As part of We Own The Laughs.com’s Comedian of the Day, have a few laughs and get to know comedian Heather Winter. The Cleveland, OH native shares some of her favorite moments in stand-up comedy and lets us know how she always owns the laughs.
Name: Heather Winter
Hometown: Clevland, OH/Los Angeles, CA
Years in Comedy: 10
Haven’t we seen you somewhere before: “Big Girl Confidence” Comedy Special on Youtube, Average Joe Web Series on Youtube
Comedic Influences: Jessica Kirson, Iliza Shlesinger, & Rachel Feinstein
Favorite Comedy Album: Eddie Murphy “Comedian”
Favorite Comedy Special: Ellen Dengenerous “Here And Now”
Favorite Comedy Movie: Superstar
Favorite Comedy TV Show: Portlandia
Favorite Comedic Character: Toni & Candice (Portlandia)
Favorite City to Perform In: San Diego, CA
Favorite Topics to Joke About: Myself
Favorite Type of Audience for a Comedy Show: An audience that is ready to laugh and is like 2 drinks in.
Favorite Comedy Club: The Comedy Store
How did you discover your passion for comedy:
I have always loved comedy and was always the “funny one” of the group but I really discovered my passion for comedy when I moved to California in 2011 to pursue acting and my aunt told me that I should perform stand-up because it looks good on an acting resume. I found the closest place to my house to try it out and fell in love.
What do you remember most about your first time performing stand-up comedy:
What I remember most about my first time performing stand-up is that I really loved the feeling of people laughing at what I said. Also that I really needed to memorize my set!
How would you describe your comedic style:
My comedic style is more along the lines of a storyteller. I like to tell stories but throw in jokes all along the way. I also love crowd work so I always work that into my sets.
Describe your process for comedic writing:
My process for comedic writing is kind of unorthodox. All-day long my mind is analyzing everything to see if there is a bit that I could get out of it. So all day I write down little ideas and thoughts to only then sit down later in the day and see if there is anything I can use. Then I take that to an open mic and see what it sounds like out loud…most of the time it sounds pretty nuts (Laughs)
Describe the comedy scene in your area:
The comedy scene in my area is kind of like high school. There are little cliques in different parts of the city and the people in those cliques kind of only associate with themselves but are also friends with people in other cliques. The popular kids are definitely the paid regulars at all the clubs haha. Its a fun scene but very very intimidating because of the number of people who are doing stand-up but also the pressure of it being Los Angeles.
How do you judge success in the world of comedy:
I judge success in comedy by laughs and talent. In this day and age, it seems that a lot of success is judged by how many followers you have on social media but to me, in comedy, if you have the talent to get people to really laugh with you and you can write relatable material but can also adjust yourself to perform for any type of crowd then that is success to me. Also with comedy, the longer you put in work and stick with it, I think that’s kind of a small personal level of success.
Who are some of your comedic peers that you enjoy watching perform or inspire you personally and professionally:
Some peers that I enjoy watching are Iliza Shlesinger, Bill Burr, Maria Bamford, Dave Chappelle, Jessica Kirson, Taylor Tomlinson, Rachel Feinstein, and Jamie Kennedy to name a few. They also inspire me professionally because they all are such hustlers in the game and they have relatable and hilarious comedy.
What’s been your most memorable moment in comedy:
My most memorable moment in comedy so far has got to be putting out my first comedy special on Youtube by Funny Media Group. Having a special out whether it’s on Netflix or Youtube, I think, is a great way to show that you have really been putting in work and are dedicated to the craft.
What have you learned most from your failures in comedy:
What I have learned most from my failures in comedy is that not everyone is going to like you but it’s not personal. Sometimes your comedy just doesn’t work for some people and that is ok.
How do people react towards you when they realize that you can make people laugh:
I think this question depends on the situation because in everyday life when I tell people I am a comedian they usually respond with “I could totally tell” which is kind of funny to me because I don’t know if I have ever met someone and thought…I wonder if they are a comedian. But if the situation is at a comedy show and I meet other comics who haven’t seen my set before and they see I can make people laugh its a surprising reaction sometimes I think because people don’t really expect women to be funny I guess.
Describe what it’s been like building a career in stand-up comedy:
Building a career in stand-up is a hard hard road. You have to grind every day, write every day, go to open mics every chance you can, network, and do your best on every show all with the hopes that the right person will see you at the right time. You don’t get paid for most of the things you do when you start off so you also have to figure out a way to survive. It is mentally exhausting but it is also mentally rewarding. People often forget all of the work it takes to be a stand-up comedian. They think you are just a “funny person” and you just get on stage and talk but it’s so much more than that. A 5-minute set could take a year to polish. It’s a career that you have to be mentally prepared for and it has to be a career you love.
If you could change one thing in the world of comedy, what would it be:
If I could change one thing in the world of comedy, it would have to be that your talent is judged by what you do on stage, not by the number of followers you can get on social media. Like how it used to be before Instagram and Tik Tok.
Best advice you’ve ever received from a comedian:
I think the best advice I ever received from a comedian is from Kevin Nealon. I took an improv class at The Groundlings and Kevin’s wife Susan Yeagley and said if I ever needed advice from Kevin to email her and she will ask him for me. So I was just starting out with stand-up and I didn’t know where to start. So I googled where to start stand-up comedy and all these classes popped up. They would teach you how to “be funny,” they said. So the next day I emailed Susan and asked her if she could ask Kevin what stand-up class he thought was the best. She emailed back and said, “Kevin said do not take a stand-up class. No one can teach you how to be funny.”. It seems trivial now but it really stuck with me and I think I wouldn’t be the comic I am today had I not learned the way I did.
If you were releasing a comedy special this week, what would it be called:
Well, I did just release a special a few weeks ago and I love the title I picked out. It’s called “Big Girl Confidence”.
Funniest encounter you’ve ever had with a celebrity:
I don’t know if this is the funniest encounter I’ve ever had with a celebrity but it’s definitely one of the most memorable. I was performing at The Comedy Store and I met the late Bob Saget in the green room of the main stage and he was so funny and nice. I asked him for a photo and when I was going to take it he took my phone and said “ Here let me take it I am great at selfies” and then he walked on stage and crushed his set. It was awesome.
Weirdest place you’ve ever performed any form of comedy:
Oh, this one is tough because I’ve performed in some weird places. But if I had to pick the weirdest place I’ve ever performed comedy at it would have to be at the landlord of my apartment building’s backyard of his huge house. He asked me to come to perform like 30 minutes at his house for him and like 8 of his friends. I got there and they didn’t have a mic or anything. I ended up using their kid’s karaoke mic and it was not great. But I did my best and it was an interesting story, to say the least.
A Heather Winter Fun Fact:
I got some interesting ones but a good one is that “Air Force Ones” by Nelly & The St. Lunatics is my go-to karaoke song. I rap every part! I love to rap. I can’t really freestyle but dabble in writing them.
Where would you like your laughs to take you:
My ultimate career goals right now would definitely be to be touring on my own tour, selling out arenas, and becoming a household name. I just want to make as many people in the world laugh as I can. But making some money wouldn’t hurt either (Laughs).
What would you tell a potential comedian if they ask you how they can own the laughs:
I would say to listen to the audience. They will tell you what works and what doesn’t and if someone constantly doesn’t work then you need to rework it. And write everything you think could be a bit because you never know what could work and what can’t.
What are your thoughts on the future of comedy:
My thoughts on the future of comedy are that I hope it continues to grow into this amazing community of brilliant people. I am loving how diverse and accepting comedy is of everyone and I want that to continue. I do hope too that people will stop being so offended by the smallest things and understand that sometimes a joke is just a joke.
If you could write one episode for one classic TV sitcom which show would it be and give a brief detailed sentence on the episode:
I would want to write an episode for Friends. The episode would be all of the cast is actually allergic to coffee.
If you could choose 1 comedy club and 3 comedians to perform with on your perfect comedy show, how would it go:
1 club, 3 comics…Hmm…For the club, I would have to say the venue would be The Comedy Store in LA, the main room of course. And for the comics, I would pick Iliza Shlesinger, Dave Chappelle, and Tig Notaro. We would all do 30 minutes each and it would be amazing! If we are talking late comics it would be George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Lucille Ball, and Richard Pryor…I wouldn’t even perform I would just watch (Laughs).
What’s next for you:
What’s next? Just continue to grind and perform. I have some goals I am trying to hit so I am going to work towards those. I am working hard on making this my year.
Why should a person always laugh at life:
.Because laughter is the best medicine. Cheesy I know but it’s true. Laughing just heals the soul.