Marketer by day, Mona Concepcion claims the distinction of being the world's only female Chamorro comedian (except for her mother).
What do you do? During the day, I work in marketing, but at night, I’m a stand-up comedian. I’ve performed all over the West Coast and also host and produce showcases at the Columbia City Theater and the Feedback Lounge in West Seattle. I hail from a small Pacific island called Saipan, and I’m the world’s only female Chamorro comedian, if you do not count my mother.
How did you get started in that field? I’ve always been funny. I’m the youngest of five children, and it was my job to make people laugh — my mother, those who attended her Tupperware parties, and anyone who would listen. I’ve also kept a humor blog — heymona.com — since 1999, so I’ve been writing jokes for a long time. But I’d never attempted stand-up earnestly until I took a stand-up class at the UW Experimental College three years ago. Even though I’m fortunate enough to be asked to do shows, I still contact producers and other comedians for as much stage time as I can find.
What’s a typical day like? Every show is different, and that’s what makes it fun. It’s hard to anticipate what kind of crowd will attend —— young, old, single, married, couponers, bingo enthusiasts, secret shoppers, scrapbookers, all of the above. If I’m not hosting, I watch the other comics, and then when I hear my name introduced, I walk on stage, shake the host’s hand, grab the microphone and start telling jokes. When I’m done with my set, I thank the audience for their time and get off stage until the next show.
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What’s the best part of the work? I love entertaining and giving people a great show. I work hard at writing material that is engaging, clever, authentic. There are few thrills greater than hearing a room full of strangers laughing, clapping, and cheering. It’s a reminder that even though I’ve decided to enter this crazy, unhinged world called comedy, it’s the right place for me.
What surprises people about what you do? People are often surprised at how hard comedy is — I write, rewrite, perform, invite people to attend, pray there’s an audience. It’s not just standing up and babbling into a microphone, it’s an art form. It’s work. Most people hate being laughed at but I love it. It’s my job.