While Hari Kondabolu might be this generation’s greatest political comedian and Nikki Glaser is who you go to if you like it dirty, when you’re craving pure, goofy fun, look no further than Maggie Faris, who just released her second album, A Dingus Among Us, on Audible.
Faris isn’t afraid to let you know where she stands politically (surprise, she didn’t vote for Donald Trump) and she doesn’t shy away from adult themes (her last album was called Hot Lesbo Action) but it’s all tied together by a fun, silly energy that makes it feel like you’re hanging out with your best friend. Her new album is full of clever wordplay, wacky stories, and Faris’ joy of doing what she loves, which shines bright enough to infect the entire audience.
The Minneapolis-based comedian took some time to talk to the Daily Dot via email about her new album and her love of comedy.
Daily Dot: A lot of great comedians seem to come out of Minnesota. What is it about that state that makes people funny?
Maggie Faris: You have to be creative and think of fun stuff to do or the winters will kill you. They get long, cold, and depressing so a lot of people think of fun stuff to do to pass the time. See winter carnival, ice palace, snow sculptures, etc. Honestly, I really don’t know. There are a lot of creative and funny people here that seem to nurture the same in others.
DD: The style you’ve developed involves a lot of fun wordplay and general silliness. Do you think that’s a thing people are especially craving at this point in history?
MF: I think we are at such a strange point in history and we are bombarded with information and humor about what’s going on in the world that I sometimes feel it’s my job to let everyone forget about that stuff and just enjoy and come together on silliness. We get so divided on political issues and filled with rage and hate and anger that it’s nice to let that go for an hour or so and just have fun and relax and maybe have a smile at someone. You could be at home arguing with on social media.
DD: You’ve gotten to do some sports announcing in the past few years. How did that come about and what was the experience like?
MF I was the PA announcer for the St. Paul Saints baseball team for a very short time. They had a comedy contest to pick their next announcer and I won it. I found the games to be a lot of fun to announce for. I had to keep in mind my audience was family-oriented, meaning very PG. I prefer to tell jokes to grown-ups. I really enjoyed doing it though and learned a LOT about baseball announcing and commentating.
DD: “Dingus” is such a specific word, where did you pick it up?
MF: I’ve just heard various people say it here and there and I found it to be such a fun word to say that I started using it all the time. I just think of it as a general word for someone who is kind of a dork or silly or goofball. That pretty much describes me in a nutshell.
DD: How do you think you’ve changed as a comedian since your first album, Hot Lesbo Action?
MF: I’ve been doing comedy for 18 years now and I just feel like I’m starting to hit a stride where I can talk about all the things I really want to talk about and keep it fun and interesting. It’s funny because a few of the bits in this album were written before Hot Lesbo Action, so some of it has absolutely no evolution. This album is kind of a mix up of jokes splatted together. I’m actually about halfway done with my next album, which will be closer to one continuous story, which is something that’s very new to me but I’m finding very fun to work on.
DD: You make fun of your mother a bit on the new album. Has she heard it and, if so, what does she think?
MF: Oh yes. She’s heard all the jokes. She loves them. She loves when I talk about her. The story about when she walks into a coffee shop is real and she always gets a kick out of it when she hears it again because it’s so real to her and so true. If she didn’t like it, I wouldn’t tell them. I can’t even get into the stuff I’ve left out!
DD: Are you doing much touring now that the album is out? How do you like being on the road?
MF: I’m on the road some but prefer to work in town if I’m able. There are a ton of great venues right here in the Twin Cities and I’m always trying to get booked locally as often as possible. I have a hard time being on the road a lot. I miss home too much. But there are certain clubs I will definitely travel for.
DD: What makes comedy the best job in the world?
MF: It’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done. I think being on stage and making a crowd of people laugh at the same time is one of my most favorite things in the world. It’s just a rush. I also love the evolution of joke writing. Just thinking of a concept and working it over and over again on stage until it is this polished treasure is just magical to me.
DD: What makes it the worst job in the world?
MF: Sometimes you get a lot of dumb people who may say or do dumb things and then it’s not as fun. Also, like I said earlier, the traveling is really hard. I get tired and miss home. It’s also hard to find your audience. I have this idea about having enough followers to get really great consistent work all the time and yet I have no desire to be famous. I want to stay in Minnesota forever and stay just under the radar but still write jokes and perform. I’m pretty much to that point but I think as a performer it’s easy to always want more and not be happy where you’re at. Mostly I try to forget all of that and just have fun.
DD: Do you remember what your first time on stage was like?
MF: Yes. I had a confidence I should not have had. I had no idea what I was doing and just made an ass of myself. I remember I cried afterward and it took me about six months to ever try again. I don’t even know why I did try again because the first time was so bad. Not only did I not get ANY laughs, I got groans. I was terrible.
DD: What would always make you laugh as a kid?
MF: Saturday Night Live made me laugh. I watched that and the Carol Burnett Show. I also remember watching Eddie Murphy over and over and over again and listening to cassette tapes of Cheech and Chong. I also had this series of terrible joke books called Truly Tasteless Jokes which are just awful stereotypes and horrible street jokes that I would hide and read all the time. I had no idea what half of the jokes meant but I would memorize them and tell them to people.
DD: What makes you laugh most in your day-to -day life now?
MF: My friends. My dogs. My fiancé. My family. I love play. Anything involving play or just goofing around makes me laugh. I like people like Maria Bamford, Amy Sedaris, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy. I like shows like Portlandia. I hate to admit it but I love the show Practical Jokers. I’m always laughing out loud at the stupid stuff they do.