Local comedian Jessica Kirson returns to SOPAC
Local comedian Jessica Kirson is coming home. The funny lady will return to her hometown of South Orange to perform at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on Saturday night.
In between filming a segment for “Dr. Oz” and working on the pilot episode of her prank comedy show, “The Jessy K Show,” Kirson called to talk about her upcoming venue and her past experiences.
Kirson, who has laughed her way through appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Last Call with Carson Daly” and competed on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” is a woman with a deep voice and a quick laugh. While the characters (and hyperactive caricatures) she utilizes onstage are loud and in-your-face, she is professional and to the point on the phone, as she talks about the place she once called home.
“I like to do material about the town and the area,” Kirson said. “So [at SOPAC] I’ll probably joke about certain things in town. I’ll talk about the Livingston Mall or the Short Hills Mall – reference local places that a local audience knows.”
Kirson has deep roots in South Orange. She attended South Orange Middle School and Columbia High School, and her mother still lives here, so she tries to visit often. She has performed at Seton Hall three times and calls herself “very much a college comic.”
Kirson is also the sister-in-law of another local star, actor and writer Zach Braff (“Scrubs,” “Garden State”).
“My family’s coming to the show,” Kirson said. “They always try to come. I live in Long Island now, but I still have a place in Montclair, so I try to come home all the time.”
Kirson said she always tries to prepare before going into a show.
“I’ll research the area, just so I know a little about it,” she said. “But a lot of what I do is improv. It actually makes it more interesting. I find it so much more interesting to be in the moment and be present – it’s one of my strengths. Some comics do that and some don’t. That comes with experience.”
Kirson’s experiences are extensive: she has performed at numerous venues in New York including the Gotham Comedy Club, and traveled around the world with her act, performing in places such as Stockholm, Las Vegas and South Beach.
Though she has a busy schedule, Kirson said she would not have her work any other way.
“Thank God now at this level I can pick and choose a little more,” she said. “In the beginning I had to do every [venue] I could.”
Not every gig is so easy though. Kirson admits to having her fair share of tough crowds who seemed unbreakable.
“Every single comic has had a ton of them,” she said. “It is what it is, and you have to accept that as stand up and keep going.”
In the rare event Kirson has downtime in her schedule, she said she enjoys doing “literally nothing” and spending time with her 5-year-old daughter, Zoey.
“She comes onstage sometimes,” Kirson said of her daughter, the smile evident in her voice. “She’s amazing and comfortable onstage. She takes acting lessons, so she’s a natural. I would never encourage her to do this because it’s such hard work, but she’s great.”
After SOPAC, Kirson said she will go back to back to working on “The Jessy K Show.” The show’s YouTube channel has almost 2 million views and almost 100 videos.
“I’m just grateful to be working,” Kirson said with a laugh. “Some people complain about not working, so I would never complain about the amount of work I do.”
Tickets for Kirson’s SOPAC performance were still available as of press time. Tickets can be purchased or reserved by calling the SOPAC box office at (973) 313-ARTS.
Erin Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.