I braved the cold last Wednesday evening and found refuge in Dupont Circle’s Teaism to meet with DC comic Jessica Brodkin. I was there pretty early and had a pot of World Peace tea. I must say that Michael Jackson’s “We are the World” started playing in my head. Once all seven of my chakras aligned, Jessica arrived and we had a pleasant dialogue.
Jessica, 29, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, speaks Russian, and has been living in DC for the past seven years. She loves this city and said that her favorite parts are Chinatown and U Street. “There’s a lot going on and I like the vibe. All the people you run into.” She likes that DC is full of intellectual people and enjoys the smart crowds. “Lots of people here are really educated and trying to do good things.” She’s kind of educated too. She went to M.I.T. in Boston. Maybe you’ve heard of it it? I think smart people go there. Anyway, she said that she was raised in Brooklyn, but DC is where she became an adult in her own right.
Jessica’s first experience performing comedy was at age ten while attending elementary school with an all-kid sketch group that did commercial parodies. She got back into the comedy scene years later in college performing in an improv troupe, and when she made the move here she became active in the all-female local improv troupe Red Dragon. The group’s career highlights so far include performing in the Washington Improv Theater’s Final Improv Smackdown Tournament (FIST), and they did a comedy festival in Philadelphia. When asked about why they are called “Red Dragon” she replied, “It felt very competitive to be red and a dragon, or a Chinese restaurant.” I was curious if she has had any problems being a female comic, but she said that the scene is like family and further explained that “It’s the best time in history to be a female comic.” When she turned 28 she envisioned herself as being fifty asking herself why she didn’t do stand up and decided that she wanted to try something different.
She went to the stage solo for the first time in December of ’09 in New York and described the angst she felt before she went up. “I couldn’t sleep for a week. I got about two hours of sleep every night. I lost a couple pounds and I couldn’t eat.” She said that her show went well and that she still tells jokes from that night, “Fortunatley.” Jessica has been doing stand up for a little over a year and presently gets on stage about five times a week. This year has been pretty exciting for her as she has been performing all over the country. She was in a comedy festival in Florida called Laughing Skull, went to North Carolina, will be at the Boston Women in Comedy Festival from March 9 till the 12th, and then will head to the “Big A” a.k.a Atlanta in April to do a couple showcases. Her website is under construction but you can catch all her specific dates on her Facebook. Just type Jessica Brodkin in the search box. Seriously, you don’t know how to use Facebook? I applaud you, and we need to talk.
As our conversation progressed I learned that Jessica has another person living in her head. She introduced me to Ludmilla. “She’s a tacky Russian lady that does the news. She’s kind of ridiculous.” Ludmilla is a character that Jessica has been working on for a while and recently started performing live. Her family is from the Former Soviet Union and the character is an exaggeration of what immigrants think of the good ole U.S. of A. “I like her more than I like myself.” Performing the character on stage has opened her up to more ways to express her comedy. “This art is so free flowing it’s so exciting.” She likes that she can mix her stand up and theater expierience.
If you would like to see what I’m talking about then you should go see Ludmilla in her upcoming burlesque show Juice Box over at the Comedy Spot at the Ballston Mall on March 26.