Monday, April 25, 2016

Spotlight On...Mindy Raf

Name: Mindy Raf

Hometown: Michigan

Education: University of Michigan

Select Credits: MTV, VH1, Lifetime, Women in Comedy Festival (Boston), NY Funny Songs Fest, Bridgetown Comedy Festival (Portland), SOLOCOM (The PIT), UCB, Dixon Place, QED, Knitting Factory.

Why theater?: I would perform for family at parties when I was  little, improvising characters and writing monologues for them. In 3rd grade I made kids in my class laugh at a talent show (reading from Free To Be You & Me). I was an anxious kid and I remember feeling really calm after the show like, "I need to do that more often."

Tell us about No Thank You: No Thank You is my new solo comedy show. Weaving together stand-up comedy and storytelling, it hits on themes of what it means to be yourself, let go of the need to please, and (spoiler alert) there's a tap number.

What inspired you to write No Thank You?: Last fall I performed a new half hour stand-up show for SOLOCOM festival. That experience inspired me to extend my material to an hour and write my stand-up within the context of a narrative story. I really love writing and performing stand-up and it's been a fun challenge to revisit my material and reshape it not only to be tighter and funnier, but truer to myself. It's easy for performers, especially comedians, to get caught up in what we think we should be to other people-on stage and off. So that goal (just be you) was really important to me when writing No Thank You.

What kind of theater speaks to you?: What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love when writers and performers are able to find joy and humor in the darker moments. It's so important to laugh at life and yourself-especially when things get cloudy-so artists who can pull off that fine line really speak to me.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Lilly Tomlin is a queen. I would love to act with her. She's the tops.

What’s your favorite showtune?: They're all my children. I cannot choose. What's my mood? For dancing or crying? Ahhhh. I...can't...there are...too...many. [tiptoes away from the conversation]

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would love Mayim Bialik to play me in present and then Bette Midler to play me in future. It would be a "Beaches" reunion. (But with more tap, less death). Working title would be: Panic Attack In Spanx

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hamilton. I think that show needs my guerrilla PR efforts right now. There are so many great comedy and storytelling shows in NYC and Brooklyn. Upright Citizens Brigade and The PIT always have great solo shows and stand up to see. And Littlefield and Union Hall are also great venues to check out if you're looking to see quality comedy and storytelling. I'm partial because they're my friends, but Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman perform a full improvised musical call Your Love Our Musical. (My girlfriend  just got them to perform our story at a secret proposal show. It was so impressive and hilarious) Totally worth checking out.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: Blue Skies, Ella Fitzgerald (1958 version)  It always ups my mood.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Sleeping in/vegging out. I would love to schedule a "no alarm" day where I turn off devices and wake up only when my body tells me it's time to start re-watching "Gilmore Girls".

What’s up next?: I’m working on couple different writing projects: a pilot based on my short stories and stand up and another novel for young adults is slowly coming together. I’ll also be co-producing a new monthly stand-up show at HiFi June 2. Right now, I’m really enjoying performing comedy and getting No Thank You ready to debut.