Sketchfest Interview: Clare O’Kane

by Dakin Hardwick on January 21, 2015


An important message from Clare O’Kane.

Clare O’Kane used to be one of the funniest women in San Francisco. I say “used to,” because she recently left us to live in Los Angeles. We recently had a chance to talk to her about making the transition from SF comic to LA comic, ahead of her stretch of homecoming shows during Sketchfest. Here’s a link to the many gigs she’s doing, including a session of Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction with the great Laraine Newman!

Why did you move to LA?

Initially I moved here for love. And then it became for love and love of comedy. I’m trying to figure out how the suystem works here. It’s difficult and different. But I’m glad I get to do it here. There are more opportunities and “blah blah blah…” It’s a little too big for my taste.

What’s the biggest difference in terms of getting gigs in LA versus SF?

Here it’s a lot about who you know and have seen you do well. You are constantly trying to make yourself visible. Back in San Francisco, it’s easier to be yourself because you aren’t trying to impress anyone other than your peers. Once you’ve done that, it’s like, “I can have fun and be myself and people will like me.” In LA, everyone is still trying to be themselves, but cater it to what the higher powers think is best.  It’s harder to stay yourself here and not get sucked into the wants and needs of others that have more power.

When you lived up here, I remember you were fond of a lot of very unique shows with very specific rules. Are you able to find shows like that in LA?

There’s a show down here called “Picture This” where an animator animates your stand up set. You have to work with the animator, so the beats are different. You want to make them look good, they want to make you look good, working in that capacity… There are shows that are improvised stand up where they’ll just give you a word and you have to improvise a whole set based on that word or phrase. It’s a great exercise that helps make you a better comedian. It’s not as open to newer comedians as SF. Those shows are mostly for people that are well established that bookers know will put on a good show. They are used to more challenges and they will deal with them better. There needs to be more shows like that! They have shows like that in Chicago and Portland. Those are the most important shows. They keep things fun & less monotonous.

You recently attempted to do a live version of your digital short series Blessed. How did that turn out?

We, honestly, I don’t even know… We have never performed live before, so we incorporated videos and live sketch, and we are all stand ups, so we each did a stand up set. I was surprised to see that the audience wasn’t all people that we knew. That was to our disadvantage in the beginning. But, really quickly, people caught on that it was all in shambles and put together at the last minute, and that’s why it was good. All of our videos that we put the least amount on effort into seem really thoughtful and interesting. I think that that it turned out great. I got pretty drunk.

Do you think you’ll do another live show?

I think we will. Of course, I’m saying that without talking to the other members. That’s really respectful <of me> and never awkward or weird.

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