Now that the delightfully non-sequitur-laden Andy Erikson has completed her victory tour with the other finalists of Last Comic Standing, we’re just about ready for another locally bred comic to dominate a reality TV competition.
Enter Joleen Lunzer. This soft-spoken yet pithy comic is one of three finalists in Loni’s Laugh Off, which invites viewers to pick the winner. The champ gets to perform on FOX's The Real, hosted by Tamar Braxton, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai, and Adrienne Bailon. They’ll also get to open up for Loni Love at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
Voting ends Wednesday, February 24, so you better scoot! You can vote for Joleen here. (She’s currently trailing by 8 percent, but last night she was winning by 1 percent, so she can definitely make a comeback.)
Last night, we emailed with Lunzer, who is currently in Kosovo entertaining the troops. She answered our five #hardquestions (not really that hard), presented below.
Why should people vote for you? Give us a pitch!
People in Minnesota should vote for me because I'm one of you. I could be your sister or your neighbor who helps you dig out your car when you're stuck at the end of your driveway after a lovely April snowstorm. Why wouldn't you want family to win? I enjoy a good tater tot hotdish just like the rest of you. So if you're in favor of hotdish, you're in favor of me.
In all seriousness, I carry Minnesota with me everywhere I go. I talk about being from Minnesota in my act because I am very proud of where I'm from.
You’re originally from St. Paul. How did the Twin Cities help you develop your comedy chops?
Being raised in Minnesota, you're trained in the art of "Minnesota Nice." That has come in handy for me as a comedian, because I'm able to say edgy or taboo things while remaining likable.
This has also really helped me with hecklers. I've had my fair share of people yell out during my set or try to interrupt me, thinking I couldn't handle it. No one ever expects the little gal from Minnesota to bite back, but I've had years of watching my mom shut down difficult people with a little thing called, "killing ’em with kindness." We as Minnesotans are better than anyone at that.
If you had to describe the unique humor of the Twin Cities in a creative way, how would you do that?
Twin Cities humor is clever and smart, self-deprecating, and fun. The Twin Cities are so diverse and progressive, and it definitely shows in the type of jokes the audiences respond to. We're not above a good poop joke, but the style in the Twin Cities tends to be more thought-provoking.
What’s next for you? What’s happening in comedy that you want to be a part of?
I'm at a point in my comedy where a national TV credit would be great. After seven years, I'm feeling ready to get some exposure and, most importantly, my mom really likes to see me on TV. She doesn't have DVR, so she records my sets on VHS.
Three years ago, I did a set on the Tony Fly show On The Fly, and she recorded it on VHS over an old episode of the original 90210 series. That's one of her favorite shows, so it really meant a lot to me that she would sacrifice the "Donna Martin Graduates" episode to record her daughter's comedy.
You’re abroad entertaining the troops. What has that taught you about comedy?
I'm currently in Kosovo entertaining the troops at Camp Bondsteel, and I'm staying in the actual barracks. I've never done that before, and I've realized that I'm a total spoiled wimp. Staying in the barracks is kind of like being at camp with armed counselors, even though I never went to camp because when my parents tried to send me to camp when I was 12, I refused to go because they wouldn't allow you to drink any pop for three weeks. At the time I couldn't understand why my parents would want to subject me to such punishment. As the daughter of a Route Salesman for Pepsi, I had to do the Dew.
Entertaining the troops has also taught me the power of laughter. And how appreciative people are when you make them laugh. The troops are so appreciative and thank us for coming to entertain them, but I truly feel like we are the lucky ones and I wish I could do more for them then just tell jokes.