Bay Area attorney Annick Adelle has decided to face one of her biggest fears: stand-up comedy. After starting in 2016, she is releasing her own album and touring throughout the United States. In Between Two Worlds, Adelle (who lives between gender norms, but who also uses she/her pronouns) talks about living between worldsbetween genders, between corporate America and a career in the arts, and between NYC and Germany.
Windy City Times: What were you doing in San Francisco, originally?
Annick Adelle: I was a licensed attorney by trade, and because the tech company was headquartered in San Francisco, they invited me to work at headquarters. Then I had six weeks off because I was with them for five years, so I said, "Perfect. I'm going to do something that scares the hell out of me"and that was stand-up comedy. Ever since then, I was hooked.
WCT: As a kid, were you the funny one in your family?
AA: Yeah, I mean without knowing. But in hindsight that was all I was doing at parties, with girls; I was trying to be the funniest person.
WCT: What does your family think about this new career change?
AA: I was on the trajectory to be general counsel of Airbnb or something. It's kind of like coming out. You have to choose happiness. You can't be what everyone else wants you to be. In the beginning they questioned what I was doing, but now they're supportive. They recognize you're a person, so they're now going around and rooting for me.
WCT: Have they been to one of your shows yet?
AA: Oh, yeah, and my mom doesn't even speak English. She was just sitting there, laughing. I was even talking about her, telling people that she was my mom and she didn't understand a thing I was saying.
WCT: Having done standup in both Europe and the United States, what is Europe like? What's the difference between the crowds?
AA: They're all good spirited. No one shows up to be an asshole. Everybody gives you kudos for doing this because it takes guts. They all recognize that. I will say that European crowds are very attentive and have maybe a longer attention span. You can tell a story and they won't get bored or anxious. I'm not judging this is just what I dealt with. Europeans will be a little bit less forgiving if the joke isn't clever. I think in America people are more open to silliness and risk taking. There are a lot of differences and it is very interesting. ... In America if people clap that's like whoa, a big deal. In Germany they clap because they appreciate it.
WCT: What did you listen to growing up? Who did you watch?
AA: Well, that's the interesting part. I was raised in Germany. I wasn't born there. There wasn't a standup culture when I was growing up there. Open mics didn't exist. What existed was satire and political commentary, obviously funny, but standup comedy did not exist. So I didn't have anyone to look up to. So my comedic inspiration was just me. But then when I got to the states I realized this was a job, this was a career. I don't have anyone that I look up to. I'm trying to be my own.
WCT: Was doing standup a dare to yourself?
AA: Absolutely. It was a challenge to myself. It had been on my mind for years, but I never had the guts to do it. To do it was two things. Hey, maybe you'll actually keep doing it. And secondly, let's see if I've got the balls. I came off the stage was like that's exactly what I want to do. I mean, it was terrible, everyone's first time is, but I knew what I wanted to do.
WCT: What advice do you have to LGBTQ+ youth wanting to get started in stand-up comedy?
AA: I struggle with this topic because it is both who I am, an LGBTQ member, and I love the community and the cause. I'm always going to route for minorities. At the same time, I want to talk about it on stage, but I don't want to talk about it just on stage. ... I love it, but I want to keep a good balance. Do I have any advice? I guess, just be yourself and go for it.
WCT: Where do you see your career going? Do you want big standup specials every year, or do you want to carve out a piece for yourself and tour where and when you want?
AA: I will say this: My priority will be that I get to standup comedy where I want with the location I want, with a following of people that love to see me in bigger and bigger venues. That would be my dream, just to be on stage and doing standup. That's what we do. We enjoy the moment, but we also want to open minds and eyes and have fun. If I can do that? Uh, perfect!
Be sure to check out Annick's new album, Between Two Worlds, out Friday, Aug. 12 on Blonde Medicine.