Atlanta Based Comic Is Building A Solid Resumé In Southeast, Plays Creekside Saturday
By: Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
While she is not a household name in the world of comedy, Lace Larrabee is making her mark as a stand up comic, and as a featured actress in offbeat television series and movies. The Atlanta native began her quest in 2012 after she was unknowingly added to a show, by a co-worker who booked comedy gigs at a bar they both worked at.
"I had no idea. My friend comes up to me and says I've added you to a list of comedians for a show I'm putting together. He handed my a flyer for the show with my head shot on it. He said I got your picture from the internet." Larrabee had never performed straight up comedy in a comedy setting. "He said don't worry, you've only got to do 10 minutes." According to Larrabee she rolled with it, especially since she had three months to prepare. "Like a lot of things in life I put it off, and only started to write jokes three days prior to the show."
It wasn't as though she was thrust into the fire, or was unfamiliar in front of a crowd. Larrabee spent most of her childhood and formative years on stage. "Long before I got up on that stage to do stand up, I had spent more than a dozen years acting, and doing comedic routines in the Miss America Organization. Funny bits were my talent portion of the competition. I couldn't dance or sing, so I did my best to make the judges laugh."
Although she competed in Miss Georgia four years running, she prefers to call the competitions 'pageants' rather than 'beauty contests'. "It's less about looks than it is about creating strong women. Miss Georgia helped me become comfortable on stage and command a crowd." She would go on to earn over $25 thousand dollars in the Miss America Organization, which helped her earn a communications degree at Kennesaw State University. "Helping me with my education and preparing me for what I do now are the positives I took from my time competing."
As she slowly started to tread the waters in her new found career, Larrabee began to take to comedy stages in Atlanta, making her way to Charlotte and other bigger cities. "I definitely have a bigger following in the southeast." Her brand of funny took off and soon she found herself travelling across country and opening for the likes of Caroline Rhea and Dave Attell (Comedy Central's Insomniac). "Those kind of gigs help get your name out there."
Larrabee does have links to videos on her website but admits the internet and viral avenues don't necessarily help promote her comedy. "It's sort of a 'catch 22'. Using the internet can be very questionable. If you're pushing a bit or a funny character the internet works for a short period, but it doesn't really communicate stand up comedy the way performing live on stage does. That's a whole different vibe. The internet might introduce you to some people who don't know you, but when they see you live that's when you really connect with them."
Her husband, Jarrod Harris is a fellow comedian, and according to Larrabee makes it easier to do what she does. "Frankly he gets it. We live an odd lifestyle. I'm not sure I could be married to a civilian. He understands the late nights and hanging at the club after to talk with fellow comedians and audience members. Lots of time that's where new material comes from. Jarrod gets why we sometimes take gigs for little or no money."
Larrabee and Harris toured together for several years before tying the knot last year. "I opened for him on the road and we began dating. Maybe I'm partial but he's really funny. He's opened for Bill Burr, and been a headliner for many years." It wasn't long before Larrabee became a headliner herself. "This is an industry where you have to pay your dues. But I can't imagine doing anything else." Larrabee admits to having worked briefly at a McDonald's when she was younger. "Definitely not for me. I'd rather make people laugh than flip burgers."
When she not performing on stage Larrabee has done the occasional television appearance. She filmed several episodes of the Weather Channel's 'Weather Gone Viral'. "I did eight episodes for them. I think when they got around to me, they were just looking for some local (Atlanta) flavor to bring something to the city." The show often puts an ironic or comic spin on how everyday people react to adverse weather. "You have people slipping on ice or making really bad decisions. I just help add a little bit of humor to bizarre situations."
While Larrabee admits to staying as busy as possible, she finds time to help promote women who want to become comedians. Her six week Laugh Lab Comedy Class culminates with graduates taking Atlanta's famed Punchline stage. "I'm very passionate about helping ladies get started in the business. For decades it's been an all male club. I would love to see more female comedians out there, especially as headliners."
Her own style of comedy is equal parts observation and self deprecation. "I stay close to the vest. I talk about my husband, growing up in the south, and generally pull from my own experiences. I think that's easier for audiences to relate too." Larrabee says she normally shies away from political jokes. "Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of funny in politics, and politics creates its own humor. There's just so many comedians out there beating it to death, and political humor changes so fast. I prefer to stay in my own lane and give audiences something different."
If you visit Larrabee's website it says Stand Up Comic - Actor. "I do more stand up than acting, but I do love the opportunity to act." She's been in a few movies and recently did a several episodes of Queen America, starring Catherine Zeta Jones. The Facebook Watch series is a dark comedy surrounding a ruthless pageant coach and ladies who want to obtain a crown. "It's an offbeat series, so it fits me. It was filmed in Atlanta so that made it easier for me. Catherine is so nice. I had a really good time doing the show."
Larrabee recently rescheduled an appearance here in Charleston to take part in 'Caroline & Friends', a family-friendly comedy series that showcases hilarious and awe-worthy videos, with guest comics and actors adding commentary. "When Caroline Rhea asks you to join her on her show, you don't turn her down. Caroline has supported my career from the beginning. I love her and her comedy." 'Caroline & Friends' debuted last summer and currently airs on the Game Show Network. Check local listings.
It is stand up that really gets Lace Larrabee fired up. "I love it. I love being in front of a live crowd and making them laugh. I love hanging with fellow comedians and the thrill I get being in comedy clubs." Lace Larrabee performs during Creekside Comedy Night 2600 Savannah Hwy, this Saturday (May 25th). "It's a great venue. I love coming to Charleston. Fans there really love their comedy."
For tickets and info on Creekside Comedy Night, click here.