Natalie Starnes

Comedy Centerfold: Natalie Starnes

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. Natalie Starnes

Natalie Starnes has a petite frame for a former powerlifter. In 1988, she competed in the 48 kg category at the world championship in Brussels, Belgium. She lost to Vuokko Viitasaari and decided to pursue another career, one that wasn't so hard on her back. That's when she opened a shelter for red pandas, helping boost their population. After saving one species, she decided to save another and went into the fashion world where she works as a stylist. When she's not styling, she performs at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) in the troupe Just the Cutest Thing and works at the bar, where she was named 2015 Best Bar Staff by the DCH community. From powerlifting to panda saving to pouring drinks, Natalie does it all with class, humor, and pizzazz.

Hometown? Grapevine, Texas. Me, Cody Tidmore, Grant Redmond, and Christian Hughes all went to the same high school and graduated the same year. We weren't friends, though. I was a scene artsy kid with so many emotions. Though Christian and I did go on a two-week trip through Europe with our German class. Ben Pfeiffer also graduated from our high school!

Guilty Pleasures? I sorta live by the motto "Treat yo self," so nothing is really a guilty pleasure. Probably HGTV marathons, clothes from Korea, and scratch-offs and lotto tickets.

Ambitions? Comedy wise, just keep growing as a player and be in more troupes. I have a crazy work schedule, so it really cuts into my comedy time :(.

As life-wise, I want to start my own business one day. I work as a stylist right now for a company, but it would be so nice just to be my own boss. I want to open a store called Oi Vae and you could come in and make your own essential oil mixes, bath bombs, and what not. I have the bathing habits of Margo Tenenbaum so I feel like I would know what people want as far as bath needs go.

Best Concert? Probably Death Cab for Cutie. I was 17, and they were touring for Plans. I was young and super emotional, and I felt like they really got what a white suburban girl was going through. They also had had a big light-up cabin behind them while they played, and The Cribs opened for them, who I also really enjoyed.

Favorite Book? The Story of Ferdinand and Where the Wild Things Are. I know they are children books, but I can vividly remember reading them as a child. I am a only child so I read a lot when I was younger.

Favorite Movie? Uncle Buck. I like others, but I used to watch this over and over when I was a kid and I still watch it now. My favorite part is when John Candy is wrestling with a cat and yells, "WHO LET THE CAT OUTSIDE?!?!" and one of the kids yells back, "WE DON'T HAVE A CAT!!" Then they lock him outside. Tommy Boy is other movie I could watch over and over. Chris Farley and that bread roll scene, ugh giggles for days. Also I love Mean Girls, because the whole movie is just one big quote along.

Favorite TV Show? The IT Crowd. Richard Ayoade is my ultimate dream man. Garth Marenghi's Darkplace—one of my gay boyfriends was really into British Comedy and that is how I really got into it. 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, BoJack Horseman, Bob's Burgers, Arrested Devlopment, etc. I tried watching Master of None and to be honest I just couldn't get into it.

Pets? Max, a seven-month hot mess rat terrier mix puppy. I got him from the shelter in October and kept his name because it was the lead character in Where the Wild Things Are. Gilly, a eight-year old lady Chihuahua. My mom got Gilly off of Craigslist, and she is named Gilly from Kristen Wiig's character. Combined they weigh 10 lbs.

Foods I Crave? Mexican food all the time! And sweets! I have the biggest sweet tooth! I can't have chocolate, though, because it gives me migraines.

People I Admire? Far as comedy wise, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Richard Ayoade. As DCH, Amanda because of what community she has created and she is just a boss. Sarah Wyatt for sure. She has been there when I have doubted myself. When I perform, I always just want to make her proud. When I have a show and I can hear her laugh, I know it is all good. Jerrell—he is my best friend and he just has what Oprah calls the "it factor." So much talent and cheek bones.

As for personal people I admire, my mom hands down. She raised me and is my biggest cheerleader and just a real, strong, independent woman.

Dream Role? Playing Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's daughter in a rom-com where they are a lesbian couple. Dolly Parton makes a cameo as a crazy aunt or godmother.

Favorite Song to Sing? "Heartbreaker" by Mariah Carey. Or some T-Swift. I feel like we have dated the same dudes. She just beat me to the punch on writing about it.

Good First Date Idea? Couples therapy, funeral home to pick out some matching caskets, visiting each others childhood homes....I don't know, I'm really bad at dating.

Tommy’s Taco Thursday: We Went to There—Tacolandia

Tacolandia Team Tacolandia the reality – the people were great, the weather was great, the music was a dominating force. I wonder if playing dance music extremely loud aids in digestion, because Team Tacolandia put down at least 15 tacos each, but surely no more than 20. It was amazing. VIPs entered an hour early and enjoyed zero lines (except for the alcohol line – which was just a trap to distract you from tacos). We spent an hour engulfing taco after taco. I’d say the highlights of the day for me was a carrot habanero sauce offered by Iron Cactus and a corn tortilla with cheese crisped on top (before layering on the meat and sauce) from Come Taco.

Alas, in a sea of tacos with cabbage slaw, grilled pineapple, grilled mango, and other gourmet accoutrements, I found two tacos worth noting. Let’s start with the best of the fancy tacos. The Taco Diner tent wins the prize for the best energy. The crew was bumping and grinding with the taco hunters. There were Dos Eques “rosaries” being tossed around and an inter-diner taco competition between a brisket taco that was pretty simple and chewy. This poor brisket taco got CRUSHED by the chicken and waffle taco. We’re talking warm corn tortilla with lightly breaded fried chicken breast pieces and a sweet maple cream sauce. So delicious! Highly recommend. I’m not sure if these mommasitas are on the Taco Diner menu, but if they are, get up on 'em.

Tacolandia VIPHere comes the champ. Most tents had little warmers and crock pots. Some tents had sterno canisters and chaffing dishes. For the most part, the workers would layout little black Styrofoam and carefully build tasty taco towers atop. Not at la tienda de La Banqueta! La Banqueta had a flattop grill. On the left side of the grill, piled high was about 10 pounds of chicken and on the right was about the same of beef. In the center were tortillas. As you approached the tent, the server would bare hand a couple of tortillas and use the tortilla to grab a handful of your choice of meat. These tacos were so hot, so fresh, and they had minced cilantro, onion, and some lime wedges for you. They had creamy, green salsa verde and a red salsa on ice. Boom! La Banqueta: Simple tacos done to perfection. And they had my heart and soul at Tacolandia. Also, their business card looks like an early Snoop Dogg album. Double bonus, turns out, La Banqueta is just a few minutes from my house. (And just like that, my property value doubled.)

Just as they let the general public into Tacolandia, I and my team were stuffed and ready to leave. Lines were forming, and it became clear that going VIP was a great idea. We were riding Ubers into the sunset before the little people had reached the front of their first line. I heard horror stories of people only getting to eat five or six tacos because of the lines. We ruled the day! We ruled Tacolandia!

Tommy Lee Brown teaches and performs at Dallas Comedy House. He is your man on the street, determined to eat. He is the belly of the city. No taco is too small or too commercial. He will eat it all, and tell you all about it. Direct taco related questions to