The Dancing Rabbit; Virginia Jones
Virginia Jones is a comedian, actor, and writer. She can be seen on Portlandia, CNN’s History of Comedy, and on an Australian tap dance infomercial. Virginia has 20K followers on TikTok, which she believes to be the most, because math has never been her strength.
Most recently, she has enjoyed opening for Maria Bamford at the newly renovated Pasadena Ice House, performing for sold out shows at the 20th San Francisco Sketchfest, and she also had an ice cream sandwich she really liked. It was one with chocolate chip cookies.
What are you working on now that you’re excited about?
I’ve been working on material for my second comedy album, I’m doing shows in London, Denver, Santa Cruz, and Portland this Fall, and I’m posting a tiktok a day until I lose my mind!
My most recent series of TikToks is about becoming a comedian, and guidance for comics in their first five years.
Why did you get into the entertainment industry?
I got into comedy almost by accident. I had always loved the standup artform, and wanted to try it once as a bucket list thing, but then I fell in love with it and it ruined my marriage, career, and life! But in a beautiful, artistic way.
How old were you when you made the decision?
I am a late bloomer in most things, and I started comedy at 32.
What were your goals when you started?
My main goal as a performer was to meet Eddie Izzard, but it turned out she didn’t really work club shows, so that hasn’t happened. Oops.
What are your future goals?
I want to grow and develop as an artist and to always challenge myself, and also I want to control the minds of pygmy goats.
What did you do for a day job while looking for showbiz work?
I’ve driven for rideshare, taught chess to children, taught drawing and sewing, and now I work in the rag trade. You know, fashion.
When did you decide to stop working for free?
It’s challenging, and it feels like you’ll be unable to compete with free shows- but when you charge for your performance, it makes it more important to the audience, and they’ll enjoy it more. You’ll be a professional then, and able to write things off on your taxes.
Did someone ever try to take advantage of your inexperience in Hollywood?
I’ve been on several fake auditions- probably the worst one purported to be casting for a comedic play, but then they tried to sell everyone who auditioned a workshop on comedy. Thanks a lot, fake manager Steve North!
I was in a bringer play once, which I didn’t realize was a thing- I went to an audition and I thought, wow, I’m the best one here, and so I was pretty full of myself when I got the call that I’d been cast.
When I showed up to the first rehearsal, everyone else from the audition was also there. Some of us were not super good English speakers. We were supposed to make friends and family attend a truly terrible vampire play. I really had fun, though.
Possibly the worst scam in LA comedy is the Burbank Comedy Festival- it charges young comics $75 to come to Flappers and perform once. On the other hand, I think they let everyone in who applies, so you could think of it as an open mic with a $75 cover charge!
A lot of young comics don’t understand what is toxic about bringer shows, since it is so difficult to book spots as a new performer.
The bringer show for those not familiar is a comic can perform five to ten minutes, but is responsible for bringing between five and twenty paid audience members. These audience members are sometimes charged exorbitant fees to attend what is essentially an open mic. The show usually has a pro host, and they bring in a headliner to act as a ringer, and close the show strong.
The toxicity of the bringer show is that it wrings the goodwill out of your friends, family, and co-workers, and it also makes them believe hey, comedy’s not funny. I went to see my kid, and everyone kind of sucked, apart from the first person and the last person.
Making it in Hollywood is so hard that people find ways to justify being sham agents, bad managers, bringer show bookers- it’s a big town, and there’s new people to victimize every day. There’s lots of agents that only exist to sell headshots. Where there’s dreams, there’s money, and suckers ready to spend it.
What’s been the highest point of your career so far?
The best parts of comedy have been working with my heroes- people like Maria Bamford, Bobcat Goldthwait, Emo Philips, Jackie Kashian, and Laurie Kilmartin. Working with people whose work I love and respect has made me better as a comic, and also justifies paying LA rent.
How would you advise people to network? (places, methods, etc.)
Networking is just a business word for making friends. Make them on sets, in audition rooms, at shows, at parties. People are pack animals, and we like to do things with people we know.
If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?
I would have started comedy earlier- possibly at birth.
What motto do you try to live your life by?
There’s a couple that I like:
Where’s your favorite place in Los Angeles?
I really love the Bradbury building, it’s been a part of not just Blade Runner but a hundred other Hollywood films, and it just has such an air of grace and beauty and history about it, which is rare in this town. Also, you can get a good veggie ramen across the street at Ramen Hood in Grand Central.
Where can people find you and your work online?
Badinia.com is where I keep performance dates and essays and links to my tiktok and everything!
You can watch my half hour special here:
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