Jess does not have the same background as most typical stand-up comedians. Before she turned to comedy, she had a career as a UN war crimes lawyer. This dramatic change in career certainly gives her a unique perspective and we’re sure some of her old colleagues (and maybe even some of the criminals) miss her sense of humour around the office.
fourthmic: You made a significant change in your occupation. What do you bring from your experience as a UN war crimes lawyer to the stage as a stand-up comedian?
Jess Salomon: I’d like to say that after staring down accused war criminals in court, nothing can scare me. But truth be told, when I see a bachelorette party with penis hats walk into the club I’m terrified. So I won’t say toughness … perhaps there’s an social justice undercurrent that runs through my comedy. That may be the most pretentious thing I have ever said.
fm: How did your colleagues and family react when you told them that you were giving up the world of law to enter the world of comedy?
Jess: Tears, disbelief, nervous laughter. A few people called me “brave”. You know who people don’t call “brave”? People they think are going to make it!
fm: Who are your biggest comedy influences?
Jess: I’m not sure if they are influences but people I admire are: Tig Notaro, Louis CK, Bill Burr, Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Paul F. Tompkins.
fm: Canada is a vast country. Do you find that audiences respond differently to material depending on where you are performing?
Jess: Some jokes are really universal – dirty jokes, family jokes, relationship jokes – but the response to jokes that touch on politics, religion and kale can really vary from urban centres to more suburban areas or small towns. I think that’s where the divide lies.
fm: What can audiences expect from you when you come to Ottawa?
Jess: Some jokes about Stephen Harper, some jokes about the Glebe and the rest of the time I’ll probably fill in by reading the list of people in Ottawa that subscribed to Ashley Madison.
fm: Is there anything else you’d want our readers to know about you?
Jess: I would like the readers to know that this is a very special weekend, nay an historic weekend! Two women taking over the club for no reason. It’s not Mother’s Day, or International Women’s Day, or Bring Your Period to Work Week. So you know we’ve got the GOODS. So come and pack the place and show club owners everywhere that audiences aren’t sexist! Also let’s reward Howard Wagman for his progressive attitude and foresight with dem dolla dolla bills!
Jess Salomon is performing five shows at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa this week from October 1st through 4th. Tickets are available at yukyuks.com/ottawa.
For more information about Jess and her dates check out her website, jesssalomon.com.