by Ryan Meehan
A fixture of the LA comedy scene, Esther Povitsky co-created and starred in the MTV docu-comedy pilot “Little Esther,” which chronicled her life as a young comic and her relationships with her mostly-male contemporaries. Esther hosts the popular podcast “Weird Adults with Little Esther” (featuring interviews with fellow comedians) and has a vibrant web presence. Esther has made guest appearances on Fox’s “New Girl” as well as NBC’s hit “Parks and Recreation”. Esther can be seen on the MTV sketch show “Hey Girl”, as well as on Comedy Central’s “Adam Devine’s House Party” and “Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! Additionally, she was cool enough to be our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How did you get involved with the Deathsquad Podcast Network and how many shows on that channel are you currently a part of? What is it about the podcast format/medium that you like so much?
EP: I shot a video with Sam Tripoli a few years ago for his monthly comedy show The Naughty Show, and it got us a lot of attention because it was so crazy, and I was invited to be on The Joe Rogan podcast. This was before there was a deathsquad network. I’d have to ask Brian but I think The Brody Stevens Experiment or Little Esther’s Piecast were the PIEoneers 😉 of the network. There was no network yet, it was just Brian messing around trying to develop new shows. It’s had so many evolutions since then. Now I appear on the Friday night Ice House shows when I can, and I have my own podcast with Feral Audio called “Weird Adults” which is similar to my Piecast, mostly because both of my shows never really had a format.
RM: What was the first joke that you ever told on stage? What was the rest of your set like that night and how nervous were you? How did your comedy training at Second City and The Groundlings give you the confidence to be completely comforatble doing standup?
EP: I do not remember the first joke I told or wrote but the first time I did stand up was in college right around the 2008 presidential election so I was making a lot of dumb Sarah Palin and black president jokes. I didn’t start getting attention at open mics until I started to impersonate Sarah Palin. But that might just have been because people thought I was a drunk brunette with glasses that they could have sex with.
RM: Most recently you have appeared on two Comedy Central shows: “Adam Devine’s House Party” and “Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!” What did you take away from those experiences as a comedian? Are both of those guys really as animated (or “on”) as they seem on television?
EP: They are both amazing! I had such an incredible time shooting both of those shows. Although shooting with Brody never felt like I was working on a TV show, it was always just Brody and I hanging out. I wish they would have filmed us when I used to take him grocery shopping or when we were in Montreal for the comedy festival last summer. He asked me to pretend we were dating and we just walked around all the parties holding hands seeing if anyone would notice us (they did not). As for House Party, Adam was so fun to hang with. The show had such a familial vibe because the whole crew was the same crew from Workaholics. Ders and Blake would just show up randomly throughout shooting just to hang out and have fun with everyone. They are a great group.
RM: What is it about The Ice House in Pasadena that all California comics seem to be gravitate towards? What are some of the stories have you told on the IH Chronicles podcast?
EP: I think all comics just naturally gravitate to any comedy club that will give them stage time. I don’t think any comedy club being nicer or having better crowds, or being newer really makes much of a difference. We all just want to take the path of least resistance to more and more stage time.
RM: According to a couple of different sources that I’ve read, In 2012 you turned down an offer from MTV to do a reality show based on your life as a comedian because you “felt the series would be too invasive”. Was that the only reason you declined to participate? How many days a week would you have had a camera crew following you around?
EP: Well actually, this was only true for a couple months, because I WAS offered to do a reality show SEVERAL times and turned it down repeatedly. However, I finally came around months later to do the show once I was given the creative control I wanted (or so I thought…) We ended up shooting two different reality pilots and the network passed on them. The president of MTV told me I wasn’t enough of a “girl’s girl” and they weren’t going to put the show on the air. After the whole year long process I was pretty distraught that they didn’t pick up the show (mostly because I was broke) and because getting to work with all my friends was going to be really fun. But now I am very happy that the show didn’t happen. It would have changed my life forever in a very drastic way and it would have been the wrong project for me.
RM: You had a pretty scary situation happen to you a while back where a man from Belgium travelled all the way to Los Angeles to meet you after sending you emails for quite some time. Have you been able to work any of the things that happened during that period into your act (or any other creative outlet) or is the whole thing simply too dark for comedy? Do you think that technology has made it more dangerous for celebrities to have a personal life where they feel safe and away from the types of crazy people that would do that?
EP: It’s not uncommon for female comedians to be in situations like these. I have the personality of a paranoid conspiracy theorist so I take things like these very seriously.
RM: What’s your approach towards handling hecklers? Other than drinking to excess, what do you think prompts an audience member to heckle during a comedy show?
EP: Hecklers are usually just bored, lonely, alcoholic losers. For the most part I never have to deal with them because due to public humiliation and my previous statement, hecklers are a dying breed.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
EP: Just wrapped the shoot for my digital MTV series that is going to be on MTVother.com once its edited and ready to go! I will post to twitter and Facebook when that time comes! It’s the first thing I’ve ever gotten to create and produce 100% on my own, so I’m pretty excited for everyone to see how weird, and potentially mentally ill I am.
Esther on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ComedianEsther
Esther on Twitter: https://twitter.com/littleesther
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