"I knew I wanted to make people laugh when I was kid," says comedian Tracey Ashley. "So I was acting out constantly in school. I had great grades, but my conduct grades were horrible." In high school and college she became interested in speech and debate, and used her humor whenever she could. After college, a full-time career in standup seemed daunting. "One thing that did scare me," she says, "is an interview I read with Richard Pryor where he said, 'If you're going to be a comic, you're going to be broke when you start.' I didn't want to be broke." After a few years as a cruise director, she wound up in Minneapolis working in sales at one of the big AM radio stations. The standup stage beckoned, but she still wasn't sure when she should make the leap. Another comic suggested she talk to Greg Warren, who had left a corporate job with Procter & Gamble to go into standup full time. "I asked him, 'When do you know it's time to do it, to go full time?' He said, 'When you can't stand it anymore. Emceeing in town won't be enough. You'll want to be on the road.' I finally got to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore." Her upcoming set of shows will be a homecoming of sorts, and she'll also be recording a CD. "We're going to record the whole week," she explains. "We may have one show that's amazing, which is every comic's dream, but we'll probably dissect it. You never know what's going to happen." 18+.
Dec. 18-22, 8 p.m.; Dec. 21-22, 10:30 p.m., 2012
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