ASF Hot Seat: Nephew


Nephew is an all-star sketch team with a monthly show at LA UCB Theater. Their collective credits include Community, Key & Peele, Arrested Development, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and other stuff that comedians would give their mother’s bones to be on. And we, of course, are THRILLED to have them as one of the headliners at this year’s Austin Sketch Fest.
We spoke to Nephew’s Joan Ford about their upcoming ASF show.

This year’s ASF features sketch teams from UCB NY as well. How do the coasts compare, artistically speaking?

Joan Ford: Artistically the west coast has a more beautiful appearance. The forests of the California, Oregon and Washington paired with the warm to mild coastal waters really make it a coast like no other.

Comedically speaking, from my own experience I think there’s a lot of similarities in comedic taste. Much of our faculty in LA are all NY alumni so we get a little of their flavor and some of the most popular improv shows at the LA theater have been NY alumni like Death By Roo Roo (now retired), Shitty Jobs, Facebook. NY integrates well into the LA scene.

What do you have planned for your ASF show?

Joan: We’ve got some of our favorite sketches planned. We’re really trying to change the whole concept of comedy with this show. Like as in make some changes to the Oxford Dictionary. We want “Comedy” to be spelled “CommaDi.”

You’re a house sketch team at the UCB in LA. What are the benefits and drawbacks of coming up through the ranks and being put on a team vs. striking out on your own?

Joan: There really are no drawbacks, I’ve been thrust into a community that has basically vetted through this immense talent pool to put the best and the brightest on stage and teams. I have grown as a comedian and collaborated in ways that I think might plateau here in the theater. Once you embark into the studio system and have to answer to suits with arbitrary notes, it gets less fun. I feel pretty free right now at the theater and on this team. To become a cohesive unit, we all drank and hooked up and committed a bunch of crimes with each other.

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Who are your influences?

Joan: My personal influences are The Simpsons, In Living Color, Martin, Dave Chapelle, Mel Brooks, and after school cartoons. God is the only person that has blown my mind, he does that every day when I take in the glory of his creation.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Joan: Any show with Betsy Sodaro milking anything for all it’s worth. We had a sketch at SF Sketchfest with Olivia Norman, Betsy Sodaro and Drew Tarver as waspy women talking about how their husbands are weird cummers and an old lady was in the front row shaking her head the whole time. That was wonderful.

What should people interested in comedy know that you didn’t know when you started?

Joan: Be honest and be a human being.

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?

Joan: Beyonce’s Lemonade: It’s Actually Un-Empowering Women, Especially Your Daughter

You can catch Nephew Friday, May 27th, 8pm at the Spiderhouse Ballroom with Vanessa Gonzalez and Abby Rosenquist. TICKETS HERE