Arts and Culture

Standup ShaNae Ross on clean comedy, Denver's best venues and being the "Butt Girl"

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Westword: How did you get started in standup?

ShaNae Ross: Oh, man. That's many, many moons ago. [Laughs.] Actually, it was recommended. Someone from my church was like, "You should try being a comedian." I was like, "Oh... kay." So, I did my research and started off at Comedy Works. I started doing some open mics there, and the competitions that they had. Then I ventured off and came here to the Denver Improv. I've been doing comedy for seven years now.

Were you the funny kid in school? Did people just see that in you? Yeah. It was the Senior Superlatives. I was voted "Class Clown" and "Funniest Female" in middle school and in high school. I never thought that I would be a comedian, but I've been stuck with it ever since.

Do you have standup comedy heroes that you look up to? Yeah, I do. I think, for me, it's the normal ones like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy -- and, I would say, female comics like LaWanda Page, Moms Mabley, Wanda Sykes, Ellen DeGeneres. Yeah, there's a few.

Do you see it as harder for women to be accepted in the comedy world, or is it pretty common at this point? Nah, I still think it's a challenge, because they see us before they actually hear us. For me, I've got not only the fact that I'm a female comic, but it's also me being a minority. That has something to do with it as well -- especially here in Colorado. It's more of a challenge to do comedy here versus the South or the East Coast.

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Jesse Livingston
Contact: Jesse Livingston