Mary Beth Barone Is the Comedian to Have on Your Radar

In one of the episodes you say, “When I see a guy in a beanie, my first thought is, What’s he hiding?” In your opinion, what are some other alarming fashion choices?

In my intro for my live show, I go through the fuckboy starter pack, and that includes joggers, vaping at formal events, which I do consider a vape an accessory, so if they are vaping out in public or at the Oscars, for example, that is a red flag to me. Wearing a huge watch. I don’t know why, but they love to have a huge watch. Also, when they have that very defined, pronounced line in their haircut. And then, I would say for women fedoras—I had a personal experience with one, so that’s something I am going to avoid—and a lot of bracelets. For girls, it’s stick-and-poke tattoos, and for guys, it’s thigh tattoos. Just be weary. I am not saying anyone that has those things is bad, but I am saying there might be a higher chance, and that’s just based on qualitative data. 

On the flip side of that, what, in your opinion, makes for a foolproof first-date look?

Okay, a foolproof first-date look. I just posted someone’s tweet about this on @DragHisAss. Dressing well as a guy is literally so easy. Wear Converse, straight-leg jeans—not skinny jeans but straight-leg jeans—and either a button-down or a collared shirt or even a black T-shirt. Just show that you put in a little effort without raising any red flags. I think girls have a lot more options because guys don’t look for red flags because maybe girls are just better, but I’m not sure. It’s so tough because I really wasn’t dating much at all before the pandemic, but it depends. When I am going on a date with a girl, I can wear spandex shorts and a crop top with a crossbody bag with my sneakers. Dates with a guy, you gotta really dumb it down, like jeans and a blouse. See, the thing with guys is they get very confused by fashion. So if you are going to a bar to try and meet a guy, it’s good to wear things that confuse them. It’s as simple as painting one nail a different color than the rest. A guy will ask you about that and try to parse out some kind of meaning. So that’s a good conversation starter. 

I want to talk about your stand-up. How would you describe your comedy style? 

Dry. I would say very deadpan. I think it’s social commentary and speaking about my experiences as a young woman living in a big city and just trying to make those things funny. One time, Time Out New York said it was “dark postmodernism,” and I think I clung onto that because it sounds smart but also because I looked up what postmodernism is, and it is accurate. 

At what point did you realize you could make this your career?

My gateway drug [to comedy] was doing improv at Upright Citizens Brigade. I was doing that for a couple months before I bought a little notebook and started writing things down. I was watching a lot of comedy and trying to absorb as much as I could, and I said, “You know what, I’m going to do an open mic at UCB.” It was an all-women’s open mic. You spend two minutes on stage, which is still so terrifying even though it’s 120 seconds. I pretty much said before I went up there, “If I bomb, I will never do it again,” and then, my set went so well. As soon as I got off stage, I was like, “Okay, I think I just found the thing I need to do.” It was that high that you then keep chasing. I think there is a certain level of delusion to setting out to be a successful comedian, and I think I had just the right amount of delusion. 

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