St. Louis Comedy Profile: Milly Naeger

St. Louis Comedy, Molly Naeger

While describing the chaos of Nick’s Pub’s open mic, Riverfront Times writer Thomas Crone described Milly Naeger as “a true beacon” in an evening where everything seemed to be going off the rails.

Your Name
Milly Naeger

What do you do?
Stand Up and Animated Short Films

How long have you been doing it?
6 years

Who are your comedic influences?
Maria Bamford, George Watsky, and T.J. Miller

Describe your worst onstage experience.
My worst onstage experience happened in my hometown in Ste.Genevieve, Missouri. It was a black tie event thrown as a fundraiser for our local hospital, and the price for a seat was over $100. As I often do, I did a character on stage that struggled with neurosis which usually goes over really well at alt comedy shows.

Ste.Genevieve has NO comedy scene, and the art scene we have, for the most part, isn’t abstract. There are a lot of paintings of birds, barns, landscapes, but whenever an artist has gone off the realism path, most of the town seems displeased with the new work. I also want to mention that the people gathered at the hospital benefit were people who had donated lump sums to help my family pay for my chemotherapy when I was 15. They probably wanted to hear jokes about cancer, food, and how relationships are weird. Instead, I threw them random linked thoughts from my gut that may seem incoherent if all you’re used to hearing is setup-punchline format.

The crowd was not having it. I did my set, tripped on a wire when I got off, and went back to the table my parents were sitting at, where the first words out of their mouths were “wrong material honey.”

And that’s the piercing truth. Even though comedy is subjective, there IS a such thing as the right or wrong material depending on the crowd. I did what, in my soul, I considered my best material but the crowd yelled with their eyebrows “WRONG ANSWER.” I wasn’t able to win them back.

I wanted to quit comedy that night. Later, I talked to a friend about it. We laughed as she told me about a woman she works with that is rude and doesn’t get her jokes. We laughed about it. I didn’t feel alone.

Tell us about your worst onstage experience.
There was a show I did before a showing of Wet Hot American Summer where the comedians wore camp attire. I, of course, wore knee socks, high school student government T-shirt, and running shorts pulled up past my belly button. I think wearing the silly looking outfit aided the character I do onstage.

Since my set is very rant based, I like giggles, smiles, and nods of approval from the audience sometimes more than laughter since my jokes have a kind of rhythm that gets messed up if I pause for a laugh break. The audience was amazing with their soft and comforting giggles and smiles and I once again looked at their eyebrows and they all spelled out the words “right material honey.”

What do you like best about the St. Louis Comedy Scene?
The St.Louis Comedy scene, as I know it, is super supportive rather than competitive. There is a down side, which is that quite a few comedians may do the same set for several years and not be pushed to grow in comedy. However, the plus side is that we’re excited to hear new guys who are good and it doesn’t seem like anybody is too cynical. Because we have a smaller scene, I think we’re able to help each other out more.

Why should someone see LIVE COMEDY rather than just watch it on Netflix?
I feel the same way about live stand up comedy as I feel about live theater. It’s an art form that’s true magic comes out when you’re in a space that will only happen once. The audience is part of the beauty of the art.

We do our set in hopes that the people watching will look at us and say “I relate to that.” I used to do a set about how I want to die when someone makes a movie reference that I don’t get (which happens often). As soon as I heard the audience laughing, I didn’t want to be dead every time someone says a movie reference I don’t get. We’re helping each other understand that we’re not alone. Both parties are giving. It’s not a one way street.

Rank the following based on your ability to defeat them in combat. Freddy Krueger, The Girl From The Ring, Candyman, and Chucky.
I don’t get your movie references.

What’s for dinner?
Tonight, I will be having homemade egg rolls and boiled potatoes.

Promote something! That’s why we do this!
Nimblewill Short Films

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