Jenny Slate

Comedy Centerfold: Jessica Dorrell

Welcome to Comedy Centerfold, where we feature a Dallas Comedy House performer and get to know him or her a little better by using questions that Playboy centerfolds are usually asked. Jessica DorrellJessica Dorrell is a badass. I don't mince words. JD, as I've never called her, once wrote for this here blog as an intern. But that's only a microcosm of her story. Time is short, so I'll touch on a few highlights: She invented Pyrex glass. She dined with Morrissey in Monaco in the mid-80s after the Smiths broke up. She rescued a pod of dolphins from a sinister underwater warlord hellbent on turning said dolphins into land-walking dolphin-bots. I could go on, but what you should really do is go see her perform in the troupe Summer Girls (May 14, May 28, June 9, and June 23) and a yet-to-be-named lady troupe (June 2).

Hometown? Age 0-12: Arlington, Texas. Age 12-19: Humble, Texas.

Guilty Pleasures? I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures; I’ll own up to all the terrible TV and movies I watch. That said, I can devour any 1990s teen drama you put in front of me in one weekend, and I’ll watch any horror movie that someone says is “just alright.”

Ambitions? I really, really, really want to visit a volcano and a lighthouse. I also want to eventually be able to make a living by just creating weird art with people I love.

Best Concert? It’s a tie between every time I’ve seen The National live and last year when I drove to Houston to see Drake in concert.

Favorite Book? I’m a serial “buy too many books and not read them fast enough” person. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite book, but ones I’ve really enjoyed recently are We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee.

Favorite Movie? A three-way tie between Vertigo, the original Halloween, and Scream.

Favorite TV Show? 30 Rock!!! It’s the perfect show. I also really enjoy a nice Chopped marathon.

Pets? I have two! An aggressively, cuddly 9-year-old tuxedo cat named Penny and a very weird and adorable 6-month-old demon/mystery puppy named Pickles!

Foods I Crave? Queso. Always queso.

People I Admire? All the ladies in my life – I’m lucky to be friends with a bunch of strong, independent, smart, hilarious women and they inspire me daily. My mom! She is the original strong, independent woman in my life. My boyfriend, Jude, because he’s the smartest and funniest person I know and he makes the best steak. Comedy wise – Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Chris Gethard – I think they all embrace the weirdness inside them and channel it into really, really smart comedy.

Dream Role? Something where Jenny Slate and I are best friends and we just traipse around NYC eating ice cream at every place we see that has ice cream. Or a really scary murderer. Or if I could tie those two together, that works also.

Favorite Song to Sing? "Private Eyes" by Hall and Oates (clap clap) and anything Nicki Minaj.

Good First Date Idea?
 A queso crawl – you just go to a bunch of different spots with queso in one night.

Confessions of a Comedy-holic

Confessions of a Comedy-holic is a weekly blog series that features performers of the Dallas Comedy House (DCH). What does it take to be funny? What make someone a great comedian? What brought them to DCH, what kept them staying, and how has it changed their own lives. Celebrities of DCH speak about their journeys in comedy. Local comedians share their story.  Embrace the Challenge.

Jerrell CurryEach time I see Jerrell Curry on stage as well as off stage, his burst of energy is captivating. It seems like the joy and happiness that he radiates just brightens up the room. Of course, I couldn’t help myself but ask him a few questions.

Jerrell, you are always so full of positive energy. What source drives you to be so vibrantly happy?

I've always been a naturally positive person, I think. There are definitely times when I get super bummed out about life, so in those moments I just fake it until it's a real feeling. I also listen to a lot of pop music, so that helps. I recommend Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion album for good vibes.

Good advice. How long have you been doing improv?

It will be two years this October. It's weird thinking about how much time has passed. I feel like I've done a lot but nothing at all at the same time. I'm a little improv baby.

What brought you to improv?

I don't know if it was any one thing. I know it was something that I always wanted to try, probably because I was obsessed with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the time, and once I started I was immediately sucked into it.

What do you like most about it?

I think it allows me to be my most free. I feel more like myself now than I've ever felt in my life, and improv has a lot to do with that. It's like when pop stars say things like, "This is my most personal record I've ever made...it drops November 21st..." That's how I feel about improv except instead of releasing Stripped, I make a poop joke on stage. It's equally fulfilling, honestly. Speaking of, my next poop joke drops October 3rd, listen on Apple Music.

Feeling free is fulfilling. Besides improv, what are your other hobbies?

I watch a ton of TV. I have the TV taste of a suburban mom, so I love anything soapy. So like, anything associated with Shonda Rhimes. Right now, I'm obsessed with How To Get Away With Murder. The acting is great, and the dudes are hot. I'm also really into making lists of books that I want to read and never doing it. And thinking about Nick Jonas.

Do you have any pets?

I have a dog! I love him. His name is Jasper. He's a scrappy little Lhasa Apso. Our birthdays are a day apart. If I was a dog, I would probably be him. He enjoys sleeping and rolling his eyes.

Jerrell, I see you are from Lewisville? Were you born here in Texas?

Born and raised. But I weirdly don't feel like a Texan. I definitely don't mind it here, but I don't know if this is my spot or not.

When you go to bed, what is one thing you mostly dream of?

Oh, that's a good question. I usually dream of things that are super related to what I have going on at the moment - all pretty realistic. So I've been dreaming a lot about boys, Rihanna, and coffee.

Who is your favorite actor/actress of all time?

I don't know if I have a solid favorite actor or actress. I love a lot of different people depending on their roles. It's a very long list, but the first person I immediately thought of was Jenny Slate, particularly in Obvious Child. She just kills it in that movie. She's funny, vulnerable, and super real. She's also really, really great in Parks and Recreation and The Kroll Show. Jenny Slate for President.

If you had just one wish in life to definitely come true, what would it be?

Um, I wish I was a little more confident. I scare myself out of doing things pretty frequently. I would get a lot more done if I spent less time in my head worrying and more time just doing, moving with a purpose. I've gotten better about just saying yes and pushing myself out the door, just turning that part of my brain off, but I'm scared the entire time. Now I'm worrying if that was the right wish or not.

I would never think that you lack confidence? I think there are so many of us at improv that feel like that, though. I know I do! Maybe it's a part of why we like it? Because it's a bit of challenge, that we succeed to overcome??

I completely agree! Improv at the very least forces you to fake that confidence until it's a real thing, for sure.

Jerrell, these are cool answers, thank you!

Thank you!

Iryna Spitzer is a writer and improviser. She is currently in Level 2 at DCH. Besides comedy, she likes drama (to balance it out), also flowers, children, animals, and world peace!  

(Image: Allie Trimboli)

Comedy Centerfold: Tyler Johnston

Welcome to Comedy Centerfold, where we feature a Dallas Comedy House performer and get to know him or her a little better by using questions that Playboy centerfolds are usually asked.  Tyler JohnstonTyler Johnston is the actual scientist who discovered running water on Mars. Don't let those mucky-mucks at NASA tell you differently. When Tyler's not working at DCH or performing in his troupes Purple Reign (Sept. 30, Oct. 21, and Oct. 28), Shameless Pug (Oct. 17), and Pinot Memoir, or recording The Lobby podcast with Jerrell Curry and Brian Harrington, he's astrophysicing (that's a technical term) all over the universe. Heck, Neil deGrasse Tyson even once said after meeting Tyler, "We've got a badass over here."

Hometown? I was born in Embrun, Ontario, Canada. It's a tiny town surrounded by cow farms and trees. There was always this rumor going around that they would open up a McDonald's and, to this day, it hasn't happened. When I was nine, I moved to Allen, Texas, and I've been (almost) fully Americanized.

Guilty Pleasures? The one pleasure I feel most guilty about is probably peanut butter. Kraft (as in Kraft Mac & Cheese) has a brand of peanut butter that's mostly sold in Canada so whenever I visit there, I bring back a large tub of it. My parents brought one back two weeks ago, and I'm almost finished with it because I keep eating spoonfuls of it.

Ambitions? I often find myself day dreaming about being a writer for a television show. Oddly enough, the part that I think about a lot is how satisfying it must feel to write an idea down and post it on a white board. So I guess my current ambition is to be able to have an idea good enough to be written on a Post-it note.

Best Concert? I'm not ashamed to say Lady Gaga has been my favorite concert so far. It was her 2010 The Monster Ball Tour, and it was like watching a musical theater show rather than a concert. That Lady put a tremendous amount of thought into every part of that concert, and she has all my respect.

Favorite Book? I don't know this counts but I'm still in the middle of reading The Silence of the Lambs, and it has been my favorite book so far. Clarice and Hannibal are much more sassier in the book than they are in the movie. I wish they kept some elements of the book in the movie like Hannibal reading Italian Vogue.

Favorite Movie? I'll never get tired of watching Scream. The sequels are great and all, but the first movie really has a way with balancing wit and terror. The opening scene with Drew Barrymore never fails to make me squirm. I also have a great admiration for Sidney Prescott's over-sized sweaters, and most of my wardrobe is based off her style, if I'm being completely honest.

Favorite TV Show? The serious side of me wants to say Six Feet Under but really, the first two seasons of Grey's Anatomy were absolute gold. Seattle Grace is probably the most unethical and dangerous hospital ever but it made for some over-the-top, dramatic material. Nothing can top a bomb being lodged into a patient with a surgeon's hand stuck in the patient's wound.

Pets? I have two dogs, Dash and Dakota, and two cats, Molly and Nellie. My dogs are adorable but my cats are the biggest weirdos I know. Nellie is one of the only cats I know that loves swimming, and Molly will start to drool on you if she starts purring.

Foods I Crave? Besides wanting to eat a Big Mac at any moment in the day, sunflower seeds are the major food I crave. I used to eat them every day when I was younger whenever I watched a show or movie. I've cut my habit back a bit recently, but I still crave them the most. I think I had to stop mostly due to me being so messy with the seed shells.

People I Admire? Jenny Slate is definitely the comedian that I admire the most right now. I've always loved that she's unapologetically silly with the way she approaches comedy. One of my favorite videos on YouTube is Jenny Slate describing the time she was way too stoned during her astronomy class in college. Her writing and acting style is so carefree and goofy, so naturally I look up to her.

Dream Role? I've always wanted to have a role where I wake up in bed during a nightmare and start screaming. I feel like shooting those scenes must be ridiculously fun. That role, or be the person that Jason Bourne pushes out of the way during an action sequence. Basically, I would love to play a very dramatic extra with a maximum of two lines.

Favorite Song to Sing? I catch myself singing "Work It" by Missy Elliott on a daily basis. If I'm in the middle of a conversation and someone says, "Is it worth it?" I have to resist the overwhelming urge to bust out into full Missy mode. Each verse of that song is so witty and catchy that I can't help myself from finding a way to incorporate it into daily conversations.

Good First Date Idea? Rock climbing, for sure. What better way to start off getting to know someone than by watching them get exhausted after 10 minutes of climbing a wall? Afterwards, you can gab about how fun it looked but how hard it was.