sanchez, to Chris Grullon, to Pool herself. We'd do well to get to know our neighbors.

Being a mom is hard. It's not for everybody.
Tori Pool

The rest of our conversation, unfiltered of course, centered on motherhood, something we both have in common. So much so that we both have 14 year old sons with addictions to collecting expensive toys. It was an incredibly fun conversation and even if you're not a mother, you'll enjoy the banter. In closing, Pool says "Being a mom is hard. It's not for everybody." It isn't, but it's also rewarding in infinite ways. Just like watching Pool's comedy.

Tori can be seen:

  • Blind Tiger Comedy Club
  • Doing her son's homework
  • Telling you like it is


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