"You know how entertainers always want to complain about something?" asks comedian Tracey Ashley. "I was just thinking, 'I had a great year.' I'm really thankful." In 2013, Ashley recorded a set for NickMom Night Out, released a CD titled Two First Names, and had a chance to work with one of her comedy idols. "Wanda Sykes has a show on the Oprah Network called Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious," Ashley explains. "I taped it last summer, and it was a huge honor. One of the producers told me Wanda hand-picks the comics for the show." When she's not doing comedy, she devotes time to a guilty pleasure: Sims. She revealed this a few months back on an episode of Jackie Kashian's podcast, The Dork Forest. Kashian discovered the secret quite by accident. Tracey was staying with Jackie and her husband in L.A. for a few days. They noticed her getting on her laptop every morning and asked what she was doing. "I told them, 'I'm sending people to work. I play Sims, I've got responsibilities.'" Looking ahead into 2014, Ashley is hoping to open up more with her comedy. "The first CD was about my life so far, but some people said they felt like I was holding back." She plans on getting more personal with her new material. "Like talking about growing up with a mother who was a paranoid schizophrenic, or my days as a cruise ship director." While she performs at comedy clubs, theaters, and college campuses, she has been reluctant to take a cruise ship gig. "They've asked me, but I'm afraid I'll slip into the mindset of 'Oh my God, I used to work here.'" 18+.
Jan. 14-18, 8 p.m.; Jan. 17-18, 10:30 p.m., 2014