[Editor's Note: Many of this week's events are getting canceled or postponed due to fear of the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus, and Free Times is maintaining an up-to-date list (freely available without an online subscription) of all the ones we know about.]
There are people who know what they’re going to do from the time they’re toddlers, and there are people who accidentally stumble into their perfect vocation.
Atlanta standup comedian Cherith Fuller is the latter.
“I was a very quiet child,” she says. “I wanted to be a writer. By the time I was in college, I knew that I wanted to be a TV writer, and by then I knew that a lot of TV writers started out doing either improv or stand-up.”
Fuller tried out for the improv troupe at the University of Georgia and didn’t get in. Twice, actually. So it seemed like there was only one other option.
“I thought, ‘Ok, well, I guess I’ll try stand-up,’” she recalls. “I wasn’t super eager to do it — it was something I needed to do, and then the first time I performed I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with it immediately. It’s by far one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.”
Fuller hasn’t left writing behind by any means. She’s done work for the Reductress website, Cartoon Network, Men’s Health , Cosmopolitan and more. But stand-up has become her first love, at least partially because it requires her to make a point and make it fast.
“When I write more long-form pieces or articles for online publications, it gives me the ability to be more long-winded,” she explains. “I don’t know if that’s the right term, but with stand-up you have to be very concise. You have to eliminate the fat. You have to cut out a lot of stuff.”
On her just-released new album, Cool, Chill Girl, Fuller’s material is mostly honed in on relationships and sex. A quick scan through the album finds Fuller talking about her oddly intense crush on serial killer Ed Kemper, a quick spin through her experiences with “Mediocre Dick,” and a moment in which she declares herself “H.W.A. (Horniest Woman In Atlanta).”
Luckily for her, people seem to enjoy hearing about Fuller’s relationship and sex fails.
“I initially thought that my comedy was only relatable to women,” Fuller offers. “I talk about relationships a lot, and sex, but I seem to have a lot of men that relate to my comedy, and I think it’s because they get a different perspective, in a conversational, non-threatening way. Everyone has insecurities, and I think it’s very universal to feel insecure about the way you look or how you act. Having someone say that out loud can be very comforting.”
Fuller ties her album together at the end with an extended, very NSFW story about a brief flirtation with BDSM that goes into a surprisingly dark and vulnerable place.
That particular story wasn’t an easy one for Fuller to work through while workshopping material for the release.
“I only worked on it out of town because working on it at open mics in Atlanta would’ve been too vulnerable for me,” she says. “I could have the freedom without feeling like all of my friends were watching me. Once the story is worked out it’s not scary, but figuring out how to tell it, that was the scary part.”
If that story sounds a little intense, don’t worry. Unless you pick up a copy of Cool, Chill Girl at her upcoming show at The Comedy Closet on Saturday, you’re unlikely to hear Fuller tell it. She’s not that inclined to rehash old material onstage. After spending more than a year prepping for her album, Fuller is ready to move on.
“My friends would ask me, ‘Are you tired of your material?’” she tells Free Times. “And before the album I was like, ‘No, I love this material! I could perform it forever!’ And as soon as I recorded it, I was like, ‘Get it out of my sight.’ So I felt the urge to try out different material and find a new direction because I’m a different person now than I was a year ago.”
Plus, she adds, reciting her album isn’t the best sales technique.
“You don’t want to say, ‘Buy my album and hear all of the material that you just heard,’” she laughs, “so you want to give them a taste of the material that’s on the album and then work in new stuff to show them that I’m working and progressing.”
What: Cherith Fuller
Where: The Comedy Closet, 735 Meeting St.
When: Saturday, March 14, 8:30 p.m.
Price: $10 ($7 advance)
More: 803-834-4598, thecomedycloset.com