Week of June 8th, 2018
Meet Chicago’s own comedian to watch—Jan Slavin.
Q: What inspired you to start stand-up comedy?
A: I’ve always been funny and I knew it from a young age when the adults around me would validate my existence by laughing at me. I loved getting other kids together for mischievous activities, such as disrobing and doing crazy dances around the living room. Making fun of the teacher earned me big laughs as a kid (and also caused a lot disciplinary action). I’ve been doing musical cabaret shows for a long time and realized that the patter between songs is what I love doing the most. I guess I just love to make people laugh, no matter what I have to do to achieve that goal, and that is my inspiration. I’ll take the fall as a clown anytime.
Q: Describe your first performance?
A: The graduate show of Feminine Comique (taught by Kelsie Huff) was a defining moment when I realized I might actually have a future in this field because I could finally organize my crazy thoughts through the skills I learned in class. I still have my tape of that show and I laugh when I watch it because I was so honest and brave and completely free.
Q: Do you have “pre-show” rituals? If so, what are they?
A: I have to eat something as I am always afraid I’ll get low blood sugar on stage, which is ridiculous, but that is a fear of mine. My go-to is cottage cheese and banana, something I would never think of eating in any other situation. I also like to see the crowd beforehand—sometimes you have to peek from behind a curtain—I can tell if they are a “good” group just from the chatter I hear and if they are “up” for a great time.
Q: Where in the world is your favorite place to perform stand up? Why is this your favorite place?
A: I like any room with cabaret type seating (small tables and chairs) where I can actually see the crowd and individual people. I love the Comedy Shrine and Davenport’s for this reason. They also have a touch of class and, of course, I am very classy.
Q: What shows, podcasts, blogs do you produce or co-produce?
A: I produce and host the High Fiber Comedy Show. It’s comedy by older hilarious people and for older people, although younger people love it too. Baby Boomers need a place to go to enjoy comedy by and with their peers. We often don’t get the references of the younger generations and feel completely left out of the laughter, which is just excruciating to sit through! I also do a musical show with my dear friend, Pam Peterson, called The Boomer Babes. We write parodies and have the best time with the audience.
Q: What are three of your favorite things?
A: My grandchildren, bubble baths and dining al fresco.
Q: What is your favorite sammich?
A: Lox and cream cheese on a bagel with raw onion and tomato. Hey, I’m a Jew!
Q: What’s one thing people assume about you, that is or isn’t true?
A: That I am always happy-go-lucky. So not true. I have super dark moments.
Q: If you weren’t a comic, what other job would you love to do?
A: A musician in an orchestra. I love ensemble work and being a part of something bigger than myself. I would have to learn an instrument first, although I do play piano and ukulele—in a very mediocre way.
Q: What are some comedy goals/dreams you have on your To Do List?
A: Tour the world with people like Mona. And also, to get my High Fiber Comedy into clubs and performing arts centers all over the country.
Q: What quality, trait &/or body part do you really like about yourself?
A: My humor is what sustains me. I used to really like my eyebrows but they’re gone now.
Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about you? [or anything else you’d like mentioned, ie your education, personal life or mission statement]
A: I wish they knew how easily I am hurt by any sort of criticism. Truly, I cannot handle it. Also, that my life has not been easy and I have great empathy for others, despite my flippancy.
Q: How will you know you “Made It?”
A: I will have enough money to sustain my lifestyle, which is actually quite simple but the financial struggle will be over.
- 6.9.2018: “The Boomer Babes-Still Rockin’!” – Skokie Theatre
- 6.16.2018: “The High Fiber Comedy Show” – The Comedy Shrine
- 8.12.2018: “The High Fiber Comedy Show” – Skokie Theatre