SarahBursich started doing stand up in southern Illinois, but she’s become a mainstay in the St. Louis scene very quickly.
How long have you been performing stand up?
Who are your biggest comedy influences?
Maria Bamford, Paula Poundstone, Jim Gaffigan, Paul F. Thompkins, Bill Burr, Louis CK—everything Matt Groening’s ever done.
Carol Burnette. Also, my best friend and I used to sneak her dad’s Robin Williams and Carlin tapes.
Describe your worst experience on stage.
I got offered a spot on a showcase in Carbondale within my first year of doing stand up. I wasn’t very good and I definitely wasn’t ready to do anything longer than five minutes or with any sort of expectation. The show also happened to land on my birthday. It was also billed as a “Ladies’ Night”—something I didn’t know until I got there. I was really uncomfortable because everyone was talking about lady-things and I just wanted to talk about my dog. I drank way too much. That’s what happened—pretty cut and dry.
When I finally got on stage, I kept starting jokes and then just getting distracted and abandoning them half-way through. I think I went on like that for about 15 minutes. It was awful and everyone was so uncomfortable.
I also had an adorably supportive group of comedy-friends that were totally supportive and comforting afterwards—I think that made it even worse. Knowing that I had discredited everything we were working for. I felt like “Damn, I just did a total disservice to our scene and these audience-folk and I don’t deserve these nice friends that are telling me it wasn’t ‘that bad’..” That’s pretty dramatic, but that’s how it felt.
I started to listen to my recording of the set a week or two after because Eric [Brown] said “You made everyone else sit through it—you should probably sit through it, too.” I made it about 3 minutes in and had to turn it off. I can’t believe all those people just sat through it. I’ll have maybe a beer before a show now. That was a fucking nightmare.
What’s your best on stage experience?
I love when my parents are at shows. When I played a recording of my first time doing stand up for my Mom, she started crying and said I “shouldn’t say things like that”. I was trying to figure out how to be funny and that unfortunately meant doing a lot of like, borderline shock comedy… it was rough. Bleh. Anyway, I’m a lot more sincere in my writing now, and I think it translates, and it’s really rewarding to have my parents at shows now and to see them genuinely enjoy what I’m doing.
What’s your favorite thing about the St. Louis comedy scene?
Everyone’s been really welcoming ever since I moved here. I have a lot of trouble getting out to mic’s because my work schedule kind of demands that I work a lot of evenings—but people are really cool about still granting me opportunities and it’s neat. Everyone I’ve dealt with is really respectful and genuine and there’s an awesome variety of people doing very different things.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the people sitting in the coffee house where I’m typing up this list of questions?
Rank in descending order of coolness: Pirate, Ninja, Zombie, Robot
Ninja, Robot, Pirate, Zombie
Cake or Pie?
Pie. My mom makes pies as a side gig. One time, someone changed a sign at a local restaurant advertising her pie company from “Pies by Ronell” to “Ronell’s Hair Pies”.
Plug something. It’s why we do this
*Editor: See Sarah February 10, at A Solid 20 at The Monocle!