Jessica Kirson is a comic’s comic

The New York comedian stopped by CultureShift to talk about how hard work, authenticity and social media have played a role in her career.

Jessica Kirson stands in front of the WDET 101.9 FM sign at the station

Jessica Kirson at the WDET studios.

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Jessica Kirson has been a staple of the New York comedy scene for decades. She performed at The Detroit House of Comedy last weekend, and she stopped by CultureShift to talk about how hard work, authenticity and social media have played a role in her career.

When she first started out, she would perform stand-up anywhere she could: Laundromats, supermarkets, bars, with inattentive audiences and little to no pay. She says the grit and grind made her a better comedian.

“I feel like it really got me to where I am and it got me really good a lot quicker because I worked hard for it.”

Now, she’s playing some of comedy’s biggest venues and has surrounded herself with an impressive network of comedians, including the likes of Bill Burr.

“I’m so grateful for the career I’ve had. I really want to help people, and it’s come back to me tenfold.”

Her comedy style is a mix of self-deprecation, observation and characters like “TikTok Influencer” and “Old Jewish Lady.” She says expressing herself authentically is imperative to her comedy.

“When you’re a stand-up, you have to be present. So if I don’t get it out and talk about it, I’m not present. I’m not even there.”

Her documentary, “Hysterical,” is available for streaming on Hulu and FX now.


Listen: Kirson talks cancel culture, being a comic’s comic and defying gender expectations.

 

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Authors

  • Sophia Jozwiak is the Digital Content and Communities Assistant for 101.9 WDET.

  • Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift 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.