Camila Ballario finds her voice in comedy

The local comedian talks mixing music with standup and what to expect from her show on June 30.

Detroit has one of the best standup comic scenes in the country. All the big names in comedy get their start by working at small clubs and bars in their city, and on Thursday, June 30, What’s So Funny About Detroit will return to the Old Miami to connect you to those rising stars here in Detroit. Each ticket to this live comedy showcase supports both public radio and local comedians who struggled to get back onstage during the pandemic. Tickets are available at

One of the six comedians performing in the showcase is Camila Ballario. She performed at the Old Miami last year and quickly became a crowd favorite.

Her comedy career began in Detroit at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle about six years ago. She took classes where she could vet her material through other comedians before performing it for a sold out audience of 400.

“I loved it,” she says. “I felt immediately at home.”

Ballario was no stranger to the stage. She gigged as a musician for most of her life, participating in musical theater and even studying opera at the University of Michigan. But she says comedy allowed her to be more authentically herself.

“Being back onstage but allowing it to be a bit more vulnerable – just being myself up there, Camila as Camila – was kind of a new experience for me, and it was exhilarating. I couldn’t stop after that.”

She still incorporates her musical background into her sets, performing a mixture of musical comedy and straight standup.

“It’s all about finding your voice in comedy, and the sooner you can find your voice, the better. I think young comics often – for good reason – will try to emulate their largest inspirations, and they go onstage thinking that’s how to be successful. When they realize they get farther by being their unique self, it’s much easier. It’s much harder to write in someone else’s voice than your own.”

Photo credit: Tia Graham/WDET

Listen: Comedian Camila Ballario talks why Detroit audiences are the best.



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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.