Allie Amrien: 23 Stories of the New Kid

May 3, 2017


Lara Smith


Lara Smith


It’s a breezy Sat­ur­day morn­ing in April and the thrill of Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val is fresh in the air. I’m sit­ting down to break­fast tacos and cof­fee with the woman known to Insta­gram as @surlyallie, but Allie Amrien is any­thing but surly. Despite the ear­ly hour, fol­low­ing a late night of com­e­dy, Amrien is pleas­ant and charming.

Hav­ing recent­ly left San Anto­nio for Boston, as a home­base for a series of tour dates, Amrien ulti­mate­ly has her sights set on Los Ange­les. With a busy sum­mer ahead, I need­ed to take advan­tage of her return to Austin to learn more about this incred­i­bly tal­ent­ed comedian.

Born in Ver­mont, ear­ly years in Cape Cod, and high school in Vir­ginia, Amrien was, what is often referred to as, a mil­i­tary brat.” Mov­ing around was a nor­mal way of life for Amrien. Jeal­ous of kids that got to stay in one place, Amrien recalls, It sucks being the new kid. Peo­ple have like one sto­ry about that, I’m like, I have like 23 sto­ries about that!” That nomadic way of life seems to have made tour­ing as a com­ic a more nat­ur­al fit.

Grow­ing up watch­ing SNL, copy­ing Mol­ly Shan­non, and hav­ing a back­ground in the­ater, Amrien did not start standup until the age of twen­ty-two. Spend­ing time with com­ic friends, John McCain (not the Sen­a­tor) and Jay White­cot­ton, Amrien found standup com­e­dy through its nat­ur­al gate­way drug: karaōke. Even though she bombed at her first open mic, Allie Amrien got the itch to get back on stage not long after.

That start seems con­sis­tent with Amrien’s over­all phi­los­o­phy in com­e­dy: she takes her down­falls as a chal­lenge to improve. Leav­ing the San Fran­cis­co Com­e­dy Com­pe­ti­tion feel­ing hum­bled and out of her league, Amrien lists that as one of her best expe­ri­ences in com­e­dy, because of how much it taught her. Her phi­los­o­phy has def­i­nite­ly paid off in the five years she’s been doing com­e­dy, as she has a list of fes­ti­vals under her belt and has opened for Bert Kreis­ch­er and Antho­ny Jeselnik.

Describ­ing her writ­ing inspi­ra­tion as com­ing from a place of truth, Amrien brings hon­esty and a strong voice to the stage. With a style that some may see as dark, that hon­esty trans­lates so well to audi­ences, such as Jeselnik’s, that are look­ing for laughs served with a bite of truth. And in this cur­rent cli­mate of fake news,” couldn’t we all use a lit­tle truth?

Allie Amrien