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


Fol­low Tori

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Tori Pool