Tickets on sale NOW: 3 Blonde Moms....See How They Run!
September 18th, 8pm
142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley
Want to hear something funny? Go find a comedian. How about 3! 3 Blonde Moms are rolling into Marin with their hilarious hit comedy show called "See How They Run!" I sat down with Joanie, the Bossy Mom, creator and producer of the show to see how these 3 blonde (all natural of course) friends with their own successful comedy careers came together.
Hit me (but not too hard) with a pitch on your upcoming show? Give me a brief me on each of the 3 Blonde Moms?
We are 3 unlikely friends on a cul-de-sac. Well, we all live in The Valley. We each lived close by but this last month both Beaumont Bacon and Donna Cherry hubbies are now employed on the east coast but we are still a trio. I’ve been producing the show for 12 years and the 3 of us are distinctly different that none of our material overlaps.
I, Joanie Fagan, am perky mom. That Martha Stewart wanna be but I fall short of being perfect or being Martha Stewart (another blonde.) I’m always one craft away from snapping. I think I’m perfect but I’ll walk out of the house with a velcro roller on the back of my head.
Beaumont Bacon is the feisty mom. She tells it like it is. Beaumont is from Texas and it doesn’t get any feistier then that. She’s about 5ft. and a whipper snapper. She is in a different phase of her life. Her children are older and she’s re-learning how to date her husband again. Reentering that phase of her life she is so use to bossing people around she says to her husband at the movies “Get me some popcorn, oh, I mean, I love you!”
Donna Cherry is the hot momma. Always perfect with her make-up and heals. Donna actually is a former Ms. California. She is perfection. Always put together. She is very girlie, loves pink and has 2 boys 7 & 17 so she has great boy jokes. She is a Juliard trained singer, use to open for Barry Manalow and does these amazing singing impressions of famous moms.
Donna is the really put together, show business mom while Beaumont and I are jeans and sweats. So, if you are not one of us, you know one us.
How is juggling motherhood, a career, personal time working out for you?
All things go back to being a good mom whether it looks like that or not. Being a comedian meant I can bring money into our household which lets my child do more things but I am lucky because I get to work in spurts. 3 Blonde Moms performs 1-2 times a month and then I am a stay-at-home mom 90% of the time so it actually works out really well. And the kids get to travel with us to really cool places like Washington DC and San Francisco.
50% of the time we perform, we donate the show for charity. One year I donated the show to Save the Tata’s which was on the Royal Caribbean in the Bahamas.
It a great balance, I am home most of the time, I make an income for the family, I get to make other families happy and my 13 year old daughter will not let me leave the house in sweats.
We tend to isolate ourselves a lot and think we are the only one going though what we are going through because we get so busy. When I perform, I meet women who haven’t been out in so long and its so therapeutic. They laugh so hard they cry, it’s like a release. Laugher heals. Laughter is jogging on the inside. At the end of a 90 minute show people say "I feel better and lighter, refreshed, I can start the new day." We forget how important laughing is.
Personal time: I start feeling really weird if I don’t go hiking, getting my nature fix, beach, woods, camping.
My 10 year old daughter says she wants to be a paleontologist and a comedian. Were you a funny kid? What advice would you give to a kid who wants to be a comedian?
Yes, I was funny. In class, way back when there was no iPhones, I was a notorious note writer. I would write a note and send it to the back of the class and my friend would start laughing and I would get into trouble. I took a lot of acting, drama and improv classes. I was at Harvey Lembecks Comedy Workshop for six years and then I went to The Groundlings. As soon as your daughter can, join an improv class. You learn timing and find out what you are funny at. Some people are funny writers, some are funny characters, some are physically funny, some people just stand there and have such a dry wit. Get her into acting or improv classes as soon as she can so she can start exercising that muscle.
And also she should still focus on paleontology and keep going in that direction. I have a journalism degree from USC and it was something I could always fall back on and I use it now when I write press releases. You can’t be diverse enough. The more you have in life, the more you can talk about it and reflect it on stage. Her interest is so fascinating and specific that her talking about that or relating it to life and tying it all together is very unique.
Who did you admire or influenced you to become a stand up?
Sadly we lost Joan Rivers and Robin Williams so recently. Both of those people have had a thread through my life as either motivators or people I looked up to. And then I eventually met Robin twice at the Throckmorton Theatre which was amazing to me because I’m also an actor and he’s been able to live in both worlds. He was just so nice.
Joan Rivers always said “Stand up comedy is a calling” because it’s so odd that we would want to go on stage and tell jokes to people and make them laugh. It’s so hard at the beginning when you don’t have enough material but it is a calling.
How do you envision 3 Blonde Moms in the future?
3 Blonde Moms has been a live stage show for a long time. And I do other things, I have a vod-cast (video podcast) called The Joanie Show. I did 10 episodes at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club - I LOVED IT. I finally got to use my journalism degree, I got to interview great people and it was a lot of fun.
The thing I want to do next is go into movies. "The Adventures of the 3 Blonde Moms" because we are so different from each other - we can take adventures to Vegas or go camping. Like the Vacation movies but more PG and showcase the things we naturally go through. I envision one of the moms would only communicate with her kids through texting back and forth - we never see the kids just their hands. Outline everything into a scripted featured film. Moms are just amazing!
What do your spouses and kids think of your act? What compromises have you had to make? Is there territory that they ask you not to talk about?
The spouses are cool with it. Actually, we don’t talk about them much. I know a lot of comics are more male bashing. We talk about ourselves and how we fit into the world. The in-laws, you have to explain, I might say a thing or 2 but it’s done in the best of ways. Like my husbands 4 sister all came to my wedding pregnant and they are all brides maids so I just line them up in order of trimester. They got progressively larger as they walked down the aisle and we had to keep adding panels to their dresses. It was ok, I came down feeling “Oh, look how fit I am." Its all in fun - they’re ok about it.
The kids we talk about them sometimes. For instance, with my 13 year old I have to shop at certain stores for birthday parties like Brandy Melville. On the door it says one size fits all. So, I walked up to the counter and I am about a size 10 (hmmm, perhaps a little smaller). I said to the clerk, "One size fits all?" And he looked at me up and down and he says "Well, not all." I thought, I think I’ll go try on all your stretchy clothes NOW. Things happen - we’re kind of talking about the kids but in the friendliest of ways and experiences we go through. My daughter likes being on stage and they love that we make people laugh.
You each had successful careers in show business. What made you realize you wanted to collaborate together and create a stand up routine? When did you get that ah ha moment?
When I birthed my child, a couple of years later, I birthed the show. I found when I did stand up while I was pregnant and talking about my experiences anticipating being a mom, people totally listened. They thought it’s so interesting, no one is talking about that. Then when I had my daughter I stayed with her for the 1st 2 years and I was talking about being a mom. If found people were leaning in, nodding their head and relating to what I was talking about. Before that, my material might have been funny but it wasn’t relatable or real until I became a mom. I thought, I’m peaky and blonde so I thought it would be really to have 3 totally different moms on stage and conceived 3 Blonde Moms. Then I sang the nursery rhyme but said “3 Blonde Moms, See How They Run” and the title clicked together. Diversity on the stage just took off. We were selling out shows in advance. My favorite part is meeting other moms with the same experiences. I found a niche that’s not being represent.
How old are your kids? Who has the funniest kid and why?
We all have funny kids in their own way. Beaumont has 2 girls 10 & 15 and the whole family is funny. Donna's 7 year old wants to be Indiana Jones and runs around with a hat and whip. My 13 year old daughter is funny. When I started the show my daughter was a baby. Years ago, my daughter has such a sweet soul, but one day I walked into a room and turned on the light and she said, “No, no mommy. You look so much better in the dark.” And I looked at her and said “Aw, thank you honey." It was so adorable.
So, do you write your own routines or do your kids =)
Ha, we all write our own material. It’s a hybrid - from the beginning I talk about how different we are, how different our husbands, kids, background, etc. By the time we go one stage together it’s like you already know us.
Did your parents support your dreams? Is "funny" in your genetic make up?
When I was growing I took acting classes. My dad is a lawyer and he thought I’d grow out of it. I never did. So he said, well, just go to college and get a degree and then you can do that as your minor. I did that. I went to college in journalism but minored in theatre, went to improv classes. It was my path all along. When I was little, I was always performing so my parents eventually thought she is actually good and motivated and they did get behind me. I have a head for business and creative. Just the fact that I was creating this whole act on my own my parents said are so proud of me. They have come to ever show that is close by in LA. My mom passed away last year and my dad is 86 and still practices law and he still comes to shows and still couldn’t be more proud.
They say "if you don't ask you don't get.” Of course, you need talent too. What lengths have you gone through to go after what you want and standing up for yourself?
As Joan Rivers said, that is where the calling comes in. It’s almost an undeniable course that we are set on because it can be challenging and difficult and there is sexism and ageism. It’s better now but luckily I created 3 Blonde Moms out of thin air and we are all out there and the audience proves we, and all other moms, have something important to talk about, and relatable and significant. The proof is in the actual results so I don’t have to pay attention to all that stuff luckily.
You can listen to “no" all day long but I carved my own path, and we fill these rooms and get repeat audiences who want to hear from us.
Funniest person ever - past and present?
Beaumont is honestly is one of the funniest people I ever met. We are like 2 little girls on an airplane when we are traveling.
Robin William was one of my most favorite as both an actor and comic and work successfully in both worlds.
Joan Rivers, I saw her as a teenager in the Catskills and fell out of my chair laughing so hard. Watching her on E as the fashion police was so funny. She forged the path for women.
There weren’t many women doing stand up when I started. I was just behind Kathy Griffin, Rosie, and Ellen.
Growing up, Carol Burnett and her whole cast, Tim Conway and Harvey Corman, made me laugh so hard. When I started doing stand-up, one night at the Improv, Tim and Harvey were hosting and they brought me on stage. I was speechless.
People on Saturday Night Live - off and on, Gilda Radner when I was in college.
I always loved Peter Seller.
I was immersed in comedy since I was a baby.
Current comedians, so many - Kathy Griffin makes me laugh, she is unique with her own way. Zach Galifianakis - he’s an actor now but started as stand up, Steve Martin and Jamie Fox.
Parenthood is already a stand up act on a good day. What recommendations do you have to other moms and dads out there who want to consider stand up or writing humor especially about parenthood?
Just write especially in the beginning. I wrote down everything. I always had a pad or paper and pen ready to write. Because if it is funny to you it is probably funny to other people. The next step is get on stage and start doing it. There are open mic nights where you can try it out for 5 minutes and even if they don’t laugh eventually you’ll get into a rhythm where you’ll have punchlines and tighten up and get new material, get rid of what doesn’t work and keep what does work. It’s a whole process.
I teach at the San Francisco Comedy College a couple times a year and teach privately. It’s a great place. I love teaching because l love what I do so much, I love sharing it with other people. Almost anyone can be funny, and if you have a passion for it, you just need a little guidance.
Stand-up comics write "savers," funny comebacks for the things that can go wrong. Envision yourself on stage and various scenarios are bound to happen. What is the first thing that comes to your head when I say:
Hecklers? drunk - usually in theaters they don’t heckle although you’ll occasionally hear a mom say "Right On!" In comedy clubs they serve alcohol and shows are later, so heckling happens all the time. Sometimes it’s funny or can be a minefield. Your instinct has to say to I want to participate or is this a sinking ship. Sometimes it can be funny banter. I have a bit about being past puma and past cougar and I thought, what would be funny past cougar and I thought badger. But someone yelled out saber tooth - that was funny.
Bombing a joke? (i.e. they don’t laugh) awkward
Offending an audience member? more awkward
Loud ambient noise - people are drinking, maybe talking too loud, disruptive? distraction
Finish this sentence…..The best thing about being a comedian is…..?
Free therapy, I get to go on stage and talk about what ever I want and I have a captive audience.
What does being a comedian mean to you?
Aw, sweet question because of loosing 2 of my comic heroes, I feel like I have the ability and gift to bring laughter and joy and we need that so much that I am grateful I can do that.
What do you tell yourself on days when you really don't want to get out there? How do you stay motivated, focused, fresh and original?
The show must go on. At the end of the day and we’re professionals. Like yesterday, we found out about Joan Rivers passing but there were comedians booked and they were so sad about her passing but Joan Rivers, above of, would want us to go on stage and be funny. The last thing Joan and Robin would want is for anyone to be sad.
Are you going to write a joke about this conversation =)
I don’t have any jokes but I did have a lot of laughter in the conversation.
Aw, thank you Joanie!