Call Answered: Kendra Cunningham: "This Could Be You" at Don't Tell Mama
Unicorns, Boston, and Comedy all equal a really fun, inspiring, laugh out loud interview. Kendra Cunningham is funny, smart, tough, and brave with a perseverance most can’t comprehend. I’m beyond thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with her about her show This Could Be You. We also talk stand-up comedy, life in bed and so much more!
This Could Be You takes the audience on a journey. More than 20 years of self help books, affirmations and therapy have finally resulted in Kendra looking in the mirror and saying "I love and adore myself" and really meaning it this time. Kendra gets personal with the audience about her Boston-bred Irish Catholic family history and the realities of her emotional limitations, balancing humor with honesty.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian? My mother loved The Carol Burnett Show and I wanted to make my mother laugh the way Carol Burnett and Friends made her laugh. I have to say, my mother is probably the funniest person I know, so her love of laughter was a big inspiration.
2. What has been the most challenging part about pursuing a career in comedy? The most challenging part is delaying my desire to be a lady of luxury. I can’t wait to have enough money to spend every day like Faye Dunaway cast as a wealthy housewife. I’m kind of kidding but it is tough to keep the dream alive when you’re tired from doing shows at night, working at a job just for the money, and lacking on free time for self care.
You have to be self motivated and energetic to keep at stand up in New York City.
3. You are bringing your one-woman show, This Could Be You to Don't Tell Mama this November/December. What are you looking forward to about this run? I’m down to the last two shows. I have done four since May of this year. It’s exciting to see the show grow and develop with each performance. Every show I add something new and get more comfortable with the story.
4. What should audiences know about this show before attending? It’s an autobiographical comedy. I wear a sequin dress.
5. The show tells your story of finally being able to love yourself after 20 years of self-help books, affirmations, and therapy. Do you remember the exact day you finally accepted yourself? What was that moment like? It was more of a gradual thing, I do remember one day realizing I was proud of myself. It came up in conversation while I was bartending. I heard
myself say it and kinda went “hmm now that’s interesting.”
6. During these 20 years of searching, did you ever think of giving up? Yes. At least once a week.
7. What do you attribute to keep this search going? I like to cross things off my to do list. I feel like everything I’ve ever done in comedy - starting a blog, writing and producing web series,
releasing an album, this solo show - have all been a culmination of small steps on to do lists. One step at a time.
8. I read that one of your goals in life is to get paid to write from your bed where you eat, sleep, and occasionally entertain.
What is your favorite food to eat in bed? I can’t think of a food I haven’t eaten in bed. I would say pizza is probably the most common victim of my horizontal grazing.
How many hours of sleep do you get on a nightly basis? I like to get 8 hours of sleep, but I can get away with 6, but I will talk about it all day and for the next few days to follow.
What is one entertaining story about your bed you could share with us? I like to eat in bed, my duvet is like a 42 square foot cloth napkin. I woke up the other day with the tail end of a goldfish cracker stuck to my bare buttock. I thought, you say you want a husband but your behavior says otherwise.
9. Your debut album, Blonde Logic was released in 2016. What is one thing you have learned from being a blonde that perhaps another head color doesn't know? People have no problem questioning the authenticity of your hair color right to your face. I don’t know too many brunettes who have to answer “Is that natural? Do you color your hair? That can’t be real.” We
got it tough!
10. For this final question, let's play with the title of your web series Why Is Everybody Always Hitting On Me. What is the most outrageous story you can tell about being hit on? One time a guy said “Nice ass” I was feeling flirtatious so I said “Thank you.” He said “ I wasn’t talking to you.” Haha.
11. One bonus question. What do you love most about unicorns? The are beautiful and spark your curiousity at the same time.
More on Kendra:
Boston bred and Brooklyn based, Kendra Cunningham has been named as a "comic to watch" by Time Out New York and has been compared to Groucho Marx and Mae West by the UK’s Chortle. A regular on the New York and Boston comedy scene, she has previously been in the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, The Glasgow Comedy Festival, and was a finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival for two years in a row. She has twice appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing gaining two spots in the top 100 jokes of the season. She founded Malarkey Pictures along with her sketch partner, Vicky Kuperman and went on to produce dozens of short films including, the Award Winning short LonelyGirl48, which they turned into a web series that went on to win festivals along with the web series Why Is Everybody Always Hitting On Me. Their festival wins and screenings include Boston Comedy Festival, Palm Beach International, SENE, St Louis Film Festival and Boston Film Festival.
Kendra’s latest solo projects include a pilot Swagger, an unscripted show I’m Not Buying It and a mock meditation series Spiteful Meditations. Her collaborative short with Sean Cassels, Neighborhood Network screened in the Nice International Film Festival in 2018. Her debut album, Blonde Logic, was released in 2016 by Rooftop Comedy and in 2017, Blonde Logic, a book of comedic essays was released on Kindle. She recently started an interview style podcast How’s Your Mother? Kendra’s comedic goal is to get paid to write from her bed where she eats, sleeps, and occasionally entertains.