Comedy issue: Meet some of Tampa Bay's leading ladies of comedy

Meet some of Central Florida's funniest women.

With Amy Schumer emerging as the hottest A-lister in comedy this year, funny women everywhere are following suit and taking the mic more often than ever. Tampa Bay has a good number of talented female stand-up comics, and here's just around a half-dozen of the must-see ladies on Tampa Bay area comedy stages. 


Helen Keaney
Delivery: Dynamic, sassy, great physical comedy, shocking, under-the-breath zingers and punchlines that recall Amy Schumer and Wendy Liebman.
Day job: Show host on Home Shopping Network.
Current flame: "I have a new boyfriend who is hearing impaired, true story. I love that I always get a second chance when I say something stupid. For example I said, 'Damn your brother is hot' ... He said, "What?" I said (louder), "Your BROTHER IS ON POT."
Late-night binge: There is a great sushi place on McMullen booth that stays open until 1 a.m. named Ocean Blue Sushi and Bar. I am a total night owl and can eat dinner there at midnight .. .a tip for my stalker.
Moment she kicked ass: "I worked a club called Pips in Brooklyn early in my career. It was Dice's home club and not easy for a female comic ... I got heckled before I even reached the mic. Some guy actually barked at me like a dog. I don't think you can print what I actually said to him, but he left neutered."
Recent topics: "I talk about how Florida makes me think of death all the time. So I wrote a list that rhymes with bucket, about the who I need to be with before I die. Also, getting a revenge fantasy of Hillary in the White House. Her wearing a blue dress for the inauguration .. .with a stain."
Upcoming gigs: Keaney will co-headline the 9th Annual Crack Up Cancer with Dean Napolitano, Al Romas and Chris Matson on Wed., Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Tampa Improv, Ybor City. Find out more at helenkeaney.com.

Trish Keating
Delivery: Matter-of-fact, self-deprecating yet self-assured.
Day job:  Theater director at St. Petersburg High school and adjunct at St. Petersburg College. She's helming the SPHS fall comedy I Hate Hamlet, which runs Nov. 11-13 at 7 p.m.
Local native: "I was born in the exotic town of Dunedin, Florida. I was a month premature because even as an infant I couldn't wait to get away from my mother."
Late-night binge: " After a late night show I like a fish filet sandwich from McDonald's. Without tarter sauce but with extra mercury and followed by diabetes."
A moment she kicked ass: "I opened for legendary comic Richard Lewis at the Tampa Improv some years ago and killed in front of 400 people. It was life-affirming that I was on the right track. I also unintentionally set up one of his jokes which he thanked me for afterward. Very cool."
Recent topics: "My obsession with ghost shows, getting my nails 'did' at Asian nail salons and the horror of my mother's spending my inheritance on her collection of Christmas memorabilia that no one will want after she's gone." 
Upcoming gigs: Nov. 25-29 at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. More at trishkeatingcomedy.com.


Mary Tischbein, aka Long Island Mary
Delivery:
Easy-going, pleasantly sarcastic, conversational.
New York transplant (duh): Tischbein lives in Bradenton but was born on Long Island. "My accent is getting thicker in rebellion. I seek out other New Yorkers for support group sessions. Luckily there are a ton of Northeasterners down here, and the Midwest transplants and locals have been kind. But it’s worlds apart. It has softened me. I go back home and say hi to everyone walking by and my sister slaps me and says, stop doing that, they’re going to think you’re nuts."
Late-night binge: "Chili’s or Applebee’s half-price app late-night menu with my fellow comedians. Or Taco bell. Actually, chocolate milk. That’s all I really want. It’s strangely comforting and cleans you out, so it balances out the beer calories ingested at the show."
A moment she kicked ass: "Whenever I get to say STFU to a drunk, annoying heckler, I feel like I just slayed a dragon. It’s only happened a few times, but it makes me feel 10 feet tall. It’s all about the timing and making sure the audience is on your side. After one of those, you can pretty much body surf the crowd."
Recent topics: Politics, her family. "I have a batch of material about my Mom, who we lost last year, and she was my biggest supporter and fan." 
Upcoming gigs: The News Remixed; she appears several times a week on an Orlando news segment on Fox 35, fox35orlando.com/live, and her live shows can be found at marytischbein.com/calendar.html.


Traci Kanaan 
Her shtick:
She's a parody performer who skewers popular hits and plays a killer piano and keyboard. "The theme of all my shows is that I’m a classically trained pianist that snapped and I started singing dick jokes in comedy clubs. I do part stand up, part song parodies, and some original songs in my shows. My material covers my battles with losing weight and taking care of my mother who has rampant diabetes and dementia." 
From there to here:  Kanaan says she moved to downtown St. Pete in March this year and loves it. "I was born and raised in Berea, Ohio, on the west-side of Cleveland, and spent the previous 20 years living in Palmetto. Moving from Berea, Ohio to Palmetto, was one big exercise in culture shock for me. Berea was mostly middle class. You were expected to excel in sports and get a college education, and work in middle management. Palmetto was mostly lower class. You were expected to be Baptist, graduate from middle school and avoid getting picked up by immigration. ... Having volunteered with both Berea Rotary and Palmetto Rotary, I could definitely see the impact Palmetto Rotary had on the youth in Palmetto and how much our efforts were appreciated by the recipients.
Late-night binge: "My favorite 2 a.m. meal is at Waffle House. All Star Special. Eggs, scrambled. Bacon. Hash browns scattered, smothered and covered. Chocolate chip waffle, with sugar free syrup. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. And I like my men like I like my coffee. Ground up and in the freezer." 
Moment she kicked ass: "I was in Dothan, Ala., performing at a country bar called Cowboy’s. There was a statue of Jake & Elwood from The Blues Brothers on either side of the stage. The stage did not have chicken wire on it. My show has no country music in it, because I don’t care for it. I was still reeling from a show in Lakeland, the previous week, where a drunk woman disrupted my show eight times. I finally had enough and blasted her from the stage (I’m pretty sure I called her a stupid ****ing inconsiderate whore) not realizing she was the owner’s wife and was “dismissed." I was not feeling the cosmic comedy love. So I took the stage in Dothan, and did my show. When I was done, someone got up. I figured I went to long, and he had to go to the bathroom. Then another stood up, then another, then another. When I looked back up, I realized I had just gotten my first standing ovation … a week after being fired." 
Upcoming gigs: 
See Kanaan live on Sat., Nov. 21, at the Carrollwood Cultural Center; Nov. 27 at the State Theatre with Gallagher and Artie Fletcher. princessofparodies.com.

Robin Savage
She wrote a book: Stand Up and Be a Lady.
From hot to hotter:
"I was born in Kansas, raised in Missouri and I live in Florida now. Living in Florida is really not that different from living in the Midwest ... in August ... an eternal, humid, sweltering August."
Late-night binge: "My go-to snack is Mexican food or any of the ingredients that make up any Mexican dish. I will roll about anything into a flour tortilla in the late night glow of the refrigerator light." 
Moment she kicked ass: I have had some great nights of comedy, but the only night that really sticks in my mind was the first time I didn't suck on stage. It was probably my fourth time on stage and experiences one through three were abysmal. (My first laugh didn't even come until my second time on stage.) I was the fourth comedian in the line-up and no one was doing well. The audience stopped paying attention. It was my turn, I started my set and something amazing happened, the crowd got quiet, they started listening and then (gulp) laughing. It was then I knew that I wanted that feeling, that pure shot of adrenaline that comes from making a group of people laugh from then on.
Recent topics: "I talk a lot about my family in my act. When I started comedy, my kids where very little, so my jokes consisted of having to deal hours on end of Dora the Explorer and playdates with soccer moms. As my kids have aged, I have had to change my material. Now, with a pre-teen son, I am coming to the realization that I didn't prepare for my children to be anything but toddlers. My son has his first middle school dance coming up and I want to write the school a note and tell them that he won't be attending the dance because I am not mentally or emotionally prepared for it."
Upcoming gigs:
 " I can be seen live Nov. 7th in Perry, Fla., at The Perry Theatre and on The News Remixed on Orlando Fox 35 throughout the week — Mary too." 


Catherine Maloney
Her delivery: 
Says Laugh Tract's Michael Murillo, "Maloney's acidic personality gives her material extra bite, and also gives her special artistic license when she's riffing with the crowd. Expect plenty of creative, adult content."
From Queens to NPR: She's born and raised in Queens and now living in New Port Richey. What's that been like for Maloney? "  I miss the pizza and bagels in New York but I'm a supermodel in my Pasco county neighborhood so I've got that going for me." 
Late-night binge: "Taco Bell Beefy Frito Burrito with no rice. Hmmmm I want one now."
Moment she kicked ass: "Opening for Tony Rock at the Tampa Improv. I floated offstage.
Recent topics: "Getting older and my crowd, work."
Upcoming shows: Saturday, Nov. 14, at GrindHouse in Clearwater; Saturday, Nov. 21, at Carrollwood Cultural Center at 8 p.m.; Dec. 10-12 at Snappers Comedy Club, and Dec. 31-Jan. 2 at Tampa Improv. catherinemaloney.com.


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