Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.
This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Bobbie Oliver. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been quite a boys’ game lately here in Stand Up Tuesdays, as it seems that each week I present to you yet another hilarious male comedian. Fear not, my laugh-loving ladies…for this week, I’m thrilled to share with you one of my favorite funny females in Los Angeles-based comedienne Bobbie Oliver.
A native of Athens, Georgia, Oliver left the east coast for L.A. in 1998, where she founded the famous StandUp Academy at the Ice House Comedy Club and has been making audiences buckle over in laughter ever since. Oliver’s newest CD, Finally! , was released back in February and offers audiences an hour-long journey through the mind of my new favorite southern belle.
Oliver makes no apologies for what makes her who she is – born into a poor southern family, she grew up sharing a two-bedroom trailer with her family of seven, her brother’s been in prison, and her sister is known to steal prescription pads from her doctor. Just in case you fear there’s no family quite as dysfunctional as yours, Oliver immediately puts you at ease by sharing some of her history.
“I moved here because I had a dream. My dream was to get the hell away from my family.”
Oliver’s accolades include winning the Hollywood Ha-Ha Festival and the L.A. Soup-or-Bowl of Comedy, and she’s been featured on TNN, The Style Network, Entertainers with Byron Allen, at The Riviera in Las Vegas, The Ice House Comedy Club, Flappers, The Improv, The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, The Comedy Store and many clubs, colleges and corporate events, including NASA, USC and congressional fundraisers. Oliver is scheduled to release her first book, The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause, later in 2012.
One might expect a comedienne who has taken on a role in the education of comedy to be somewhat snooty – looking down upon her audience and perhaps thinking less of them if a joke does not work. That’s not at all what you’ll get with Oliver, however, as her southern upbringing and life experiences have created instead a warm, talented, and knowledgeable talent who knows exactly what works, and what does not.
“Every single one of them [Oliver’s lady friends] said when they were growing up, their mother read their diary. One was like, ‘My mother read my diary and she found out I wasn’t a virgin anymore.’ If my mother read my diary she’d find out I existed.”
Oliver has been in the comedy game for a long time, something that clearly shows in her act as she expertly avoids common pitfalls often found with younger comedians. She’s sassy and sharp-witted without offending (well, unless you happen to be related to her, then you might feel slighted), and doesn’t need to rely on vulgarity for easy laughs. That’s not very surprising when you consider the comedic gold Oliver’s had to work with all her life.
“My daddy recently heard me say I was from a trailer park. He goes, ‘You are not from a trailer park; we owned our trailer and the land,’” Oliver quips. “I guess I should have told that to the bullies who kicked my ass at the bus stop every morning.”
Perhaps it’s Oliver’s life reflecting certain aspects of my own (some close to me know of the rarely-spoken-of backwoods Mississippi trailer that belonged to my grandmother), but I immediately felt connected to the comedienne and her material upon listening to Finally! Oliver tells it like it is, feeling no need to sugar coat or hold back on her thoughts – all the while consistently capturing her audience’s attention and providing an hour of solid, hilarious comedy.