By June Dempsey
Paige Weldon is coming to Louisville to record her third album at Planet of the Tapes. Get your tickets here! Paige has performed on Comedy Central, The Late Late Show with James Corden, numerous Don’t Tell Comedy shows, and comedy clubs across the country.
Paige was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.
Louisville Laughs: You’re recording your album at Planet of the Tapes this weekend. That’s exciting! Why did you choose Louisville and this venue to record?
Paige Weldon: Honestly it just seemed like a cool venue for it! I’d been looking for the right opportunity to record a new album and when Planet of the Tapes offered me a weekend I thought why not see if this would work. I’d heard great things about it from other comics (including other recent headliner/my friend Logan Guntzelman) so I asked my label AST Records as well as the Planet of the Tapes folks what they thought. Everyone seemed excited about it, which got me excited about it too!
This is your third album — what was recording the other two albums like? Where did you record them? How long did it take you to write and practice the material for the albums?
My first album Uncomfortable at Best was thanks to Jonah Ray, who partnered with AST Records to release 14 minute sets on 7” records for a couple of his favorite comics in 2014 (aka a million years ago). I recorded my set for that as part of a showcase at a long-running LA show called Comedy Living Room, which was in fact in a living room.
A few years later I saw Jonah at a show and he casually said something about if I ever wanted to do a full-length record to let him know. At first I thought the idea sounded way too intimidating, but ultimately decided to go for it because it was a great opportunity and I knew I had the material if I just committed to working it out in longform.
I got some places outside LA to let me do longer sets leading up to it, and then recorded at this venue in LA called Genghis Cohen. It’s a Chinese restaurant with a little showroom in the back and I once again, just thought it seemed like a cool place to do it! And thus my first full length album, Girlfriend at the Time, was born.
You just had a Don’t Tell set posted on YouTube a few days ago. Do you perform at Don’t Tell Shows a lot? What is it like doing a Don’t Tell versus a show in a comedy club? How do you go about preparing for a ten minute filmed set?
Yeah, I’d say I do Don’t Tell shows pretty regularly! I guess the main difference is that it’s more of a pop-up type vibe at a Don’t Tell show. It feels more like a special one-night-only thing. I prepared for the filmed set by just doing it a bunch and working out the kinks/seeing what fit in to the set and what didn’t. I know that’s a boring answer but it’s true!
You post cartoons that you draw on your Instagram and you drew the album cover for your last few albums yourself. Do you find it easy to come up with humor drawings? Is the process similar to joke writing for you?
The process is different in that you have to plan a comic strip before you start it, and then when it’s done it’s done. Whereas with stand-up, jokes evolve as you do them again and again, and you do a lot more writing on stage (or at least I do). But to be honest I’ve moved away from the cartoons because it’s really hard to do both!
I’ve always loved drawing and started experimenting with making cartoons for Instagram in late 2019, then when the pandemic hit it was kind of my only creative outlet so I did a lot more. I really loved doing it but they take a lot of time and stand-up has always been more of my focus. Now I use drawing more as a good skill to have for making my own flyers and yes, my album art!
Do you have any advice for newer comics starting out? What are some ways you’ve found to refine your jokes? What do you see has changed in comedy since you’ve started?
It may sound cliche but my advice is always that you have to just do it. That’s the only way to get better and the only way to figure out what works for you. Early on I hit mics every night and was always out trying new jokes. With time I’ve gotten a lot clearer on my voice so I can get each new bit to a good place faster, or recognize when something just isn’t going to work.
But again that’s only because I’ve been doing it so long! Probably the biggest change in comedy since I started is how comics use social media to share clips, etc. This makes me sound old but I embrace my oldness.
What are some of the strange shows you’ve put on or been a part of?
This is such a hard question because after 12 years of stand-up the strange shows are many. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that one time I did a show on the roof of the Ace Hotel in downtown LA and the GoodYear blimp flew over during my set. It was so loud that I could not ignore it. That is thankfully the only time I have ever been heckled by a blimp.
I also once did a virtual reality comedy show where the comics had to wear a VR headset in a studio and perform for avatars of people who were wearing VR headsets in their homes.