Beth Stelling has had a stellar few years.
The Los Angeles-based comic has grown to become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after comedy writers with writing credits on Sarah Silverman’s ‘I Love You America’, Judd Apatow's ‘Crashing’ and this year’s box office hit ‘Good Boys’. In addition to writing, Stelling has also appeared on several high profile late night shows including ‘Conan’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ and her half-hour comedy special is currently streaming on Netflix.
Stelling is set to perform at Sydney’s annual Just For Laughs Festival alongside an all-star comedy line-up including Nina Conti, Steve Martin, and one of her comedic idols Martin Short.
“Martin Short is someone I grew up watching and adoring. . . He is legendary and it’s never lost on me getting to be in the same festival with legends like him,” the comic, who will be performing at Factory Theatre, says.
She reveals patrons can expect much of her ‘trademark family stories’ and confessional-style humour in her new show which she has been working on since wrapping her half-hour Netflix special in 2017. “I would say this hour has a lot to do with me, my relationships with men, sexuality. . . We’ve seen a lot of comedy specials about what it’s like to be a man in 2019, but this is me sharing my perspective about how I feel about being a woman comic in Hollywood in 2019.”
Stelling hopes her new comedy show can also bridge the gap between men's and women’s understandings of the female perspective. “I hope in a non-intimidating way people are able to understand the female perspective, I don’t speak for all women but I think right now it feels very much 'battle of the sexes', men versus women and the idea that 'feminism' is an evil, dirty, and violent word.
“I am hoping to make it more comfortable for us to accept that we are also learning to change, that men aren’t the enemy, and to give [the audience] a new perspective on how women feel right now.”
While sharing her perspective, personal stories, and opinions has helped catapult Stelling’s career, the comic admits that there is a fine line between sharing and over-sharing.
Image © Mindy Tucker
“It’s very important to not compare yourself [to other comedians], you’ve got to be in it for the long haul as a comedian and it’s a long road but no one is like you. If you’re being yourself and you hit on the same subjects, your perspective is still unique, and enough people and your fans will want to hear your perspective on it. . .
“Stand-up has become very confessional at this point and it feels like nobody is leaving anything sacred, and as someone who has experienced hurt and trauma in their life, I think I’ve learnt that you have to be careful with what you choose to discuss and some things are sacred and they should be kept just for you.
“You can determine that and you will know, because you know how it feels when you talk about it on stage and it is difficult putting yourself out there over and over again.”
Another time she was cautious about crossing a fine line in her career was when working as one of the writers on this year’s 'Good Boys'. The Seth Rogen-produced comedy starring Jacob Tremblay follows a trio of sixth-graders who get caught up in outrageous misadventures involving drugs, police chases, and frat parties.
“It’s so funny, because there was a lot of that ‘did we go too far?’ but of course all the parents approved and they were on set with the kids every day. There’s a fine line drawn between what they said on camera and what they said off camera.”
'Good Boys' has gone on to be one of the surprise box office hits of the year, raking in over $100 million worldwide on a $20 million budget.
“I recently ran into one of the film’s producers and we were just laughing because the film is doing so well and he’s just like ‘can you believe what we did last summer has turned into this?’ because it’s all very much on set, shooting it and going 'maybe this will work so let’s do this'. And now it’s on the big screen and it’s cool, because we wondered 'will the world think these kids are as funny as we do?', and they did, they really did.”
After the success of 'Good Boys' and wrapping up Just For Laughs Sydney, Stelling is set to record her next hour special and she reveals it will be ‘very close’ to what she will be performing down under.
“The next thing I’ll be doing is my hour special and I’ll be running the closest version of it that I can when I’m in Sydney. . . It will be fun to take everything I’ve been working on and put it up on stage for Just For Laughs.”