Standup Carmen Lynch on ditching dating apps, hating cats, and translating profanity

Image courtesy the standup.

Image courtesy the standup.

Carmen Lynch’s brand of comedy is dark and dry.

Carmen Lynch

Acme Comedy Co.

Jokes like “If you’re my friend, I’ve probably pictured you dead” and “I love men in their 40s -- they’ve lost hope” have defined her 14-year career in comedy. The six-foot-tall brunette with big eyes also touches on lighter topics in her act, such as envying a friend’s breakup weight-loss (“I got jealous. Like, I want to do that. I want to get dumped.”) and reading corny quotes online to stave off sadness.

As the daughter of a Spaniard, she employs her comedic skills in Spanish, too. Recent highlights from her career include starring in a short film by Chloë Sevigny and the release of her new album, Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money.

We spoke to Lynch from California, where she’d just finished a hike.

City Pages: You have a joke about how you’ve given up online dating and now date the old-fashioned way, which is to “go outside and hope.” Is that true?

Carmen Lynch: Oh, yeah. I haven’t online dated in a really long time. I tried it when Match was trendy. I’ve been on Tinder to help friends pick and to use it like a video game, but I’ve never had my own profile. I just would rather be on my own and if it was meant to be, I would just run into someone the old-fashioned way. That’s where that joke came from.

CP: Have you ever dated a fellow comedian?

CL: I have. I totally try not to do that, but sometimes it happens. It’s your work. Those are the people you tend to click with.

CP: I always wondered what two comedians in a relationship would be like. Are you constantly one-upping each other with jokes?

CL: No, ‘cause you’re doing so much comedy for your job that it’s nice to just be real when you’re not onstage. You get each other a lot and you can really support each other because you understand and empathize with the other person. There’s also something fresh about dating someone who’s not in the business ‘cause then you’re not constantly talking about comedy. I think there’s an advantage to both. I’ve done both.

CP: You were on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently and told a joke about hating cats— which you took some hate for. People were offended.

CL: In the big picture, I only got four emails or posts on that, so that’s not bad. I don’t hate cats at all. I do love dogs more than cats, but I think some people take jokes too seriously. I try not to feed into that stuff when I read it.

CP: Does it surprise you what people get offended by?

CL: Not necessarily the specific topic, but in general that they’re at a comedy show and they’re offended by comedy. I assume people come to comedy to laugh at anything, but suddenly they’re like, “Whoa, what did you say?” and it’s like, “Well, you’re here. This is a comedy show. We should be allowed to say anything we want.”

CP: Have you been able to support yourself financially doing comedy or have you done odd jobs along the way?

CL: I had jobs until five or six years ago. I was in finance. I was at Goldman Sachs for a while; I wasn’t a banker, I did a lot of presentations on computers for bankers. Then I worked at an insurance company for a long time.

CP: Definitely not industries that you associate with humor.

CL: Not at all. They were literally just there to pay the rent. There were a lot of jobs that I did not get, which, looking back, I’m pretty grateful, because I would not be a comic today.

CP: You have several videos in Spanish on YouTube. Are you fluent?

CL: Yeah, my mom is from Spain and I grew up in Spain until I was about eight, so I grew up speaking Spanish. I’ve been doing standup in Spanish, which is really fun and so different.

CP: Are you able to just translate the jokes or do you have to come up with new material?

CL: It’s a little bit of both. When I first started, I would just translate the jokes because I had to start somewhere. I was there for six weeks last year, just hanging out with family and doing shows and stuff, and I started to come up with new material, which was really cool because then I would be like, “I bet this would work in English, too!”

CP: Do you have any favorite phrases in Spanish?

CL: When I’m with my cousins -- and we used to do this all the time -- we would translate phrases that made no sense in the other language. Like “asshole.” In Spanish, they say “hole in the butt” but you would never call someone “such a hole in the butt.” In English, we don’t just yell out, “Pussy!” if we’re mad at something, but in Spain, they’ll be like, “coño!” And “coño” is “pussy.” Some of them are even more ridiculous: “Eres la leche.” It’s like, “You’re the milk.” There are so many that are so ridiculous.


Carmen Lynch
Acme Comedy Co.
8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
$15; 18+.