Laurie Kilmartin: She Made It

June 11, 2023

Photo Credit

Laurie Kilmartin


Valerie Lopez


Mimi Meier

2023 Moontower Just For Laughs Comedy Festival Series

The 2023 Moontower Just For Laughs Comedy Festival is blessing us with 2 weeks of comedy, film, live podcast, and afterparties. Comedy Wham is featuring our favorite conversations from this year's festival. Enjoy!

When asked to describe her past in one word, Lau­rie Kil­martin chose the word bor­ing”. I had to check the lat­est def­i­n­i­tion of the word, because to me, Lau­rie Kil­martin is as bor­ing as a Cost­co that gives out free sam­ples of skate­boards and tequi­la. Standup come­di­an, pub­lished author of two books (Shit­ty Mom and Dead Peo­ple Suck), joke writer for the Conan O’Brien Show, final­ist on Last Com­ic Stand­ing, and sassy pub­lic pool review­er (we’ll get there, don’t wor­ry), Kil­martin is a writ­ing machine who deserves all of our praise and maybe a wrist cast to soothe her carpal tunnel. 

Kilmartin’s com­e­dy jour­ney start­ed when she was feel­ing a bit lost in life. She was liv­ing in San Fran­cis­co and not sure where her pas­sions lay. Just for fun, she start­ed going to see standup peri­od­i­cal­ly, not yet know­ing she would soon be the per­son onstage. No audi­ence is ever thank­ful for a bad com­e­dy show, but sur­pris­ing­ly, the show that made her try standup, wasn’t good at all. I saw a stand up that was bad and they were work­ing. And I’m like …‘Oh, I can be bet­ter than that per­son’”. After that, she grabbed her own joke book, enrolled in standup class­es, and began paving her way in the San Fran com­e­dy scene. Guess we can all thank that sub­par com­ic, right?

She start­ed find­ing her unique style in the clubs of San Fran­cis­co, her favorite being the Holy City Zoo, a com­e­dy club where her sweet appear­ance and con­trast­ing dark­er mate­r­i­al were wel­comed with open arms and hearty laughs from the locals. As a bud­ding new com­ic with great jokes and hunger for stage time, Kil­martin began tak­ing her act on the road, hon­ing her skills, and mak­ing standup her full time gig, trad­ing cowork­ers for comics and drink tick­ets for pay­checks. Her joke pol­ish­ing and hard work paid off when she land­ed a spot on the New Faces Show­case” at the Just For Laughs Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val . This big hon­or left Kil­martin feel­ing that it was time for some big changes. She was ready to take the leap to a new com­e­dy hub. LA was too close to home, so she decid­ed it was time to leave fog­gy San Fran­cis­co and take a stab at the com­e­dy ani­mal that is New York City. To her, New York was the ulti­mate chal­lenge because if you can make it there … come on, you know the song.

I saw a stand up that was bad and they were working. And I'm like . . .'Oh, I can be better than that person'
Laurie Kilmartin

Changes in lifestyle made way for changes in her mate­r­i­al as she trad­ed her sub­ur­ban road gigs for the diverse crowds New York com­e­dy clubs had to offer. She even­tu­al­ly found her foot­ing, but the tran­si­tion wasn’t seam­less. Her mate­r­i­al that worked for par­ents on date night who drove to the com­e­dy show in their mini­vans, didn’t trans­late to what these bustling New York­ers and inter­na­tion­al tourists could relate to. I just can’t kill talk­ing about Tar­get in a place that does­n’t have Tar­gets, you know?“ As dri­ven and ded­i­cat­ed comics in New York do, she suc­cess­ful­ly adapt­ed, find­ing not only stage time, but paid writ­ing jobs on shows such as Tough Crowd and The Conan O’brien Show.

In addi­tion to writ­ing standup, Kil­martin began to branch out to oth­er writ­ing pur­suits, start­ing small by post­ing blog style sto­ries about her trav­els on the road and, my favorite, mean spir­it­ed reviews about pub­lic pools where she swam laps.

( From her review of The Y in Beau­mont, Texas)

Rat­ing: D+ This pool depressed me so much- I tru­ly con­sid­ered chang­ing my cit­i­zen­ship dur­ing warm up. Oh, every­one was nice all right. The aer­o­bics ladies bounced up and down to Going to the Chapel,” even though most of them are at an age that puts a dif­fer­ent spin on Goin’ to a chapel. Beau­mont is one of those towns that grows ser­i­al killers and you can see why. It’s in a time warp and just sev­en hun­dred yards in this pool made me want to take out a post office. Go Home! 

This comic’s suc­cess­ful com­e­dy jour­ney is a great mod­el for new comics in the field, with Kil­martin always being so dri­ven on and off stage. Her work eth­ic, busi­ness savvy, and fer­vent joke writ­ing shows that this art­form is so much more than car­ry­ing a cock­tail onstage and chat­ting about your day. She recounts a time in her life when she was writ­ing jokes for Conan for a full day, then tak­ing her son to a Mcdon­ald’s where he played in the ball pit while she worked on a book titled Shit­ty Mom (a book that lat­er became a New York Times best­seller), know­ing that in the evening she still had to write and per­form standup much late into the night. (Hence, wrist cast for the carpal tunnel).

I'm a club comic. So when I write comedy, it has to work in a club with people who don't know who I am and who are being interrupted by the server.
Laurie Kilmartin

As for what Lau­rie is cur­rent­ly work­ing on, she writes, per­forms, and records week­ly episodes of the Jack­ie and Lau­rie Show, a pod­cast where her and fel­low come­di­an Jack­ie Kashi­an talk about life as best friends, work­ing comics, but also set aside time to show­case a female com­ic of the week. You might have cringed at the term female com­ic”, but don’t wor­ry, Lau­rie and Jack­ie use their plat­form to sup­port new­er female comics while talk­ing about the ups and downs of the com­e­dy indus­try in general. 

Kil­mart­in’s newest com­e­dy spe­cial comes out lat­er this year. Though a cur­rent pop­u­lar trend of com­e­dy spe­cials seem to be about teach­ing you a les­son or address­ing deep top­ics, her new hour is just tried and true fun­ny jokes to give an audi­ence a great time. In an ever chang­ing world of com­e­dy with Insta­gram influ­encers and Tik­Tok viral sen­sa­tions, Kil­martin iden­ti­fies as a clas­sic joke writer say­ing the spe­cial is just an hour of great jokes that work in a com­e­dy club. I’m a club com­ic. So when I write com­e­dy, it has to work in a club with peo­ple who don’t know who I am and who are being inter­rupt­ed by the server”.

We wrap up our con­ver­sa­tion by ask­ing what word Kil­martin would use to describe her future, and she once again throws about the word, bor­ing”. As a pas­sion­ate joke writer, hilar­i­ous and dark pub­lished author and come­di­an, busy mom, pod­cast­er, and well-loved per­former, I say, we’ll see about that.

Spe­cial thanks to Bruce Smith of Omnipop Tal­ent Group

Fol­low Laurie

Lau­rie can be seen and heard:

  • Spe­cial
  • Albums
    • Corset
    • 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad
    • 5 Min­utes to Myself 
  • Pod­casts (avail­able on Youtube and your favorite pod­cast player)
    • The Jack­ie and Lau­rie Show
  • Books
    • Dead Peo­ple Suck
    • Sh*tty Mom
Laurie Kilmartin