Today we’d like to introduce you to Katy French and Jonathan Rowell.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Katy and Jonathan. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Jonathan: I started doing standup back in 2010 when I was 18. I was very inspired in high school by comedians like Margaret Cho, Sarah Silverman, and Greg Giraldo. And I would go to shows around town in high school like What’s Up Tiger Lily as well as open mics, but I’d never perform. And then one day I worked up the courage to get up at a mic in Hollywood, and I’ve never looked back since. The past nine years have been very difficult in terms of navigating the industry, which I feel is a constant struggle for most people, but it’s also been super rewarding in terms of growing my own personal ability onstage and in the wonderful people I’ve met through doing comedy. I can’t imagine another thing I should be doing, however, that thought can bring me security but also panic. Katy and I were acquaintances early on but became close friends when she moved to LA, and I insisted we do a show together.
Katy: I started standup like when I was depressed and working at my first-day job out of college (“Dog Fancy” magazine—RIP) in Orange County. I’d always loved comedy and figured bombing couldn’t be worse than talking to crazy dog people all day, so I finally got the nerve to go to my first open mic and never looked back. I moved to LA a few years later and was thrilled to find 1) Other female stand-ups and 2) Jonathan Rowell. Jonathan and I bonded over being the only non-Straight White Males in a room (and named our first show Straight White Males in honor of that). We’ve been doing standup, writing sketches, and casting spells ever since. “Living With Jonathan and Katy” is our latest venture, and it’s my favorite thing we’ve ever done.
Has it been a smooth road?
Jonathan: Absolutely not a smooth road. It’s been filled with bombing, despair, combating hecklers (many of whom are racist and homophobic), being broke, ending friendships, meeting awful people, and simply not being able to have a normal personal life. However, for every bad thing, I think there are two good things to outweigh each con.
Comedy has given me insight to who I truly am to myself, how others perceive me, the ability to work a room, amazing lifelong friendships, problem-solving skills, and above all the ability to persevere.
Katy: Starting in OC was the best worst way to get into standup. I was often the only female at a mic or on a lineup, so moving to LA was a big culture shock for me. (Again, I can’t tell you how psyched I am to see so many more women in standup now.) I used to resent being surrounded by nothing but dudes, but looking back I’m glad for the trial-by-fire. My comedic “safe space” is a dive bar in Huntington Beach full of wasted bros, so there’s very little that phases me.
That said, standup is a brutal art, and it will make you feel simultaneously invincible and absolutely fucking insane. But the most fulfilling part is that you find yourself in all sorts of places, from coffee shops to halfway houses, getting to meet the funniest, most fascinating people from all walks of life. Plus, you always have a story—and fellow comics to commiserate with.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Jonathan: I’m very flattered that you’re referring to us as a “company.” Personally, my stand up is very autobiographical. I focus mainly on gay and Latino topics because those are the things that interest me the most. In terms of ‘Living with Jonathan & Katy’, our thing is being like a gay guy/straight girl Mr. Rogers meets Sesame Street. Very DIY. Very Silly. Just two real friends being ridiculous and curious about the world around them. I’m proud of the many things Katy and I have created over the years, from our live shows to sketches, but this web series above all because it feels like the culmination of who we both are.
Katy: “Living With Jonathan and Katy” is our dream talk show. We talk to people from all walks of life about interesting subjects, from bodybuilding and drag to tagging and death, and we get to ask our expert guests the questions we really want to ask, like do drag queens truly hate white women at drag brunch? And what’s the best makeup brand for dead people? (Spoiler: Maybelline.) We want it to be outrageous and entertaining but also educational—like an NPR interview hijacked by two drunk interns.
What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
Jonathan: In terms of career luck, I’ve had very little of that. However, I received the most luck in meeting some truly talented, fierce, and kind people.
Katy: Luck is nice, but work is better. Thus far, I’ve had the good luck to meet Jonathan and work with a lot of other brilliantly funny people. Something I love most about LA is how much hustle people have, especially when they have nothing. You can do a lot more than you think you can—you just need the balls to do it.
Web Series eps to embed (if possible):
- Website: Katy French: www.katyfrench.com Jonathan Rowell: www.jonathanrowellcomedy.com
- Instagram: Katy: @katyfrench Jonathan: @jonathanrowellcomedian . Show: @livingwithjonathankaty
- Facebook: Katy: /katyifrench Jonathan: /jonathan.rowell.75 Show: /LivingWithJK
- Twitter: Katy: @katyifrench Jonathan: @JonRowell Show: LivingWithJK