"I was always a fan of standup," says comedian Alysia Wood. "I watched Carson's monologues with my dad, and tried to stay awake for the standups. When I didn't understand the jokes he would explain them to me, which inadvertently taught me joke structure. We pretty much lived for the Saturday Night Live monologue and Weekend Update." In middle school, she used her lunch money to rent comedy videos at Blockbuster. While she was always a fan of standup, it didn't occur to her that it might be a career option until a former boyfriend suggested it. "It took six months for the idea to take hold," she explains. "I was interviewing for jobs as a 911 dispatcher and/or call receiver when I thought, 'I should at least try it.' Once I tried it, I never looked back. A year later, I was getting paid to do it, and the following year I was full-time." There were some rough patches, however, until she entered a standup competition organized by Bud Friedman, legendary founder of the Improv comedy club chain, at Harrah's in Las Vegas. She won. "That contest was a game changer for me because I was homeless the week before I won it," she says. "Next thing I knew, I was in a limo on my way to do a live broadcast of the Vegas news. It blew my mind." That got the attention of Stand Up! Records, who produced her CD Princess, which was released in 2012. "Being endorsed by the inventor of American standup comedy clubs and the snobbiest comedy record label in the world was like a double tap from the comedy gods right when I needed it most. It launched me into a bunch of other cool opportunities, and promoted me to headliner. I'm still riding that wave." Joe Lovitt opens.
Oct. 10-12, 8 p.m.; Oct. 11-12, 10:30 p.m., 2013