From the UK to LA, she’s bringing laughter and excitement all the way. As part of We Own The Laughs.com’s Comedian of the Day, have a few laughs and get to know comedian Helen Shephard. The London, England native shares some of her favorite moments in stand-up comedy and lets us know how she always owns the laughs.
Name: Helen Shephard
Hometown: London, England/Los Angeles, CA
Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat/Tik-Tok: @helenshephard1 on IG & TikTok & HEShephard on FB.
Years in Comedy: 3
Haven’t we seen you somewhere before: Hosting TV shows on Channel 5 and ITV in the UK! Performing at The Comedy Store, The Hollywood Improv & Ice House in LA.
Comedic Influences: Whitney Cummings, Ricky Gervais, Larry David, & John Mulaney
Favorite Comedy Album: I don’t have one, sorry!
Favorite Comedy Special: Whitney Cummings “Can I Touch It?” & Ricky Gervais “Humanity”
Favorite Comedy Movie: Funny People. I am a big Judd Apatow & Adam Sandler fan.
Favorite Comedy TV Show: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite Comedic Character: Larry David in Curb.
Favorite City to Perform In: LA
Favorite Topics to Joke About: Being a Brit in America and my life in general.
Favorite Type of Audience for a Comedy Show: Open-minded
Favorite Comedy Club: The Hollywood Improv
How did you discover your passion for comedy:
My life was a mess; I wanted a new start and decided to move to LA. I saw Whitney Cummings perform and was so inspired I thought maybe I could alchemize the shit show that was my life into comedy and make people laugh.
What do you remember most about your first time performing stand-up comedy:
My first-ever show was at Flappers, I had food poisoning that day, but I was just happy to get through my set without puking or shitting myself. Any laughs were just a bonus!! Guess it shows how badly I wanted to do this thing that I didn’t cancel.
How would you describe your comedic style:
Observational, satire, & self-deprecating.
Describe your process for comedic writing:
I write a million notes on my phone everyday. Then I’ll sit down and write out a structure and take it to an open mic or work it out with comedian friends.
Describe the comedy scene in your area:
I feel very fortunate to have landed in a great community of comedians here in LA, most of my friends here are also comedians, and they are very supportive. There is so much talent here in LA, which is inspiring and pushes you to get better.
How do you judge success in the world of comedy:
Not having to do bringer shows!
Who are some of your comedic peers that you enjoy watching perform or inspire you personally and professionally:
Meryl Klemow, Dawn Brodey, Chelsea London Lloyd and Parnell Piano.
What’s been your most memorable moment in comedy:
Performing at The Hollywood Improv for the first time, felt really good.
What have you learned most from your failures in comedy:
Not everyone will find your comedy funny, and that doesn’t matter; you’ll find your people. Also, it’s not a linear process; you can’t give up after one bad show; the next show you do, you might just kill it. Keep going!
How do people react toward you when they realize that you can make people laugh:
The classic, “Well tell us a joke then?” But most people are very supportive and interested.
Describe building a career in stand-up comedy:
I don’t feel like an expert, but I know writing as often as you can and getting to as many open mics as you can is important. Having a community, making friends, and going to their shows is often how I’ve booked shows.
If you could change one thing in the world of comedy, what would it be:
I would like morning and daytime comedy shows to be a thing; I’m a morning person, and sometimes the late nights are tough for me.
Best advice you’ve ever received from a comedian:
Dawn Brodey told me to see the audience as friends; they are there to see you, they want to have a good time, and want to laugh. (Mostly!)
If you were releasing a comedy special this week, what would it be called:
Funniest encounter you’ve ever had with a celebrity:
I worked as a table hostess at a private members club, I was so bad at it, that I’d always sit people at the wrong tables. Showing Leonardo DiCaprio to the wrong table was awkward, but he was nice about it.
Weirdest place you’ve ever performed any form of comedy:
I got booked to perform at a private party in a house in the Hollywood Hills; it turned out it was for 8 men (it sounds dodgy, but luckily it wasn’t). They were sat on a sofa, and I just stood there and told my jokes, no mic, super awkward. After I did that, I felt like I could perform anywhere.
A Helen Shephard Fun Fact:
I have a rescue dog called Speedy Gonzales and a Guinea pig called Chewbacca.
Where would you like your laughs to take you:
I would love to make and star in my own comedy TV show, with Judd Apatow co-directing!
What would you tell a potential comedian if they ask you how they can own the laughs:
Find your own voice; if you find something funny, chances are there are people out there who will too.
What are your thoughts on the future of comedy:
I think it’s an exciting time, lots of comedians complain about having to have a social media presence, but I think it’s great you have the opportunity for so many more people to see your comedy, which never existed before.
If you could write an episode for ONE classic TV sitcom, which show would it be and give a brief detailed sentence on the episode:
Curb Your Enthusiasm, starring me! I can only imagine how much Larry David would be annoyed by a female British comedian that he has to work with!
If you could choose ONE comedy club and THREE comedians to perform with on your perfect comedy show, how would it go:
The Comedy Store in LA, I’ll host, and Whitney Cummings, Ricky Gervais, and John Mulaney can perform. Can we get a surprise drop-in from Pete Davidson too?
What’s next for you:
I’ll be busy performing all over LA and you can check out my podcast all about making it here in LA: The Hollywood Reveal, on all the places you find podcasts.
Why should a person always laugh at life:
Laughter counteracts stress hormones and increases endorphins. It literally heals you!