Andy Erikson Q&A

January 11, 2021
Andy Erikson is the most sincere comedian on earth.

“If anyone is new to giving presentations, I would definitely encourage them to practice and get in a bunch of reps, not just reciting the material but doing it in front of actual audiences. Because at the end of the day, most people can’t meow during a board meeting if they forget their lines. But who knows! Maybe try it and let me know how it goes!”

I love your thought that “your dad is proud of you” is the world’s best heckle. Do your parents come to your shows?

Gosh yeah, I really do wish that heckles were more positive and encouraging. That was a great moment for me. My family has always been super supportive of my comedy career. They not only came to my shows, they were often my ride and the only way there. I’m grateful they were willing to put up with rowdy open mics in bars and basements to laugh at my weird Slinky jokes.

You grew up in Ham Lake and went to Blaine High School. Did you find your people there?

Yes! Blaine has a great theater program and offered a variety of art and design classes. I was a theater techie for a couple of years and got to build sets and even move the sets around during shows. I had no real desire to be in the limelight until I was in college but it was so great to be inspired by my classmates and to go to a school that fostered and encouraged creative expression and theater. I eventually joined Marching Band and was in Color Guard so I definitely met my people there. Band nerds are the best people in the world.

How is Minneapolis as a comedy community for someone breaking in?

I loved getting to be silly and always felt incredibly supported by the Minneapolis comedy community. It took me a little while to break in and to be taken seriously, but once I proved that I wasn’t a total dingbat and after bribing everyone with candy and friendship bracelets it became my second family. I remember Mary Mack taking me out on errand adventures and buying me a gluten-free cupcake on my birthday when I was still really new. She and many other comics have always made a point to welcome in new comics and encourage each other to write new material and to not be afraid to try something weird or different. I think Minnesota is a great area for finding paid gigs and advancing up the ranks. Like anything, you have to put a lot into it and step out of your comfort zone to see the best results, and I’m grateful that I got to grow into the comedian I am today in Minneapolis.

You have a similar sensibility to Maria Bamford in that you’re not afraid to discuss difficult things in a bright manner. Has she been a role model for you? 

Maria Bamford is a glorious human being and comedian who I’ve always looked up to. She is fearless, hilarious, and has always been so driven. I worked with her when I was starting out and I was in awe at her talent as well as her kindness. I’ve looked up to her, as well as Jackie Kashian, Mary Mack, Tim Harmston, Tom Segura, Nikki Glaser, Mike Brody, Tommy Ryman, I could name a thousand comedians who inspire me, as there’s just so much talent in this world and there’s always room to improve and learn new things.

You made it into the top five of “Last Comic Standing.” I love that moment where you forgot your line and decided to meow. Do you enjoy giving yourself some room when you perform?

That moment was wild! I thought my career was over but was saved by being a cat. I’m not sure what made me do that, but I do know that what helped me was having seven years of experience on stage under my belt. If anyone is new to giving presentations, I would definitely encourage them to practice and get in a bunch of reps, not just reciting the material but doing it in front of actual audiences. Because at the end of the day, most people can’t meow during a board meeting if they forget their lines. But who knows! Maybe try it and let me know how it goes! I absolutely love going off script and I try to do it regularly during my sets. My style has been evolving to be more conversational rather than doing primarily one-liners so I’ve been having fun with that lately too.

How important is vulnerability to your performance?

When I first started doing comedy, my persona was built around me being self-conscious and unsure of myself. As I’ve grown and developed I’ve gained a lot more confidence on stage and now my vulnerability comes from the content rather than my persona. Though, I do still give off a vibe, like, does she know what she’s doing? Is she OK? Which is fun too! But I’ve been talking more and more about Marfan Syndrome, my heart condition, as well as my recent bouts in the hospital. Vulnerability is powerful and I think people right now really just want to connect as well as smile.

What is next for you?

I’m hoping to start a podcast very soon! Something fun and silly and involving squirrels. And I am finishing up my graduate degree in screenwriting with the hopes of one day getting a television writing job. I’m not sure what the standup comedy world is going to look like in the future and if I’ll be able to make a living doing it. So I’m looking to branch out and find something stable. Maybe a squirrel daycare lady. We’ll see!