Arts and Culture

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

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Is it important to you to talk about being a woman or being African-American onstage? Yeah, I talk about it. But I really don't have to, because they notice that I am. [Laughs.] I try to push the envelope, so I talk about things that other people probably won't talk about -- for instance, my grandmother having Alzheimer's, or the fact that I have two dads. It's just a combination of everything. It depends on the day.

Right. Well, the easy angle on this story would be "female African-American comedian." Do you think of yourself that way, or do you just think of yourself as a comedian? I just think of myself as "comedian." I don't see color, by any means. But you'd be surprised how much other people do. They do see color. But I just consider myself a comedian. I want to make everybody laugh. It doesn't matter the race, sex, anything.

Do you draw a lot from your life in your material? I do. I stay away from current events... Well, it depends what the current event is. Politics I don't really dive into, or religious views. I feel like everybody has their own opinion of religion, and I'm not one to try to deter them. I just kind of stay away from it.

What kinds of jokes make you laugh? Do you have certain subjects that really get you? Nah, I'll pretty much laugh at anything, especially if it's original or unique. Yeah, I'll pretty much laugh at anything.

Do you like the storytelling style of comedy? I do. I even appreciate the raw comedic style that's out there. Those who are willing to talk on risky subjects that I won't talk about, I appreciate that.

Are there any subjects that you think should be off-limits in comedy? No. Because that would take away our First Amendment right. So, no. [Laughs.]

You perform quite a bit in Denver. Do you have plans to tour nationally? I would love to do that. I've been blessed to do shows in Kansas City, L.A. -- at the end of the month, I'm going to Baltimore. So, yeah, I would love to travel nationally, tour with a headliner, or perhaps have my own headlining show. I'm pretty comfortable with people knowing me here in Colorado. I feel like people know me, but a lot of people still don't know who I am.

Denver has a pretty impressive comedy scene at this point. Do you get out a lot and watch other comics work? Yeah, I do. I have to feed my craft. That's where I get ideas, is from watching other comedians here -- whether it's at the Comedy Works north or south, or at the Improv, or wherever.

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Jesse Livingston
Contact: Jesse Livingston