The Newbie: Taylor Tomlinson

Taylor Tomlinson talks us through her comedy inspiration and what it meant to shoot her Netflix special, Quarter-Life Crisis.

Photography by Ramona Rosales
25 February 20223 min read

Starting out

I saw a Comedy Time video on YouTube when I was maybe 11 or 12, and remember Googling “stand-up comedy” because I didn’t know what it was. I had no idea people just stood onstage with nothing but a microphone and tried to make everyone laugh. In high school I took a creative writing class, and one of the assignments was to write and perform a tight five [minutes]. That’s probably when I started listening to a lot of comedy. Then when I was 16, my dad wanted to take a stand-up class and took me with him.

Finding the funny

Sometimes ideas just come to you and go directly onstage. But when it becomes your full-time job, you have to start treating it that way. I actively sit down at my desk or go to a coffee shop on the road with a blank notebook page and write. Usually I start by making a list of topics or memories I’d like to talk about, then expand on the ones that inspire me.

Pre-performance rituals

Writing out a set list beforehand, and hot water with lemon. Green tea if I need caffeine.

Kinship and camaraderie

The comedy community is great because it really does feel like a small world — especially with social media. I meet a lot of people I thought I already knew because we just follow each other online or know of each other’s work. And two stand-ups will always have things to talk about no matter how different you are as people. Everyone’s cut from the same cloth on a certain level.

Career high point

Shooting my Netflix special was obviously pretty surreal and amazing. Knowing we had it felt incredible.

Comedy idols

I loved Brian Regan and Maria Bamford when I was younger — and still do. Regan is just one of the greats, and also the nicest person. And you could listen to him with your whole family and know everyone would enjoy it. I love everything Maria Bamford does. She’s so different from anyone else out there, and she talks about mental health in such a hilarious, vulnerable, amazing way.

Midlife crisis ahead

It’s possible I get scared I’ve lived life too responsibly and start partying in my fifties or sixties. Gotta get there first.