As the world emerges from COVID, QRO talked with comedian Brittany Brave. In the conversation from her home in Miami, she talked about her new web series The Disastrous Dating Life of Diane Diamone, moving from NYC back to Miami, YOLO Florida, touring & running comedy showcases during the pandemic, being stereotyped as a “comedienne” in the male-dominated field, Twitter jokes, unaired (and unpaid) Quibi appearance, her parents enjoying her comedy a little too much, and more…
QRO: How have you been doing during all of this?
Brittany Brave: Great, honestly. I know that sounds strange, and annoying to say.
2020 was going to be my year to kind of throw the financial net to the wayside, and do comedy full-time. And then, COVID had other plans, clearly…
So, I relocated back down to Miami, which is where I grew up, and kind of ended up staying here. I was in a movie, I have the web series, I’ve been performing a lot, I’ve been able to do some touring as safely as possible in a couple different cities.
So, I’m good, things are good. I’m hanging out in Miami, at least for the rest of this year, so far.
QRO: What’s it like, to move during a pandemic?
BB: Weird, very weird. And actually, shockingly easy.
Thankfully, because of the moratorium in the New York rent and stuff, my roommate & I were kind of pretty easily able to break our lease a little bit, and just kinda part ways.
But the move was literally accidental. Like, I came home to visit, and then New York wasn’t open, Florida has kinda always been open – which is bad for COVID, but great if you’re comedian… It’s very YOLO down here.
I did the back-and-forth thing for a little while, and then I just kind of stayed in Miami. In a weird way, the conditions of the pandemic, it was easy to part ways with New York and just plant myself down here.
I’m 30 and living with my parents again, rent-free – which is great for an artist; it’s amazing… [laughs]
2020 was going to be my year to kind of throw the financial net to the wayside, and do comedy full-time. And then, COVID had other plans, clearly…
QRO: How has the COVID situation been in Miami?
BB: Our governor? No comment there… DeSantis is a ‘YOLO’.
But the whole state of Florida has been like that. The only rule is that there are no rules down here.
But Miami’s been okay. Definitely economically, we’re thriving. Like, a lot of people relocated back here, or moved back home, because it’s one of the only places that’s open, and it’s already pretty big with tourism, it’s a good spot to start a business or a build company, [laughs] which sounds awful to say, but…
It seems to be okay now. From a comedy perspective, it’s done wonders. Like, Miami is actually on the map now, a comedy market.
QRO: You now run three rooms in Miami – how has that been during the pandemic?
BB: I ran rooms in the last six months, I picked up four different shows in Miami, because I’m a maniac, and I still run one in New York as well, too.
I honestly, when I came down here, I was very used to the ‘New York hustle’ with comedy. So, getting on multiple times a night, having open mics on every corner. Even in the pandemic, New York had rooftop mics, parks, backyards, alleys, everything – people were doing comedy in the subway…
So, when I came down here, Miami at the time, at the start of the pandemic, really only had one club, The Improv, Villain Theater as well, and then like bar shows, if that.
I, kind of – not to sound too pretentious, but like, brought that ‘New York hustle,’ or one of the people who did. And that’s partially why now I’ve landed with four showcases, ranging from like weekly to bi-monthly to monthly, because I was just like, ‘I have to create other spaces that aren’t bars. We gotta get more going down here. Like, we gotta get more mics, we have to be able to get up more than once a night. That’s how all of us grow – that’s how we make a scene.’
Fast-forward six months, and I have multiple rooms, ranging from weekly open mics to monthly showcases.
When I came down [to Miami], I was very used to the ‘New York hustle’ with comedy.
QRO: I know that there are a lot of city ‘comedy scenes’ – was it tough shifting from one ‘scene’ to another? Or was there not as much of a ‘Miami scene’ – or like, ‘Hey, if you’re coming from New York…’
BB: For me, the transition was awesome, I think because I came from New York. I will say that. New York is the toughest place to do comedy. It’s the toughest place to do… anything. It’s just the hardest city in the world.
So, I do feel like, when you come to another market, you are kind of like – somebody described it to spring training, with baseball players. They train with weights on their bats, and that’s like when you’re a comic in New York, it’s just heavier & harder, and you have to just swinger harder & faster and be better. And then, when you come to do comedy literally anywhere else, it’s like the weight got taken off of your bat. That’s kind of how it felt.
But still, a lot of creative growth. Because New York crowds are not Miami crowds. Coming down here and learning Miami, what do they like to laugh at? How do they respond to comedy shows? What’s relevant to them?
Because they don’t give a shit about New York. They don’t want to hear about New York. They want to hear about Miami, the culture, the traffic – they want local references.
So, it was cool to come down from New York, and kind of be able to create all these different rooms, and hustle really hard, and make the market my own, but I still went through my own growth spurt, of learning the scene down here. Getting passed at the clubs, how to deal with the Miami crowd, all that kind of stuff.
QRO: Did you have to give up your New York jokes when you moved down?
BB: Yeah, kind of.
Luckily, New York is as universal enough place that, depending on where you go, sometimes it still works.
Unfortunately, Miami is an incredibly superficial and selfish city, so, the second you talk about anything that’s not Miami, they’re like, ‘No…’ [laughs]
So, we save the New York jokes for New York.
Official trailer for The Disastrous Dating Life of Diane Diamone:
QRO: How did The Disastrous Dating Life of Diane Diamone come about?
BB: That is my little baby.
I worked with the creator, Joseph Patrick Conroy, on a couple different web series, many, many moons ago, and we just stayed in touch. He started coming to my comedy shows and really learning my comedy, and then, thanks to the pandemic, he kinda dusted this project off the shelf.
Where it’s all based on his best friend from high school & from his hometown, and the crazy shit she was going through in her dating life. She was really meeting these different characters, and he was like, ‘We can make something out of this. Make it a little surreal, and sarcastic, and cynical.’
Started producing it this time last year, he hit me up, ‘I hear your voice with this. I think you’re Diane; I think you’re the right fit.’
And I loved it immediately. So, then I quickly wore all the hats, from helping co-producing, cast it, starred in it – all that stuff.
It’s been our little baby, and now it’s finally starting to do some cool stuff.
QRO: Is the plan to keep them at short web series length?
BB: For the next few episodes, they will stay between seven-to-ten minutes, but yes, the longer-term goal is to make Diane her own TV show. Make a full-blown pilot around it, flesh out her world.
We are in some talks right now with some production companies, and some streaming services (of which cannot be named). We’re very fortunate that people responded really well to the show, from friends to extended networks. People really related to the character, really thought it was a breath of fresh air in terms of a dating & comedy show.
So, it’s a little bit in the middle, right now, the project. Hopefully be on a bigger platform very soon.
We were able to accomplish a lot with a literal shoestring budget that came out of my pocket & the director’s pocket. I think we did a pretty good job of getting as close to cinema quality as possible.
And in a pandemic, no less…
QRO: I was wondering about shooting during a pandemic…
BB: Precautions were taken. We had a small but robust crew that did a lot of COVID testing daily we did, a lot of quarantining as well before the shoots. We shot outdoors as much as we could.
And we were just as efficient as possible. You know, masks on in-between takes, had sanitizers, frequent testing, antibodies…
To have pulled that off, with that little of a budget, in that short amount of time, and nobody got COVID, everything was fine, and the episodes came out great – we were very proud of it.
We were able to accomplish a lot with a literal shoestring budget that came out of my pocket & the director’s pocket.
QRO: You’re also be releasing on your first special, Muchacha?
BB: That’s coming out at some point this year…
That, too, was a self-produced thing. I started working with Villain Theater down here, which is one of my favorite comedy theaters, ever. They quickly offered me a headlining weekend, and offered to tape it. I sold out two shows in November , my first time in Miami, my hometown night.
They were like, ‘Hey, we think you’re great. As a welcome back gift to Miami, do you want to headline, and we’ll tape it for you, and work with you on it.’ And I was like, ‘Sure, why not?’
So, I kinda took all my 2020 material, my COVID material – the stuff that’s gonna expire material – living Miami, material about moving back home, and that’s basically gonna be the focus. And I then I shot a couple sketches as well. So, it’s gonna be a sketch & stand-up variety thing. I’m in the process now of editing and pitching around.
QRO: And you did an episode of the Quibi/Roku cooking reality show Dishmantled? Has that even aired? Quibi didn’t last very long…
BB: I don’t even know… TBD… [laughs]
I never got paid! I’m on the record about this. Quibi literally never paid me. I was supposed to get a stipend for the shoot, and then I circled back, and they were like, ‘We don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and I was like, ‘I think you’re bankrupt…’
It was a comedy show/roast battle. It was great…
QRO: You insult each other while cooking?
BB: Yeah. It’s kind of all schtick-y. A lot of improv.
I was put up against a professional chef. To fail. My job was to be funny and fail.
I got to meet Justin Long, who’s been a longtime crush of mine, so that was very special. Hopefully it will be coming out…
[Quibi] were like, ‘We don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and I was like, ‘I think you’re bankrupt…’
QRO: I first knew you as a music publicist – what is it like, going from publicizing others to publicizing yourself?
BB: Liberating! It was great!
I’m really thankful for those years, because I was stuck doing something I really did hate, not gonna lie. It made me grateful to now be able to do something I love, kind of be my own boss with comedy.
And obviously, I got to transfer those skills over. It’s very similar…
QRO: I was wondering how much similarity is there coming up in the comedy business as in the music business?
BB: It’s similar, for sure.
Obviously, they behave a little bit differently, and consumers treat comedy and music differently. People are definitely more inclined to go to a concert than a comedy show, though I think that’s changing over.
But, from an independent artist standpoint, I find myself giving myself advice that I gave my clients advice. Maybe not when I was working at Sony with bigger artists and things like that, but when I was working at agencies and freelancing, working with baby bands. About how to brand myself, how to book my own tour, how to distribute content, when’s the right time, how much to put out, building your own release schedule, all that kind of stuff – definitely was able to transfer those skills over.
When I was a publicist, I didn’t have enough time to do comedy, and I’d been performing my own life. I started to get like, resentful, because I was constantly, always pushing other people’s art, and I had no time to work on my own.
Now that’s cool. Now I work on my own art.
And I save money, too, because I’m my own manager, publicist – I don’t need help. At least for right now, I know how to do all this stuff myself.
It made me grateful to now be able to do something I love, kind of be my own boss with comedy.
QRO: You were named A Best New Talent at the 2019 New York Comedy Festival. How hard is it to ‘break out’ at something like that?
BB: I did the New York Comedy Festival in 2017. I auditioned very randomly to be on TBS Network’s showcase; they have like a variety show. And I got it. So, I was one of their emerging talents. So, then I kind of got in the cycle with NY Comedy Festival for 2018 & 2019.
And then I started working at getting booked at Carolines On Broadway, which is one of my favorite clubs. They had a ‘new talent, new comic night’ every Monday, that I frequently did. And then they picked their favorites from that to audition for an overarching showcase at the festival, and then I made it onto that, and then got the accolade kinda through that.
So, it’s kind of through Carolines and the festival. It was very cool. A nice little credit to propel my forward.
QRO: How much have you toured as a comedian, stand-up on the road?
BB: I’ve done two tours so far.
I did a very new, fresh one at the end of 2018 with my friend Josh Novey; he’s an L.A. comic. We did Philly, Boston, Connecticut, some New York stuff, we did some Northeast stuff, and a little bit of Florida stuff.
And then in January, I did a two-week Florida tour, where I hit everything from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale to all the way up in the Panhandle.
And I’ve mostly done sporadic in-between. Like, I’ve done Denver, Austin, Chicago, obviously New York, obviously Miami. I’m gonna do Atlanta in the fall. I’m doing Tampa, other parts of Florida. So, I’m kind of doing it on-and-off.
I would like to, this fall, string together, take a nice month off, and really tour tour.
I do think that not losing that year helped me, in a lot of ways.
QRO: Throughout the pandemic, were you still able to perform in front of people?
BB: Yeah. Lots of virtual stuff. Lots of yelling into Zoom comedy shows. Lots of IG Live. Lots of Facebook Live. Anything & everything. And then the second we could even be allowed outdoors, a lot of outdoor comedy, roofs & parks & backyards.
Everybody had their own comfort level with the pandemic, and everybody had a different situation and different risks associated, of course. For me, I was able, and I had the liberty to be able to do this, and I just made sure I was extra safe.
And I do think that not losing that year helped me, in a lot of ways. It helped me kind of establish myself in Miami, continue to work and grow. The virtual stuff got me fans literally all over the world. From South Africa to London, people tuning into these things.
I’m really grateful for the virtual stuff, because it allowed me to not get rusty, make fans in other places. Work on material, too. You’re just cooped up inside – all you had to do was write.
I had a bunch of gigs, fundraising gigs, and I was producing a bunch of shows in New York, and starting to do some touches of touring at the top of last year, and then COVID hit, and that all of a sudden was gone. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m back at square one.’
But I think if you were able to push through and navigate it, and do the virtual stuff, and be safe, and just be as responsible as possible, I think last year – I saw it for me and some of my friends. It was really turn-key for us, cause we didn’t let the pandemic stop us. We just kind of navigated it as responsibly as possible.
QRO: You didn’t start a podcast like everyone else in the world?…
BB: No, I didn’t I’m not good with podcasts. I had two different ones, and I’ve tuckered out on both of them.
QRO: It seems like every comedian has a podcast…
BB: Yeah, they do, and they don’t really say anything. They just circle-jerk each other and talk shit, sorry… [laughs]
A lot of them don’t have a theme, or an angle. [mock bro voice] ‘We should probably have a podcast, right?’ I’m like, ‘No…’
QRO: You’re great on Twitter, but is there extra pressure for comedians to be funny on Twitter, to be ‘on’, and not just post meaningless stuff like the rest of us?…
BB: Yeah, it is. Just cause you know people are watching.
Pressure to be funny, and also pressure not to get yourself cancelled. That’s a thing, too. ‘This could be taken out of context in five years and ruin my career…’
It’s a tool for us. I feel like a lot of people are on Twitter who shouldn’t be? I think Twitter’s a really good asset for news, and I also think it’s a very good asset for comedians. To just toss 140-character premises and one-liners out there, and if it gets something, and it gets a reaction, then maybe there’s something there. And then if it doesn’t, you delete it and pretend it never happened…
For comedians, Twitter, where we can just be lucid and say crazy shit, and have to keep it succinct, like a premise, yeah, that’s a very helpful thing. It can only work in favor – if you watch your mouth, I guess… [laughs]
‘This could be taken out of context in five years and ruin my career…’
QRO: You mentioned that you have a focus on women’s issues, including domestic violence and reproductive rights. Have you ever had to face getting stereotyped or the like in comedy?
There’s political comics, and there’s no knock in being stereotyped as one, or an observational comic, but when it’s women’s issues, it gets this…
BB: It does. Which is funny, because it’s just a part of our reality.
I don’t like to be referred to as a “female comic,” because you wouldn’t say, like, “male doctor.” “Male comic” – you would just say, “comic,” that’s it.
Do I talk about women’s issues, and reproductive rights, and feminism and things like that in my act? 100%, but I don’t need to be labeled explicitly as a “female comic” to do that. I just am a woman, who identifies as a woman, and as a comedian, I’m going to make material about my perspective and my experience, therefore [laughs] I talk about things about women.
Does that make any sense?
Now that I’m a comic full-time, and I’m in this business, I do think also too there’s a lot of like, people hold women back, but women also hold themselves back in the business, by thinking that the reason that they’re not getting booked is because they’re a woman. And that’s really not it. I do still firmly believe that, at the end of the day, that funny is funny, and being true to yourself, and working hard is going to get you everywhere that you basically need to be.
Though, that is still a very realistic thing in my business. It’s very realistic in this world & in this society, men, people who just don’t see women as equal.
I look at women, when we get on stage, we have to do have to work triple as hard as men do. Because of assholes that are in the crowd thinking, [mock-bro voice] ‘A girl? Huh, no way! What’s she gonna talk about, her vagina, huh, dating?…’
You just immediately have to come out the date and play harder, faster, smarter, be more savage, be more cutthroat, be tougher a little bit, just to at least get them to even respect you, and then, once they respect you and pay attention, then you can actually do you what you want and lead them where you want them to go. That is the harsh reality of it. Cause that stuff does happen.
But I also do think that sometimes when people call me a “comedienne” or they talk about being a female comic, a lot of people, I do think it comes from a good place, because they do recognize that it’s a male-dominated business.
It’s very realistic in this world & in this society, men, people who just don’t see women as equal.
QRO: I’ll admit, I was a little, ‘how do I frame these questions?’ That’s why I used things that you said in your bio…
I think you know when the intent behind it is, they think they’re being respectful, by being, “Comedienne,” or “female comic.”
I’ll give us credit, women: It is cool to be in a male-dominated field. And it is tougher for us. And you are constantly fielding comics making advances, or not respecting you…
Even when I first came down here to Miami, I was really well received, I started getting booked on a lot, and some comic that I don’t even really know, said something in passing to somebody like, ‘Oh yeah, she’s booked on everything.’ And then this comic said yeah, and then he goes, “Well, who is it she’s fucking?”…
And then this other comic came to my defense and was like, “How old are you?!? She’s hilarious…”
I had to snap at some of them, I had to be very cold with a lot of them, I had to keep my distance, I had to kind of just show up & kill, and show them I was just about business. Now they know how to kind of approach me and handle me.
But yeah, it sucks. We just want to be looked at as equals. But every time things like that happens, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m a female comic…’
I fuck up my own dating life on my own. I can’t blame comedy for that…
QRO: Has any of your dating-related material messed with your actual relationships? Like confused you with Diane…
BB: [laughs] I am Diane!
QRO: Or think that those stories from your director’s friend are from you?
BB: Yeah, sure. I think I encounter that more with my stand-up. All the time, guys are like, [mock-bro voice] ‘Am I gonna end up in your act? Are you gonna call me on stage?…’ And I’m like, ‘Shut up…’
But, on the other token, I do make comedy about my life, and things that happen to me. So, I guess it’s fair game. It’s not like I’m going out of my way to talk about you on stage, but if it inspires something, I’m not gonna not talk about it.
That kind of comes with the territory of dating a comedian. Obviously, when you’re dating people, you try to tip-toe around that, but this is what I do for a living, and the only way it works, and the only way I stay funny, is if I stay true to myself and talk about things that are funny & real to me. And if you happen to fall in that category…
I mean, I don’t know. I fuck up my own dating life on my own. I can’t blame comedy for that…
QRO: Has your parents seen your material?…
BB: Oh, they’ve seen it. [laughs] They’ve seen it. They’re good sports.
We’ve gotten very close in the last year. Even closer than we already are; I’ve always been very close with them. But we’ve gotten even closer since living at home.
And they’ve definitely seen my stand-up, and they’re fans of it. It’s all out there now. They’re proud of it.
They’re cool parents. I think when you’re an only child, you have different boundaries with your parents. [laughs] They get it. They’re good.
Maybe too good, they may be too comfortable. [laughs] They saw my stand-up show a couple weeks ago, and I really did some darker material, and they were just there laughing, drinking vodka & wine. I was like, ‘Shouldn’t you guys be more horrified by this?’ [laughs] ‘No? Okay…’