Sunday, August 28, 2011

Comedienne Frannie Sheridan

 Frannie Sheridan
Frannie Sheridan defines herself as a Femedienne: 
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A Feminine comedienne who appeals to both men and women.

A Café Comic. 

Entertaining audiences with an uproarious compendium 
of relevant topics associated with the art of stand-up comedy.

Frannie keeps crowds laughing and coming back for more 
without having to resort to cursing or attack humor. 

While stand-up comedy has historically been 
a masculine-dominated craft, 
Frannie's interwoven a gentler touch that 
delights audiences everywhere she performs. 
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MY INTERVIEW WITH FRANNIE: 


STARTING OUT:

Q1.  How did you get into comedy? 


Frannie:  I had a voice in my head that said, "Be Yourself. Tell your own stories."  Also, I entered university ahead of my peers at the age of 15, majoring in theater. I auditioned for and completed various additional training activities in theater and film, but always returned to that inner "comedic" voice. 

Q2.  What was your first experience as a comedienne? 

Frannie:  I didn't really know what stand-up technique was all about, so I performed characters onstage. I was a French opera singer addicted to whipped cream, which I hid in my purse, periodically spraying it into my mouth "taking a hit", only to turn around and immediately deny having done so. Another character I enjoyed was a bag lady who instead of hiding whipped cream, hid raw chicken, which admittedly, I ate (fortunately, I never contracted a case of salmonella doing so). Club managers and coaches applauded my originality and helped me work toward stardom. 


Q3.  When did you first start getting paid? 


Frannie:  Within 8 months of starting my career, I was offered $500 to perform a 3-minute routine before a crowd of 1000 people at a corporate gig. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite ready for the size of the audience. 


Q4: Tell us about your first big break? 


Frannie: After touring as an opening act in '96, I was approached by a theater producer to perform a dramatic solo show in a festival he was producing. I wrote and performed a show about my family, which immediately won me international exposure and attracted a legendary Hollywood director to read a screenplay I wrote about my life, which he was interested in directing. 


THE ART OF BEING A COMEDIENNE

Q5. Is there a central theme inherent in your humor? 


Frannie:  Surviving negativity. 


Q6. Who are your favorite comedians/comediennes? 


Frannie:  Richard Lewis and Rita Rudner.  I see myself as a cross between the two. I LOVE Richard's tortured struggle and his neurotic funny way of dealing with it, but I'm not as tortured as him.  I LOVE Rita's clever writing and femininity. I am not a big fan of the majority of club and television comedians who resort to cursing and aggressive put-downs (I prefer clever sarcasm). I enjoy comedians who make me laugh and simultaneously lift my spirits, as opposed to leaving me feeling like I just need a shower! 


Q7.  What do you aspire to achieve as a comedienne? 


Frannie:  I want to help pave the way for female comediennes over the age of 30 who want to create a more feminine, yet just as funny, comedy routine. Bill Cosbyetta as opposed to Howard Sternetta.  Tina Fey writes in her book, "Bossypants," about how the majority of comedy writers on Television are men - Jon Stewart doesn't have one female writer, etc. The majority of women are over 50 years old and I believe hungry for female comedy that doesn't yet exist on television! 


TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ACT

Q8.  Do you read books on humor? 


Frannie:  Yes! I read humor books, joke books, and books on humor (in general). 


Q9.  Do you keep joke records? 


Frannie:  Yes! I've got zillions of jokes, so many that I quit counting! 


Q10.  How did you come up with material for your act? 


Frannie:  I'm writing and thinking non-stop. Everything inspires me. 


Q11.  How often to you revise your act? 


Frannie: It's a never-ending process. 


YOUR UNIQUE SENSE OF HUMOR

Q12. Name a few of your favorite movies? 


Frannie:  Many of my favorites are dramas. Stories that are well-written appeal to my appreciation of the craft. Something that offers excellent acting and direction is always a treat. Double-Jeopardy, for example, offers many of these outstanding qualities...but I always loved Chaplin films (which I grew-up watching). 


Q13.  Are you active on Facebook and other social networking sites? 


Frannie:  Yes, I tweet here and there but more twat ;)


Q14.  Do you teach humor or related comedy classes? 


Frannie:  Yes. I teach now primarily by example. 

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FIELD OF HUMOR


Q15.  How has humor changed since you first started your career? 


Frannie:  I am sad to say that the club scene has gotten pretty "grotty"! It was always an attack venue, but nowadays, I see comedians and audience members literally beat each other up!  It's that attack humor that seems more prevalent. While I enjoyed Richard Lewis at a club last year, I only went because it was he who was headlining. His brilliance and professionalism set a higher standard and a different tone for the audience. 


I also LOVE that more women are involved in comedy, but we're still a HUGE minority. I believe this can and will change once we create different parameters for comedy that includes women artists. Historically, I've been one of the few hetrosexual comediennes. While that's changing, as well as political humor, there's still a long road ahead of women in comedy. 


Q16.  Have you noticed any trends in comedy? 


Frannie:  Many more political humorists have come on the scene. 


Q17.  What do you think about humor therapy and laughing yoga, or other forms of comedy for mind/body-healing purposes? 


Frannie:  I think humor therapy is brilliant!  I've considered becoming a humor therapist and employing it in my practice, but it would take me off my present career track. While I've never personally participated in laughing yoga, I think the idea is equally brilliant. 


CERTIFICATIONS, AWARDS, HONORS


Q18.  Tell us more about your related humor studies? 


Frannie:  SUNY @ Oswego.  I majored in Theater. George Brown College in Toronto, continuing theater courses. I auditioned for and was accepted into the professional training programs in Second City, Toronto and The Groundlings, Los Angeles. I also took Judy Carter's comedy Workshops in Vancouver, L.A. and Big Bear. 


I have also received numerous mayoral awards for my dramatic show, which had dark humor interwoven into it. 

My continuing education includes film studies, comedy clubs, joke books, humor studies, play therapy, humor therapy, etc. It's just who I am and what I do, 24/7. 


Q19.  What concept has influenced your act the most? 


Frannie:  Personally, tackling terror and fear, which I have done for 12 years in my solo dramatic shows. The Waltonsteins, Confessions of a Jewish Shiksa, Dancing on Hitler's Grave, are just a few. 

THE POWER OF HUMOR AND POSITIVITY

Q20.  Do you believe comedy can change the world? 


Frannie:  Yes! Comedy and positivity both. 

Q21.  Do you believe humor can heal? 

Frannie:  Without a doubt! 


Q22.  Do you believe in talking unicorns? 


Frannie:  If I didn't, I'd need to be medicated! 


Q23.  Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? 


Frannie:  Yes. And I still do! ;) 


Q24.  Do you believe there's a higher power involved in our recognition of humor? (Be that spiritual, biological, or physical). 


Frannie:  Yes. I believe it's the level of humor - the intention behind humor where the power lies - bringing about laughter, not defensiveness from being under attack. 


Q25.  Should the U.S. Government have an official Secretary of Humor post? Whom would you vote for? 


Frannie:  Undoubtedly!  As well as a Department of Menstruation... Of course, I'd vote for ME! 


WHERE CAN PEOPLE SEE YOUR ACT 


Q26.  Tell us more about your act. 


Frannie:  I've appeared in a smattering of Indies, a plethora of commercials, and quite a few television episodes.  I have written for TV and film both, and of course, there's always my live shows. I also have some journalistic credits to my name. The audio documentary, The Waltonsteins, first aired nationally in CBC, then twice on NPR, and received The Gabriel Award. 

I have collaborated with other comedians and enjoy running jokes by each other. 

For more information on my ongoing bookings, please visit my website at: 

http://franniesheridan.com/


FINAL QUESTIONS  



1. As a professional in the field of comedy, how did it feel the first time you made someone laugh? 



Frannie:  Like I'd won the war. 


2. What advice would you give someone entering the field of comedy today? 


Frannie:  Hang on, it's gonna be a bumpy ride, but it's well worth it.  Surround yourself with people who want to build you up, rather than tear you apart. Make sure to be supportive of those around you as opposed to jealous and fearful.  


All attitudes take the same amount of energy to feel and deliver, but the world really needs us to realize that there's enough positivity to go around for all of us, plus, in my opinion, you look so much more attractive when you're happy. 


Share the limelight - everyone looks better in a positive shade than drowned in a shade of jealous green envy.




Thank you, Frannie, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your unique perspectives on humor! 



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