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- August 28, 2014

Comedian Erin Foley: Austin Is ‘Dreamy’ And ‘Feels Like Home’

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Editor’s note: Erin Foley, an L.A.-based comedian and writer who has appeared on Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, and Comedy Central, is in town this week for a series of shows at Cap City Comedy, as part of her “Lady With Pockets” tour. She’s also a writer for espnW and hosts a podcast called “Sports Without Balls.” Austin.com’s own Daniel Webb, the writer, comedian, and drag performer who fist-bumped President Obama recently, caught up to Erin ahead of her show tonight with a few questions in mind. Their conversation follows.

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Comedian and writer Erin Foley.

Comedian and writer Erin Foley.

Daniel Webb: Hello Erin! How are you and welcome back to Austin!

Erin Foley: Hello! I’m excited to be here and to see you!

Give me your top three favorite things about Austin.

The food trucks, I kayaked down a river, and the people. So nice, so friendly, and they take me dancing.

Tell me something you like about playing in Austin. You come here a lot.

Well, I had an overall negative view of Texas, and then I found Austin and I was like, dreamy! It’s not like a I don’t have an appreciation for other cities in Texas. I’ve played Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. But Austin feels like home. It feels like I can talk about anything I want and it’s non-judgmental. We’re all on the same page and it’s awesome.

Are there different jokes or different material you feel better about working out in Austin as opposed to other cities in Texas?

I would not be able to do part of my act in other cities in Texas. I’m talking about democratic politics, being gay. There’s a lot of topics I don’t think would be — I’m not saying I would get booed, I’m just saying I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about my strong opinions on Rick Perry, and my pro-Wendy Davis opinions.  It’s not like all my act is politics, but you feel safe in Austin because you feel like it’s a shared opinion.

Just to be clear, you have seen Rick Perry’s mugshot?

I have! I’ve seen it because I’ve been obsessed with Texas politics for a long time.  It’s everything I thought it would be: Swarmy and just gross.

Who would win in a fight: Rick Perry or any old drag queen?

Oh, GIRL!  I’m never gonna vote against a drag queen. I’m saying drag queen.

This is your fifth time coming back to Austin to do comedy.

Yes! Two Moontower Comedy Fests, and this is my third time at Cap City.

So let’s talk about the Moontower Comedy Fest, because that’s where we met.

Yes, our magic night where we met!

So the Moontower Comedy Fest was a crazy experience. I loved watching you perform in a relatively small room, and then just an hour later you were playing the Paramount Theater and opening for Maria Bamford. What is it like to go from one venue to the next in such a short amount of time?

That was one of my favorite nights of comedy I think of my life, because Austin crowds are great and our show was super sweet and fun. There were probably a hundred people at that [first] venue, and then there were — how many people at the Paramount?

A few thousand.

Like a couple thousand! And that just makes you feel like a professional, right? I’ve been doing it almost 15 years, and you have to kind of shape your energy and set to what you think the vibe of the crowd is.

It was impressive to watch both shows in one night — especially to watch you plant the Paramount Theater, which is a lovely theater.

Oh my God, The Paramount is so beautiful! Everything about that set was like, “This is too good. It can’t be happening!”

Let’s talk about the “Lady with Pockets” tour.  Are you having a good time?

So fun!

I love the name! Is being a “Lady with Pockets” a personal mantra?

That was one of my favorite jokes and then I made it the title of an album because I hate purses. And when you put a new album out, you need to call it something… Instead of “Erin Foley: Milwaukee.” It’s sounds so much better if you say “Lady with Pockets” tour.

Are there any advantages to being a gay comic?

You know, I don’t even like saying gay comic.

Neither do I.

For me, I’m a comic and I happen to be gay and I happen to be a woman. I like talking about it because it’s part of my life, but it’s not about being gay.

You host a podcast called “Sports Without Balls.”  Are you good at sports?

I’m really good at sports. I played basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer… I’ll play ping-pong. Anything. I love it.

Are there any sports you’re not good at?

I wouldn’t say I’m good at the rollerblading, the iceskating, or surfing. I think my feet need to be on the ground.

I’m good at badminton only. And in my smoking days I could smoke a cigarette, hold a beer, and still kick your ass.

That’s amazing!  That should be on your resume.

But that’s the only sport I can play.

Yeah, but you’re like a crazy musician.  I’m tone deaf!

Okay, then we should trade! If you can teach me to throw a football, I can teach you how to play at least one Tori Amos song.

Oh my God, that would be awesome!

Anything else you want to tell the people?

Come see these shows! We’ll talk about all kinds of interesting things and we’ll have the time of our lives.  Come out and see some jokes!

You can catch Erin Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at Cap City Comedy. Shows start at 8 p.m. Buy tickets here. Meanwhile, watch this video of Erin’s October 2013 appearance on “Conan.” 

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Photos: Courtesy, Erin Foley.