If acting is a journey toward mindfulness, then stand-up comedy is an effort akin with thinking out loud and screaming your thoughts.
From the many years that I studied live performance, it was drilled into my head by mentors and peers alike that I need to be a zen warrior, devoid of anxiety and channeling peace with every movement.
But after speaking with renowned NYC comedian Liz Miele, it’s become clear that nerves of steel aren’t always your friend and nervousness can be the edge in a person’s set.
Born and raised just a half hour from my own borough in Jersey, Liz Miele is the stand-up comic who’s taken this laughing matter seriously since she was a teen sneaking in and getting kicked out of New York’s most tried-and-true comedy stages.
Raised by occasionally neurotic Jersey Italian parents and going through the K-12 system as a dyslexic person, Miele has developed a personal take on comedy that skews societal niceties for unhinged authenticity and echoes Mitch Hedberg.
“In school, I could’ve been called a slow thinker, but I was also creative. School didn’t foster or nurture my dyslexia, but outside of academia, it’s been such an asset.” Miele says.
Offstage, Miele regards herself as a pretty straight-laced person. But onstage, all of her unique “baggage” is ammunition for outbursts of laughter and sporadic panic.
From sex with “couches” to the abundant courtesy of London’s crime world to even saving the life of an armadillo, Miele takes what originally seems like a normal world and injects a degree of nervous bravery that subverts it greatly.
In the heyday of Channel Frederator and independent cartooning, Miele was the producer of “Damaged,” an animated series about an anxious pre-teen robot realizing she’s not human.
“I’ve been hearing great jokes about what happened. But for me, it’s been a bit tough trying to make the same pro-choice jokes I’ve made.” Miele confesses.
“I’m still trying to stay calm in the real world while embracing the ‘crazy’ onstage.”
Miele is the entertainer I wish I’d known back in my teens. She’s nervous, anxious and claws at the walls with an intense yet relatable fervor.
But she uses that ticking time bomb to view the world in her own original context.
Liz Miele hits the DC Improv stage on July 27 for one-night only.