Name: Amy Miller
Location: Portland, OR
Occupation: Comedian/ Marketing Lady
Influenced by Joan Rivers, Wanda Sykes, Maria Bramford and the legendary Dolly Parton, Portland’s own Amy Miller is a comedic genius who slays audiences with her quick-tongued wit and zesty performance style. Amy has blazed her trail as a contestant on Last Comic Standing, and winner of many accolades including Willamette Week’s Reader’s Choice of comedian and Helium’s funniest person, and is the host of the live show Midnight Ma$$.
When she looks back on how she started, it began with a nudge from a pal.
“My friend Becky Wolf pressured me into going to an open mic, because she knew I was having a hard time, and I had been tossing around some joke ideas. I was terrified, a few people laughed, and then she pressured me to go again the next week. Becky quit standup a few months later, and I stayed with it. Forcing me to start comedy was one of her roles in my life, I believe,” Amy recalls.
She continued, performing regularly and eventually fronting Midnight Ma$$, a showcase standup party that began as an arena for out-of-town comics. “I love hosting, it’s like having a bunch of people over to my apartment late at night to tell jokes, but without the cleanup. I’ve been able to rope some pretty amazing comics into stopping in, including Dave Attell and Norm MacDonald,” she says.
Although she’s used to male comics being at the helm of many shows and at the stand of many mics, Amy hasn’t relied on cheap digs at gender in order to get ahead, preferring to use her frustrations more as fuel than actual fodder for anger and vitriol. And performing itself gives plenty of heart-pumping intensity all on its own.
“It’s exhilarating when it goes well! When it doesn’t go well, I’m very alert, my heart races, and I feel some equal combination of angry and motivated. Luckily that scenario doesn’t happen super often anymore. 99% of the time, it’s the best and most alive I am capable of feeling,” she admits.
A regular day for this extraordinary talent includes waking up around 10 after battling insomnia, checking her email in the hope of booking, and indulging in “all the social media ever invented.” The rest of her morning seems pretty normal for a woman who wrenches crowds out of their seats with guffaws.
“I tell my cat to shut up, take a birth control pill, put water on to boil for coffee, and get in the shower. Sometimes after all that, I go back to bed for 15 minutes just as a mini-rebellion,” Amy says. Not a bad idea!
Being a woman in comedy is notoriously hard, but Amy found the right balance of driven and risk-taking with a good dose of logic. “We’re living in a really exciting time for women in the arts, and female performers. While we still encounter a good deal of discrimination, we have so many avenues for success and we’re in the middle of an ongoing conversation about how to improve our lives. The future for women is very bright, I think.”
As for embarking on a career path of laughs, Amy has some level-headed serious advice.
“At times you’ll feel that they’re aren’t many opportunities for girls and you’ll want to react to it by competing with other women. There is no better road to equality than all women working together. Other girls are your best allies. Don’t compete, collaborate! And all this “It Gets Better” business is true. Being an adult woman can be an exciting, empowering, and fun experience. Being a young girl can be hard. You aren’t alone, and the best way to get through it is to work hard, love yourself, love and trust other women, and never compare yourself to anyone else. YOU are the only you! So just be the best you that you can be,” she says, adding, “You’re allowed to be assertive, and funny, and mad, and powerful if you want. If anyone around you ever thinks that’s not ok, they’re not good or smart people. Ditch ’em!”
For her jokes and her savvy, we at Sock It To Me think that Amy Miller is one hilarious Cool Girl! Check her out on her personal website (amymillercomedy.com), Twitter (twitter.com/amymiller), and Facebook (facebook.com/amymillercomedy) for more features and giggle-fits!