Meet Suzanne, Female Entrepreneur of the Month (FEM) for July!
Suzanne Lambert is pursuing a career in stand-up comedy. She is one of the funniest, most genuine women I know, and I’m excited to share her story. Since she took the leap into the industry a year ago, she has performed at sold out venues all over the District- Maryland- Virginia area. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch two of her shows at DC Improv and absolutely loved every second. Her jokes are honest, relatable, and even self-deprecating as she openly harps on her own dating life and what it’s like to be the only single girl in a group of married women. You can’t help but love her; she’s pretty, smart, and funny.
Tell us a bit about your childhood. What were you like growing up?
I loved the spotlight. I was the quintessential annoying middle sister of six kids who would perform shows and concerts on the fireplace to my siblings’ dismay. In high school, I was nominated for Wittiest but didn’t win. I made a sash for myself that said “Kind of Witty” and wore it around the rest of the day. I knew from a young age that humor was a powerful tool. It got me through tough times in my life, like my parents’ divorce.
When did you decided you wanted to pursue comedy?
My first formal experience with comedy was in college during sorority rush. I was in charge of putting together a skit, which is really sketch comedy. I loved the rush (no pun intended) I felt from hearing the crowd laugh. Girls are a tough audience which made every laugh mean so much more to me. A year later, I took an improv class at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta, but it was a little too theatrical for me. I prefer having total creative control, so I started thinking about stand-up. However, I moved cities after college and didn’t make it a priority.
Four years passed between then and when I took my first stand-up comedy class a year ago. I think what finally pushed me to pursue comedy was the nagging voice in my head that kept getting louder. I had dozens of notes on my phone of original jokes and I knew I needed a creative outlet for them. I joined the mailing list for DC improv to get alerts for comedy classes. I was sitting at Matchbox Pizza drinking a Moscow Mule when I got an e-mail alert that class sign-ups were open. I signed up before I could change my mind. Liquid courage may have played a part there.
What is the hardest part about comedy?
Being able to check your ego at the door and be vulnerable; you will never succeed as a comedian if you cannot be vulnerable and feel a room. It takes a large amount of empathy and vulnerability to be a successful comic, but that can also carry a lot of weight.
What have you learned from stand-up that you have been able to apply to other areas of your life?
Doing stand-up has taught me to stay in the moment and treasure every interaction. My jokes are all based on the everyday occurrences that we often don’t even notice; some of my best jokes have come from super random conversations, like with uber drivers, and I never would have had those conversations if I didn’t stay in the moment.
Were your family and friends receptive and supportive of your pursuit in comedy?
Absolutely. I think my family was relieved that I finally found an outlet for my expressiveness. I have had people travel from Atlanta and Tampa to see me perform. I’ve had people who I rarely talk to reach out and tell me that they love my work! It is so encouraging to see how comedy helps people relate to the world around them.
I've also had people who have not been supportive, specifically a group of girls that had been my best friends since high school. The thing about comedy (good comedy, anyway) is that it tells the truth. If people are uncomfortable with their own truths, then they’re going to be insecure with you bringing light to different subjects. You ultimately have to decide that expressing yourself is more important that catering to insecure minds.
What was your most memorable moment in comedy thus far?
At my level one standup class, instructor Chris Coccia turned to me and said, “What can’t you wait to tell them? Tell them that.” I stopped obsessing over what I thought was funny and started focusing on what I actually wanted to tell. That might seem counterintuitive, but it’s impossible to speak about something you are truly passionate about and not have it rub off on your audience.
What would you say to women who have a creative passion but are fearful to pursue it?
Fear is a good thing because it means that you’re mentally ready for a change and unhappy with the current status quo. I would then suggest they reframe that fear. Imagine how it would feel to see someone else paint their painting? Or someone else telling a joke they have been wanting to tell? Or someone else launching the blog they have been thinking about? Use that fear to drive you, because regret trumps any fear you could ever have.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What’s next for you?
I work for a research and advisory company as a human resource (HR) advisory senior specialist, and I love my job. I help our clients with different initiatives they are working on as they relate to HR. I’m honestly not sure about what my timeline for a professional comedy career looks like- doing it full time is an absolute grind, and I am not quite there yet mentally. I plan on pursuing it and taking opportunities as they come, for now. I hope to at least have a website built in five years and be more confident, active onstage.
On a more personal note, who is your favorite female comedian and why?
Heather McMahan. I love her because we have a similar background. We both are from Atlanta and attended a Southeastern Conference school (SEC), which isn't a common profile for women in comedy. Also, I truly admire her dedication. She is an absolute genius at curating content on Instagram. I get so excited whenever I see she has posted something new, which is literally any comedian’s dream.
When is you next show? When can we catch you next?
Friday, August 2ndat the DC Improv!
I hope you have the chance to catch one of Suzanne’s shows! I’ll keep you updated with her schedule. Make sure to follow Suzanne on Instagram to keep up with her hilarious posts and future schedule.
Watch the interview here.