Chicago comedian Natalie Jose welcomed me into her kitchen recently to discuss her latest performance with John Oliver, host of HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight,’ at the Chicago Theater, daily living and her upcoming performances.
Jose is a Logan Square resident of 10 years. Having been a staple performer in the Chicago comedy scene for six years, Jose is at her peak after opening for Oliver on New Year’s Eve. Jose’s big accomplishment is joined by other career-forming appearances such as her showcase in NBC’s ‘Last Comic Standing,’ a performance at FunnyorDie.com’s Oddball Fest, and feature in ‘My Life Is a Joke,’ a TV pilot on the OWN network.
When did you start performing?
I did dance, I did dance for probably a year when I was like 4, I’m not gonna brag.
No, I don’t know. I did plays in elementary school. But it was more like when my parents had people over, like for dinner parties, I would always be like, ‘I’ll sing for you. Do you want to hear a song?’ and I just like sang and danced in front of my mirror, just entertaining myself, all the time.”
What age did you start to feel an emotional connection with performing?
Eleven. I would come home every day and dance to “November Rain” in my living room. My dancing style was mixing the art of figure skating, because people told me I looked like Nancy Kerrigan, with modern/interpretive dance. So a lot of—
Jose spirals up and out from her chair to perform a reenactment of her “November Rain” days. She first executes a jumping spin which flows gracefully into her next move, a backwards skating shuffle as tribute to her look-a-like. She finishes in a pose on one knee, hands high in the air and an accomplished grin on her face.
Why did you decide performing was imperative?
I couldn’t pinpoint it. It’s just I knew I was meant to do it. And after the Chicago Theater, that’s what I’ve been thinking about the most. I thought, oh yeah, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Which is amazing.
How often do you perform?
Six nights a week.
Describe a day in the life of Natalie Jose.
Great, this is gonna make me feel really bad. Roll out of bed at like noon, maybe 11. Maybe brunch with a friend, then go back to bed, man, you’re tired. Wake up and maybe do—hmm, yeah, I definitely have “office hours” where I e-mail, update my website, Facebook like everyone else. Stars are just like everyone else.
Do you have any neighborly advice for an aspiring comedian in the area?
Like, borrow the sugar? No, I guess I would say, don’t be so overeager. Your accomplishments will come as they are due to you. If you are good, no one is going to ignore you. It sticks out when you are really good, so just be patient, keep at it, and wait for it. Don’t expect things. People say they’ve been doing comedy for two and a half years, and I say shut your mouth.
Random Rapid Fire Questions:
Last book you read?
‘Columbine,’ by Dave Cullen.
Last food you ate?
Poverty strings, pasta.
If the zombie apocalypse broke out in Logan Square, how would you survive?
God, I know that’s a good question and all but I’d probably just stick my arms and head out my apartment window and yell, “I need a cigarette, who has a cigarette? I’m out of cigarettes and I’m scared to leave! Throw one up!”
Although Jose may not be your guide to survival in a zombie attack, she can sure make you laugh through one. You can always see what the Chicago comedian is up to on her website. And if that’s not enough, you can catch Jose performing in her Patsy Cline cover band, Weeping Willows, on Feb. 13 at Cole’s Bar starting at 10 pm.
Photos: Kyle Probst
“Socializing the neighborhood” is at the core of the LoganSquarist mission, so we introduce readers to interesting and unique residents throughout Logan Square in our Know Your Neighbor column. If you know someone who would be ideal for to feature, let us know.