Tina Dybal is active in both the local stand up and improv scenes. She’s a regular on showcases at Helium – St. Louis, and is the co-producer of Two Girls. One Mic., along with Emily Hickner.
Tina recently became an American citizen, just in time for the fall of American society into a dystopian chaos.
How long have you been performing stand up?
Two-ish years total. But, I was a huge stupid weenie for the first six months of that and thought the world owed me something/hated myself. So, let’s go with when I started training at The Improv Shop in January 2015. That brings us to a little over a year and a half.
Who are your biggest comedy influences?
Alright, strap in.
Seinfeld- The whole entity and everyone behind it. My parents are super foreign, and were fucking obsessed with the show. I’m pretty sure I watched it in my sleep. Plus, I love that kind of Jewey, critical, comedy. I used to do Elaine’s kick to deflect my parents’ attention from me being piss-hammered as a minor. I’m probably 5 for 20 on that, but they loved it and still do. I think Seinfeld shaped my sense of humor, or at least showed me the light. The dark light that is being a comedian. Thanks, Larry David.
SNL- Also, another thing my parents were obsessed with from Day 1 in the states. I love Will Ferrell. I can’t tell you how many times I watched his “Best Of SNL” when it came out. Also, my dad is a huge George W. Bush hater. In turn, so was I before I really even understood politics. I live for Will Ferrell playing George W. Bush. Shout out to Tina Fey & Amy Poehler.
Other people I love that have shaped my comedy, plus my love and understanding of it: Louis CK, Morgan Murphy, John Mulaney, Lena Dunham and Stephen Colbert.
Describe your worst experience on stage.
Jesus, I don’t even know. There’s been so many times I’ve gotten off stage and told myself how much I hate comedy and I’m going to quit, but I never do.
Two words, “Nick’s Pub.” I spent five hours that day writing what I thought was absolute gold (obvi, it was garbage). The audience wasn’t paying attention to anyone throughout the whole mic. Then I got up, and I think I was so terrible they couldn’t help but watch me eat a big bag of shit. I talked about my stupid foreign family in the most annoying, condescending way, and then I ended on, “One time when I was high I thought about what would happen if I ate concrete.” Then I talked about what it would be like to eat concrete and Jeremy Hellwig yelled out something as I talked about swallowing concrete. Then I got off stage and wanted to jump off a bridge.
What’s your best on stage experience?
Oddly enough, a competition that I didn’t even make it out of the first round.
It was just a couple of weeks ago at Helium’s St. Louis’ Funniest Person Competition. It was only five minutes, but it was one of those sets where you get off stage and feel like you’ve leveled up.
I’d spent the week writing and tweaking a bunch of my stuff. I actually wrote a bunch of new tags and such that day for that set, which seems like a really bad idea for a competition, but I wanted to take the risk. I blacked out on stage. Not because I was drunk, I was stone cold sober, jacked on coffee, but I was hyper aware of my material, myself and the audience. It was one of those times where everything clicked just for a second and I was like “HOLY SHIT I GET IT! WHATEVER ‘IT’ IS, I GET IT!”
I was so in the moment, I can’t really explain it. Also, it was really fun. I had fun with the audience, with my material, with my fellow comedians laughing in the audience. Comedy can get really frustrating sometimes and you kind of lose the fun because you’re so busy ragging on yourself. Those times when you are truly in the moment and thinking about NOTHING else are what makes me love comedy so much.
Now, looking back on that set, I realize that I truly believed in myself and loved myself during those five plus minutes on stage. For someone who spends a lot of their time hating themselves, that is a really cool moment to have. I got off stage so confident that I was going to advance, like I literally had no doubt in my mind. Not because I’m a total prick, but because as a comedian I knew I had a bomb ass set. Then I didn’t get called and it felt bad for a second, but no matter what I had a little personal level-up moment and that was good enough. So…..yeah, my best on stage experience is not advancing in Helium’s St. Louis’ Funniest Person Competition. Hahahaha…
What’s your favorite thing about the St. Louis comedy scene?
It’s growing like CRAZY due to the hard working comedians in it. From Helium opening up, to the independent shows, to The Improv Shop. We have so many cool things going on here, and I really think it’s just going to get better and better. There’s a lot of really talented people in this scene and I am lucky to have so many close friends that chose comedy.
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?
If you’re in Starbucks- Please don’t vote for Donald Trump.
If you’re in MokaBe’s- I love you.
Rank in order of coolness: Pirate, Ninja, Zombie, Robot
Cake or Pie?
Pie. Unless it’s Red Velvet or Carrot Cake- Then we can talk.
Plug something. It’s why we do this.
Thursday July 28, 8PM at 1900 Park– Two Girls One Mic has their monthly showcase. Emily Hickner and I run it.
We will have special guest Carla Higgins. You know, the gal who lost her mind over a McRib and said “McScuse Me Bitch!?” Might have a guest appearance by Ronnie Jenkins Trump, Carla’s long-time off and on again boyfriend. It’s gonna get wild and nasty and be hilarious.
Be there. It’s $8 and you’ll get to see Carla & Ronnie along with Spencer Tegtmeyer, Amy Milton, Nathan Orton and Chris Cyr.
Tell ‘Em Carla Sent Ya.
Event Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/857464057720404/