AmericasComedy.Com recently spoke with Erin Judge about her first decade as a working comedian and her upcoming album So Many Choices.
Erin began her comedy career in Boston after graduating college in 2002. “When I finished school, I was planning to take a year off before going to grad school but it was mid-recession so I couldn’t really find a job. I’d done some improv in college, so I decided to give stand-up a try.” Once she tried it, the addiction took hold and she stuck with comedy instead of going back to school. “And that’s why I’m a millionaire today.”
“The Boston comedy scene was a great place to start. There are so many great comedians who have come out of there and there were so many really good people in the scene with me, plus there were so many places to perform. As a young comedian, I got a lot of good stage time.” After 7 years of growing and learning in Boston she moved to New York where she’s based today.
Though she spent her formative years in Boston, she actually took her first step on stage at the Acme Comedy Co. in Minneapolis, MN. “I was just there for a couple of weeks and went and did the open mic. I had no idea it was one of the best clubs in the country.” She remembers the theme of her set was comparing a feminist sex toyshop to a seedy one in Times Sq. “But I don’t think you can qualify anything I said as a joke.” Looking back on it, Judge asked her younger self “Are you trying to make people laugh or are you writing a dissertation?”
Judge watched a lot of Comedy Central and VH1 Stand-up spotlight growing up. Margaret Cho and Chris Rock were some of her favorites. She also cites Louis C.K. as a big influence, adding “that’s been a real privilege, now being able to work with my favorite comedian.” When asked what her current favorite joke is, she moaned “Why did you have to ask that? There’s so many candidates!” and finally settled on Anthony Jeselnik’s motorcycle joke
When asked what she’d be doing if she weren’t a comedian, Erin immediately replied, “Cutting myself right now, probably.” and like any comedian serious enough about the art to give that kind of visceral response, she waits a beat or two before answering seriously, “No, probably I’d have gotten my PhD and either be an ornery professor or have no job at all, as seems to be the case with most people I know who went to grad school.”
Erin decided it was time to release an album because she had put together a cohesive hour of material she felt really good about. “It’s a series of stories that flow together and present a couple of nice arcs. I was really trying to go for an album that was really an album not just a collection of jokes that filled an hour. I remember what it sounds like to listen to music and comedy albums like that and that’s what I was aiming for. I was also happy to have the chance to put some of these jokes on an album to be preserved forever. Now they have a life of their own and I don’t have to trot them out periodically to keep them from dying.”
Erin wanted to record So Many Choices outside of New York to be able to capture her material in front of a fresh crowd. Her past ties with the Boardwalk Playhouse in Santa Cruz, CA made it a natural choice. “I chose Santa Cruz specifically because I’d done a two-woman show there with my best friend in 2008-2009 [The Meaning of Wife with Ailin Conant], so I knew that the theater community and the local media were very supportive. And it worked out great, there were good crowds both nights, and especially the second night the place was packed. I think there were maybe 5 empty seats in the house”
“I was really pleased with how the album came out. It’s a lot of me talking about sexuality and my sexual orientation and I think it’s a pretty fun album. So I hope that listeners think it’s fun, too.”