Lisa Smith Loves the Details

September 10, 2023

Photo Credit

Ashton Garner Photography - IG @ashtonavocado


Valerie Lopez


Valerie Lopez


As always, part of my research into a com­ic pri­or to sit­ting down with them is to go through social media to get a feel for their per­son­al­i­ty and com­e­dy, if, as in this case, I haven’t had a chance to see them per­form live. 

Errrrrrry­one is talk­ing about Matt Rife, and our guest, Lisa Smith, is no excep­tion. Except what stopped me cold is her Insta­gram video Matt Rife’s Man­ag­er (Lisa Smith). I have watched the video a dozen times because every time, it makes me gig­gle. What’s even bet­ter is that I don’t even have to play the video with sound to laugh. If you pay very close atten­tion (as I tend to do), you’ll notice the phone case that Matt Rife’s Man­ag­er” is hold­ing does­n’t even hold a phone, it’s an emp­ty phone case, and then after a video cut it’s two emp­ty phone cas­es, anoth­er cut and it’s a phone case hang­ing on her ear or under her arm. Then there are Smith’s facial expres­sions, the sheep­ish, sly looks of some­one that’s try­ing to pull a fast one on you, but could play it off as pure silli­ness if caught. Matt Rife’s Man­ag­er” joins a col­lec­tion of oth­er char­ac­ters that Smith has post­ed on her Insta­gram and each brings out her sil­ly nature.

I lead with this because it helps me describe Smith’s per­son­al­i­ty and her com­e­dy expe­ri­ence fair­ly accu­rate­ly. Smith stud­ied open mics for months before final­ly com­mit­ting to per­form­ing on one in South Car­oli­na where she attend­ed col­lege. While she felt that she was always fun­ny in high school (so much so that she was award­ed Most Sar­cas­tic in her Senior Class), she did­n’t decide to make the jump until she had a real­ly bad breakup. I haven’t had too many con­ver­sa­tions where this is the impe­tus for start­ing com­e­dy, but what bet­ter salve to heal the wounds of a break up than to air it out on stage? It’s soooo relatable. 

Smith hap­pened to invite a lot of friends to her first open mic (and who could turn down an invi­ta­tion to watch their friend talk about a breakup on stage??) and while the sub­ject mat­ter was­n’t always going to be the breakup, she did want to keep pur­su­ing standup.

There's no way that there's not other people going through this. So we wanted to give comedians a platform for that, especially comedians.
Lisa Smith

Anoth­er ele­ment of the Matt Rife’s Man­ag­er” video is the under­stat­ed nature of the char­ac­ter Smith por­trays. Smith broke the trope that I’ve always held to that the third child in a fam­i­ly is always gre­gar­i­ous and out­go­ing. Smith admits she is very shy, leav­ing her sib­lings to be the social butterflies. 

Smith’s shy demeanor pairs per­fect­ly with her stu­dious nature (her cho­sen word for her past) which leads to a lot of obser­va­tion­al humor in her com­e­dy. But there’s one top­ic she does keep com­ing back to … rela­tion­ships, specif­i­cal­ly the ones that end. We’ll return to this theme in a moment. After her move to Atlanta, she immersed her­self into the com­e­dy scene and began push­ing her­self to per­form more, and even to start writ­ing clean com­e­dy. You see, shy Smith can get as raunchy as you care to get, but she also under­stood the val­ue of being able to per­form a broad swath of mate­r­i­al. That under­stand­ing came from know­ing her­self and her nature to study com­e­dy just as much as she per­formed com­e­dy. Along the way, she befriend­ed fel­low com­ic Neiko Smith (no rela­tion) and they real­ized their affin­i­ty for, you guessed it, breakups!

Dur­ing COVID, Smith moved to New Orleans, a town she affec­tion­ate­ly calls her pan­dem­ic city. After a few months, she made a hasty retreat back to Atlanta, though she returned briefly to NOLA for the Black Girl Gig­gles Fes­ti­val. She land­ed oth­er fes­ti­vals and was hit­ting her stride, when the siren call of pod­cast­ing lured her and her kin­dred spir­it, Neiko. The duo began the Love is Trash pod­cast which coin­cid­ed with both of their respec­tive recent breakups. 

The pod­cast became an avenue to talk about rela­tion­ships and give oth­er comics a chance to join along as well. For Smith, she fig­ured there’s no way that there’s not oth­er peo­ple going through this. So we want­ed to give come­di­ans a plat­form for that, espe­cial­ly come­di­ans.” We cer­tain­ly agree that comics have a lot of rela­tion­ship mate­r­i­al at the ready. At this stage, we’d like to inter­ject on pod­cast talk with giv­ing full cred­it to Smith for coin­ing the term Wham­mies”, those who lis­ten to our Com­e­dy Wham Presents pod­cast. Pri­or to the inter­view with Smith, she list­ed off the episodes she had lis­tened to and shared insights about some of her favorite ones. Near­ly 300 episodes in and it took this long before some­one coined a term for our fans. Good job, Lisa!

I just want to do comedy. I just go where I'm asked
Lisa Smith

Despite the strength of the Atlanta com­e­dy scene, Smith was hear­ing much chat­ter about Austin through pod­casts. With a job offer in hand, it was time for anoth­er move, this time to Austin, Texas. Upon explor­ing the Austin com­e­dy scene, Smith not­ed that it was very sim­i­lar to Atlanta’s scene — which was actu­al­ly two scenes: the urban comics, and the main­stream comics. For Austin, she splits the scene as the main­stream comics and the Moth­er­ship comics, a venue that is a more for­mal appren­tice­ship pro­gram when it comes to earn­ing stage time. 

Where does Smith see her­self fit­ting in between these two per­ceived scenes? I just want to do com­e­dy. I just go where I’m asked,” she responds, which is the most prac­ti­cal way of deal­ing with dif­fer­ent scenes with­in a city. As long as you’re on a stage, you’re improv­ing and doing the fun thing you’ve always want­ed to do. It also helps to have a good men­tor. In Smith’s case, she’s been get­ting the guid­ance and man­age­ment” (we use the term loose­ly here) of Angeli­na Mar­tin, a com­ic who knows the Austin com­e­dy scene and the places to be.

It was through Mar­tin that Smith learned of Cap City Com­e­dy Club’s Fun­ni­est Per­son in Austin con­test ear­li­er this year, and at Mar­t­in’s urg­ing, she signed up for the con­test. Good thing she did. In her first attempt, Smith reached the quar­ter­fi­nals and we hope she caught the eyes and ears of oth­er book­ers in town so she can con­tin­ue to demon­strate her atten­tion to detail when it comes to com­e­dy. We think we’ll get to keep her in Austin for a bit longer since her impres­sion of the Austin com­e­dy scene is that every­one helps peo­ple. It’s like a weird ener­gy. I haven’t seen that.” Let’s keep it up Austin com­e­dy scene! It’s good kar­ma and if it means we get to keep some­one here who off-stage is on the shy side, but who has a wicked sense of humor on stage, I say that’s a job well done. Just like the job well done by Matt Rife’s manager”.

Fol­low Lisa

Lisa can be seen and heard:

  • Love is Trash Podcast
  • Buz­zkill at the Buzzmill — Sep­tem­ber 27 at Buzzmill (1505 Towncreek)
  • Texas Thurs­days — Sep­tem­ber 28 at Roz­co’s Com­e­dy Club
  • Last Sat­ur­day Standup — Sep­tem­ber 30 at Mama Merlots
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Lisa Smith