In between running from show to show, comedian Rebecca O’Neal stopped for a chat with LoganSquarist about her comedy and presence in Logan Square. Rebecca hosts multiple shows in Logan including the popular open mic at Cole’s Bar (2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.) Wednesdays at 9 pm and the show ‘Congrats on Your Success’ (with free craft beers!) at Uncharted Books (2630 N. Milwaukee Ave.) every first Thursday of the month.
How did you get started in comedy and performing?
I did comedy journalism before I tried stand up for myself — writing about comedy for Gawker.tv, Vanity Fair, and editing for Splitsider.com — and just being a general comedy nerd and fan. I started dipping my toe into being a print humorist with wildly varying results, and shortly after that I started tweeting jokes about being depressed which got the attention of Huffington Post. They put me on a list of 18 funny women to follow on Twitter along with Mindy Kaling — though I’d never set foot on stage or performed comedy in front of anyone ever. That was the push I think I needed. Then one day I decided to try it myself and haven’t looked back since.
How often are you performing?
I quit my day job last night, so I’m doing comedy full time now and performing every night of the week. Pretty much wherever they’ll have me! If I don’t have a show, you can catch me at an open mic. Luckily, in Chicago, the stand up comedy scene is abundant and there’s no shortage of opportunities to get stage time any night of the week.
Describe a day in the life of Becca O’Neal.
Comedy changes my life about every 3-4 months, so this answer is never ever static. But for now, I wake up, try to work out. Then I manage my mailing list RSVPs for my shows for the week, do event listings if necessary for my upcoming shows. My background is in event marketing, PR, and promotion, so now that I’ve quit my day job as a receptionist, my second job outside of comedy is promoting comedy shows — my own and those I’m paid to promote by other comedians. I just try to stay on top of that and then I prepare for my shows for the evening after getting some writing done.
Is there any reason why you feel Logan Square is a good neighborhood to support comedy?
Congrats on Your Success is in Logan Square at Uncharted Books, four years running. I co-host the weekly open mic at Cole’s Bar every Wednesday — which is also the first place I ever attempted stand up comedy. Logan Square is my comedy home. It’s where I began and it just feels right performing here. I’m from the South Side but have lived in Logan for the past year and couldn’t love it more. It’s like Cheers — where everybody knows your name. I run into so many people I care about and love, comedians and non-comics alike, just walking around the hood and there’s nothing like it. No other neighborhood in Chicago holds that for me.
What’s your favorite place in Logan not related to comedy?
Any bike shop! I bike everywhere and I have horrible bike luck, so bike shops are a savior. I’m always popping into Boulevard Bikes (2535 N. Kedzie Blvd.) for a quick fix. I’ve got a new weave that’s too big for my bike helmet (#blackgirlproblems) and they helped me fit a new one. My bike tire popped from some debris from all the recent construction on Milwaukee and Sacramento — they hooked me up. I had to figure out how to pump air with presta valves at a gas station — they got me some adapters and showed me how to use them. Definitely my favorite spot in Logan right now. Also, Cafe Mustache (2313 N. Milwaukee Ave.) is always clutch.
Quick Fire Questions:
Favorite guilty pleasure food?
L’Patron! I’d eat it all day everyday if I could but they were around the corner from me and now they’ve moved :(. That or gorging on sushi.
Last show you binged on Netflix?
Lady Dynamite! I love Maria Bamford. She’s a huge part of the reason I started stand up comedy and I’m opening for her on the Aug. 19 at the Athenaeum Theater.
Would you rather be able to speak every language fluently or play every instrument masterfully?
Every language easily. I wish I were more of a polyglot in real life, but that would be an awesome superpower — especially if it included animal languages.
If you could put one billboard up anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would you have it say?
I’d put up a billboard that said Believe Women and it’d be right in front of my house.
If you want to get more of Rebecca, catch her Top Ten Tuesdays at the Laugh Factory, Open Mic at the Laugh Factory at 6pm on Wednesdays and see her full line-up of shows at http://beccaoneal.tumblr.com/shows. Her twitter handle is @becca_oneal.
“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.