We couldn’t be more excited that the incredibly funny Rosebud Baker is on the bill for Sunday’s Bentzen Belles lineup at the Kennedy Center (alongside Chanel Ali, Franqi French and Wendy Wroblewski), so get to know her a little better via the below chat we had last week in which talked about her first-ever open mic, dogs, Justin Bieber and more! Obviously catch her at the show Sunday (it’s free, so you have ZERO EXCUSES to miss out), plus check out her podcast (Two Less Lonely Girls) w/ Corinne Fisher, and follow her on Twitter and IG and stay up to date on all the latest. HERE WE GO:
So tell me what your average day looks like, if one exists? I know you typically do a few shows a night, but is there an ideal routine?
My average day…well, I wake up, I walk the dog. (I generally get to bed by 3am, so I wake up around 10am and walk the dog.) I usually have to come back here to go through my emails and see what I’ve got to focus on that day, because there’s so much. With writing, there’s no schedule; you kind of have to make your own, so I have to come back and see, “Okay, what is my day gonna look like?” If I’m focusing on writing a script, then I’m focused on that for the day. Or if I’m focusing on writing jokes, I’ll do that. But lately, I’ve been working on getting together my half hour, and kind of going through all my sets from the last year, gathering material that I can put in my half hour. I’m one of those comics that likes to have an arc to my set; I’m not just one-liners, so it’s kind of rearranging it and figuring out how to tell a story through the whole thing. And then I go work out, and then I go out to spots starting around 8pm. I’m out until 1am, 2am. I’ll usually have a spot at New York Comedy Club, which is right by my apartment, or The Stand, and then I’ll head down to The Cellar, hang out there after spots until 1-2am. And that’s pretty much it! It’s kind of a dream life. On days when it feels like things are working, it feels like it’s no work, you know?
Absolutely. What happens if you’re scheduled to be a couple of places in a night, and after the first one or two spots you’re not super feeling it? Is that a situation where you might consider calling it a night? Or do you push through?
Unless there’s…like, sometimes…I’ve really only done it like, twice this year, where I’ll go to a show, a newer show at a bar or something, and there are like two people in the audience and like six comics. Sometimes I’ll do that, but for the most part I’ll just be like, “Alright, I’ll work on this someplace else because I don’t want to do this,” you know? Other than that, if I’m sick…I mean, I had a show the day after my dog died this year, and I went and did it. I pretty much just show up for spots. I don’t like to skip shows or cancel shows; I don’t frankly feel like I’m in a position to be able to do that. You have to be at a certain level in this business to be like, “Oh, I can’t do this show.” And I don’t feel like I’m at that level. [Laughs]
For sure. Now, when you’re working out material, how much breathing room do you give something before you decide, like, “Maybe this isn’t working out,” or “Maybe I’ll save this for another time and place.”?
If I really love a bit, and I really want to make it work, I’ll give it up to a year. I’ll keep working on it for the year. I think the longest I’ve ever worked on a joke was a year and a half, and I kept building on it and working on it because I just loved it. Really as long as it takes. And if I do say, “Let me come back to this,” that’s generally a joke that’s not that important to me. But when it comes to something I really want to say, then I’ll give it as long as it takes.
Do you remember your very first set?
Do you mean like a real set or a like a mic?
Well, let’s start with a mic. Let’s start there. What was the thing that made you get up and do it, first of all, and what was the feeling afterwards?
I remember I was thinking about doing comedy for a long time, and I was on a cross country trip with my best friend who was moving to Arizona. We stopped in Austin, Texas, and I found a mic. I went to this mic with her, and I called a friend who was a stand-up, and I was like, “I can’t go in there. I don’t know. I just feel so nervous!” And he was like, “Okay, so don’t. Don’t go in there.” And I just went, “But if I don’t go in, I’ll never do it!” He was like, “Yeah, so there you go…” I was like, “Okay,” and I just heard my own voice say that and was like, “Okay, I’m gonna go in.” And I did it, and it wasn’t even like jokes that were mine; they weren’t jokes, it was more like impressions (which is not at all what I do now, and it’s so funny that that’s what I did), but it actually makes sense that that’s what I did, because I was so self-conscious about my writing abilities when I started. So I just did impressions of my uncle and read his…like, he had these hillbilly haikus that he’d write for Facebook statuses, and I’d read those. I got like, one laugh, and then I ran off stage, which is pretty much a good instinct, I think, looking back; I got the laugh, and I got off while I was ahead. [Laughs] And yeah, I just kept on doing it since then. It took me a second to try it in New York, for some reason. I was really nervous. It was like…it felt like a different thing. And it was. [Laughs]
Oh, totally. Now, I know that you also worked at a dog behavioral training facility, too. Was that during this timeline? And how did you get into that?
Well, like I said, I started as an actor in New York, and I sort of had this identity crisis, like, “I don’t want to do this anymore, I think this is dumb, and I want to do something that has nothing to do with me.” [Laughs] Which is hilarious, but I was like, “Maybe I’ll be a dog trainer.” And a friend of mine who’s a comic was like, “You would be terrible at that, because you have to work with people.” I was like, “That’s a solid point,” but when I started in comedy, I was looking for a day job, and I went to this behavioral center that helped my dog recover from really bad behavioral problems. And I was like, “Can I work for you guys?” and they were like, “Yeah,” so I lived there, like, overnight, I stayed in this kennel with a bunch of dogs and slept there, and would bring them out in shifts to play. It was crazy. I mean, there were dogs that you couldn’t look in the eyes, you know? You looked them in the eyes and they’d attack you, and I was just so comfortable around these dogs because I’d had one of them. I’d had a dog that had crazy behavioral problems, and I just knew how to react to them. I’m pretty intuitive with animals, and they fascinate me for that reason; their energy is so powerful that if you pay even a little bit of attention, you can read what’s going on. It’s almost like an audience. You just have to respond to it. You don’t have to do anything about it, you just have to respond to it and kind of work with it. Animals are really powerful that way. So yeah, that was my day job for a little while, but it was overnight, so I’d do spots and then go relieve the person who was working at this behavioral center, set up my cot, take the dogs out one at a time, and then put them to bed, get up in the morning and give them breakfast…it was crazy. It was like, up in Harlem. It was wild.
That’s so interesting! Wow. Alright, well a more traditional thing you do is co-host a podcast, so let’s segue into that. Two Less Lonely Girls…do you get together on a weekly basis to record? And how do you determine what you’re going to talk about each time?
Well, it’s pretty much one topic. We just talk about pop culture, and the obsession with celebrities and celebrity conspiracy theories, so like, the darker side of pop culture. It started with a mutual obsession with Justin Bieber, and then it just kind of spiraled from there. We record probably every two weeks, or every three weeks, just because the episodes are about thirty minutes each, not super long. We’re currently doing our own Making the Band thing; we wrote three original songs, and we cast a bunch of women in New York to perform them in November. We have a band, and we’re doing original choreography, and we have a music director who’s running the girls through rehearsals. It literally came from like one podcast episode where Corinne was like, “I bet we could write a pop song. It’s really easy.” I was like, “Yeah, it’s super easy.” She was like, “We should do it,” and I was like, “Yeah, we should,” so we just fucking did it. [Laughs] And now we’ve involved these five women who are really good. We like, held auditions; we posted the auditions on both of our Instagrams, put an ad on Backstage. It’s just like, the whole podcast is just us taking our ideas way too far in where they go, so it’s fun.
That’s amazing. Yeah, I saw the Instagram photo of you and the Justin Bieber cutout, and I actually have one of those in my apartment, but I always forget that it’s there until like, my super or some repair guy has to come and look at something, and it’s like, the first thing you see when you open the door. I’m like, “Hi, I’m a 31-year-old woman with this life-size Bieber cutout in my apartment. Totally normal, totally fine.”
I love that! [Laughs] That’s hysterical. That’s like what we were saying about how it’s so funny to be in your thirties and be obsessed with Justin Bieber. It doesn’t feel appropriate, even though he’s legal now. It still feels like he’s a child. Which, I guess mentally he kind of is. [Laughs]
Totally. [Laughs] Alright, what else do you have coming up aside from Bentzen and the things we’ve already talked about, like your half hour, that you maybe wanna plug?
It’s so funny, when people ask me that, like, I do have stuff going on, but I’m just like, “No, nothing.” Well, there is something pretty big, but I’m not sure I can talk about that one yet. I’ll tell you that off the record. But something I can tell you about is that Bill Burr started a show with Comedy Central, a series with comedians, and I’m going to be in that coming out in January. He picked a bunch of comics that he likes, and we all did sets and interviewed with him, which is incredible, because he’s absolutely one of my favorite comics. So that should be out in January.