The Latino Men's Journal—with over 1,000,000 visitors!
October 2002

Monica PalaciosFunny Girl
By qvStaff Roldán

Monica Palacios is a Chicana comedienne who not only talks about pop culture, but also spices things up by adding a bit of nationality—and, of course, QV/lesbian sexuality. qvMagazine spoke with Monica about her path to success, her goal for the future, and her current new comedy show, “Queer Soul.”

How did you first get interested in comedy? I come from a very funny family, and believe it or not, I was the shy one. My dad was the main jokester, and my other brothers and sisters were also very funny and outgoing. I didn’t get the bug until the 6th grade when I turned into a smart-ass. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I really cut loose and developed my comedy style. My friends and I would do these little comedy sketches for class assembly. I also did a stand-up comedy routine for one of my English classes, too. When I went into college, I took a lot of creative writing courses, and of course, all of my short stories were funny. It finally came to a point where I just couldn’t keep my words on paper anymore—I had to share them. So I started going to comedy clubs and became this closet comedian. I’d sit there at clubs and observe and say to myself, “I’m funnier than those guys. I know I am.” So finally, I put together a 5-minute routine which I performed to myself in my room for a year. And then, on my 23rd birthday, I went to a comedy club in San Francisco, got on stage, and did my act. I was good, and I was hooked!

What type of humor were you doing at the time? I did stuff about popular culture. At the time, there was no trace of nationality or sexuality—I just did what I thought was funny.

When did you start going into more of the race and sexual orientation stuff? I found out that there was a Comedy Club called the Valencia Rose in San Francisco, and every Monday night they had QV and lesbian open mike comedy. That was in August of 1982, So I went to the club to do a show, got on stage, and it was great. I was able to be myself—100%. I didn’t have to worry about people judging me just because I was a lesbian, and it was really amazing.

What can a person expect from in your new show “Queer Soul?” You’re going to see 20 years of my work. Some of my vintage favorites, as well as some new material. It will be performance, monologues, stand-up, poetry, and some singing. I always try to do as much singing as possible, because the truth is, if I had the courage, I would just sing. But I’m not there, yet.

What does “Queer Soul,” refer to? It’s a couple of things. I use the word “soul” because I am extremely inspired by 60s and 70s rock/soul music and I bring that aspect into my show. I also use soul because of the spiritual side of me—I’m a very spiritual person.

How does comedy help you deal with the more serious things in life? I think comedy opens you up more as a human being. You go deeper into yourself and are able to deal with tough issues because you’re so open. I think comedy is a very healing tool.

Has anyone ever come up to you after a show and told you what you said really touched them? Actually, that happens quite a bit. I was recently on a panel at UCLA, and I was the only queer person on this panel. We each got 15 minutes to talk about how we got started, and I talked about how it was tough to come out as a “Lesbian Comedian.” After I spoke, I got a really strong applause, and after the panel, a young man came up and said, “You don’t know how much it meant to me that you actually talked about being QV. I’m dealing with that right now, and it’s tough sometimes. But listening to you really touched me. Thank you.” I really appreciated that.

What do you hope to achieve with your work? I want to share my work and be connected with people and to the universe. I want to show others that if I can do it, so can you.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into performing arts and comedy? I would say, just jump into it. If you sit down and start to think, you might not do it. Share your story with the universe!

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