This Friday, comedienne Michelle Buteau will be performing stand-up at Hollins University. Come by the RAT at 8:00 on Friday, September 28th for a night of unabashedly honest, incredibly witty humor. Can’t wait until then? Check out our five minute interview with Michelle for a taste of her ‘just do you’ attitude. Want even more? Download her free podcast on ITunes.
AR: Not everyone makes it in your field. What gives you your edge?
MB: I just do, not worry. I’m just myself, honestly, and I live out loud…even though that sounds like an Oxygen Channel promo…
AR: No! At Hollins, we have a “just do you” mentality.
MB: Exactly. A lot of people are obsessed with with an ideal or a standard they have to live up to or achieve and I’m not about that.
AR: How do you deal with being a successful, talented woman in a male dominated field?
MB: I don’t think too much about it. I do the best job I can do and worrying about gender roles would take up my energy. Being a man will give you a leg up but I go into everything with the mindset that I am only in competition with myself.
AR: Do you have any advice for women who are interested in theater or performance art as a career?
MB: It’s a calling. Any art is. You can’t have one foot in and one foot out. Being an artist is a full time job and it’s an alternative career so you really have to do it for the love of it. A lot of people go in with this idea of becoming famous but with reality TV. and social media, you can be famous for absolutely no reason. If you’re going to go into comedy or any type of art you have to go into it doing the best job you can do, every time you do something.
AR: What was your college experience like?
MB: It was great because I grew up in New Jersey and then went to school in Miami and there were things like palm trees! And diversity! It was like Spring Break all year round.
AR: Who do you look to for inspiration? Do you have any big influential figures that you admire?
MB: I don’t really have any heroes. I believe in being the best me I can be and I don’t rate myself by the success of others. Of course, my parents are awesome and let’s be honest, Oprah is amazing, so I guess I would say that I admire anyone who can make something out of nothing and help others.
AR: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the students at Hollins?
MB: College kids sometimes have bad experiences in stand up comedy and decide ‘okay, this sucks,’ but comedy is a gift and you should come at it like someone is sharing their gift with you as opposed to ‘tap dance for me, Monkey!’ Also, never ask a comedian if they know someone more famous than they are. Not cute.