The RunOff: Caitlin Gill (Part 1)

Many months back I interviewed Caitlin Gill for a piece featured on Antithesis Comedy. Much of the interview was trimmed out for brevity but I’ve lovingly transcribed a bit to present to you, the loyal readers. [P.S. I’m performing with Caitlin tomorrow at Vitus. I’m super excited for that fact alone. Added to that, one of my favorite comedians of all time (whom cannot be named for legal reasons) will be headlining the show. I’m incredibly blessed.]


Courting Comedy: Is there any story behind your name?

Caitlin Gill: My mom said it was Robert Frost’s wife name, but I’ve never fact checked that. I just ran with it; could very well be true. It’s Celtic, I’m Scottish.

CC: Where are you originally from?

Gill: I grew up in Napa, the illustrious Napa Valley… I don’t know, I hated it. It’s beautiful but I hated it. It’s repressed and people are happy about it; they’re just so content, so smug and content.

CC: Have you preformed out there?

Gill: Uh-huh, yeah, it’s brutal. Napa has a really nice venue where good comics play. Things are getting different and better there since I left in the last 10 years…Good things have happened downtown and it more fun to be there… [It was] culturally empty beyond alcohol during my time spent there.

I’ve played [Napa] at a place called Downtown Joe’s, which is a shitty brew pub. (I’m not afraid to say it Downtown Joe’s)… And the bartender was somebody I went to high school with. I was there with my boyfriend at the time who was sleeping with somebody I went to high school with (that wasn’t me). [I think] my parents were there with Kaseem Bentley, so I think I watched my father insulted by Kaseem Bentley. I had a good set and people were admiring and polite but I felt like it didn’t go well. I knew [the audience] appreciated it and that always makes me think badly of people. Like really? [Be]cause I know that was mediocre. So it’s nice of you to compliment but you are either being insincere or wrong.

It was skin-crawly. And I tried to go back and do it again because James Fluty ran a nice room out there that other comics made great use of (and they had awesome posters and it was fun to be a part of) but it was like laying on glass. Being on stage [in Napa] is like laying on glass; an impressive spectacle but painful for the performer.

CC: Was that your first taste of performing in front of the people you grew up with; were you in theater or anything like that?

Gill: I was in theater in high school… I tried to perform stand-up in high school. I got my whole drama class to sit down and listen to my “debut”. But I really thought I could just walk up and perform stand-up; it didn’t occur me to write anything down. So it lasted about, seven seconds (which may be generous) and it definitely ended in tears. I did comedic theater after that and then went to college.

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The RunOff: Julian Vance

photo by. Raun Harris

A few months back I interviewed Julian Vance for a piece featured on Antithesis Comedy. Much of the interview was trimmed out for brevity. Here is the majority of the “missing” interview. [P.S. For the full experience, imagine frequent laughter between the two of us amid the questions and answers]

Courting Comedy: What rooms were running when you started?


Julian Vance: The Java Source was great. The Java Source was every Friday and Saturday night in the Richmond, kinda across the street from Rockit Room. You had to walk through about forty old Chinese men smoking cigarettes and gambling out front. It was all the way in the back and people fucking hated that we were there. People would come in and turn right back around. The normal customers, every time comedy would start, they would get up and walk away.


CC: Was it always consistent?


JV: It was consistently bad. It was always a shitty experience but you got onstage twice a week… Another great [room] was the Luggage Store. It’s on Market, [its] still called the Luggage Store. This was a mic for comics only, there was no audience. And you would have to pay a dollar to perform, not even pay a dollar, donate a dollar to keep the space open. It was more like a writing workshop than anything else. You would be done with your set and people would tell you what you did right [and] what you did wrong. It was the first place I ever bombed. It was my third or fourth set.


CC: Did you ever do the “scouting” thing of checking a mic out first?


JV: Naw, I just went. The first mic I went to was the Brainwash. This was back when they were doing the lottery system so you picked your name out of a hat. I pulled number “2” and nobody pulled number “1”. I had never seen live stand-up comedy performed before, never been to a comedy club and I went up first.


CC: How did people respond?


JV: My first set went over really well. I still remember the first joke I ever told, which looking back on it is cringe worthy. The first joke I ever told was: “So I’m a fat kid who wants to be a stand-up comic which is code for ‘I’m a virgin’.” [I did] five minutes. I got off stage, I walked right out of the Brain Wash, didn’t talk to anybody. I called my mom. [At this time] Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams had some handprints in some cement around the corner from the Brainwash. I walked past that and thought “I fucking made it man! I’m here!”

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