BootLeg Betty

Meet The Cast Of ‘Funny Girls’ And Find Out Who Their Comic Inspirations Are? Airs Tonight

Are you ready for a major dose of hilarity to brighten up your Tuesday nights? Then look no further than Oxygen’s Funny Girls, a new docu-series following six up-and-coming female comedians — Scout Durwood, Calise Hawkins, Yamaneika Saunders, Nicole Aimee Schreiber, Stephanie Simbari, and Ester Steinberg — throughout their personal and professional lives.

But before you dive into the show, we here at Wetpaint Entertainment are giving you a much-needed introduction to these six gals in terms of how they got started in comedy, their individual comedic style, and exactly what they think about the man, the myth, the legend: Justin Bieber — who is fresh off his Comedy Central roast. We’re taking it one-by-one with this entertaining group of women and pumping you up for their big debut tonight, April 7!

Scout Durwood

How did you get started in comedy?

Scout Durwood: I’ve always been a performer and, at some point, just started only booking funny roles. I did standup on a whim and got hooked on it and then left that world for a few years and ended up working as a cabaret singer in New York and had a great time doing everything wonderful and fun below 14th Street. I moved to Los Angeles and started doing more mainstream standup again.

Who is your comedic inspiration?

My dad is my first big one and there was a moment when he made everyone laugh when I was like, ‘That’s the one. That’s what I want to do the rest of my life.’ Maria Bamford is huge for me. What she talks about and how she does what she does is so inspiring. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman has defined me. Having gone into burlesque and seeing how sexualzied you are as a woman in comedy and to embrace that …Pretty Woman is pretty tame and it’s about prostitution which can be pretty dark. I find that really inspiring.

Who is your favorite person to make fun of?

With internet culture, which is so mean and faceless, if you put a video up you know you’re going to get half comments that are like, ‘Put a d–k in this girl’s mouth.’ You know what I mean? You don’t even feel that anymore. That’s disarmed that whole genre of making fun of and brought back genuine impressions. Maybe I’m doing an impression of myself onstage — no, I believe everyone is.

How would you make fun of Justin Bieber had you been invited to his roast?

I would have done my whole set addressing Bieber as part of my lesbian community. He’ll never be more than a 14-year-old lesbian girl to me — or less.

Calise Hawkins

How did you get started in comedy?

Calise Hawkins: I started because one New Year’s I went to The Comedy Cellar and this comic was flirting with me and my friend. I was like, ‘I’ve always wanted to try comedy.’ And he was like, ‘I run an open mic, you should come.’ He just booked me there on the spot. I had been thinking about it for a little while, but I was never bold enough to actually take steps to do it. I wrote my jokes, showed up, and tried it out. I was nervous, shaking, and felt like throwing up. If it hadn’t gone well, I wouldn’t be a comedian. I’m still nervous; I’m always nervous.

Who is your comedic inspiration?

I like a lot of the comedians that I see in the comedy clubs that I perform in. My favorites right now are Nathan Macintosh, Sabrina Jalees, and Sean Patton because they’re up-and-coming and they’re excellent. They are so genuine and fun to watch and are specifically themselves.

Who is your favorite person to make fun of?

I make fun of whoever does something funny in my life. I guess I focus a lot on my daughter at times, my boyfriend — whoever he is at the time — and strangers that really disrespect me or do something very interesting. I focus a little bit on race, inequality, and discrimination in general.

How would you make fun of Justin Bieber had you been invited to his roast?

Honestly the whole Justin Bieber thing…he’s a child. He just turned the drinking age and just stopped being a child. I would have probably turned it against other people. Sure, we know exactly what he’s doing because he’s famous but nobody cared about the stuff you were doing when you were a kid. Everyone has messed up. I would have turned it against the panel and tried to name any dirt I’d found about them when they were children because nobody is blameless in life. I guess it’s because I’m a mom or maybe it’s because, honestly, I was a very troubled child.

Yamaneika Saunders

Yamaneika Saunders
Credit: Oxygen

How did you get started in comedy?

Yamaneika Saunders: I started many years ago when I was in high school. My mother was doing standup and I was studying theatre at the L.A. County High School For the Arts. She thought I should do standup and I was against it. Then they offered it my senior year and I thought it was God’s answer. I was set to study theatre management and I was set to go to college for that, then standup came and I failed miserably. I was really persistent about getting better at it, which is why I stayed in it so long, but now I love it.

Who is your comedic inspiration?

A lot of people have influenced me, a lot of whom aren’t comedians per se. I’m influenced by entertainers who love to entertain. One of my biggest influences is Bette Midler because she did so many different things. She did some of her comedy act, singing, dancing — she incorporated all the things of vaudeville which I think is important and is missing now in general. Roseanne Barr is huge for me because she speaks her mind and we have the same birthday.

Who is your favorite person to make fun of?

I genuinely don’t go out to make fun of people. I may do some impersonations but a lot of it is to get to the point of the joke. I used to [impersonate] my grandfather a lot. I just thought there was something funny about the cadence of his voice — rough but still with love behind it.

How would you make fun of Justin Bieber had you been invited to his roast?

I feel like there’s so much you could target him for. Right now he’s got this peach fuzz going on with his face — I don’t know what’s going on with him. Is he going backwards in time or forward in time? He’s just all over the place. He’s a mess. I’d love to roast his mama because I feel like she’s responsible for a lot of the nonsense that he’s doing.

Nicole Aimee Schreiber

 
Wetpaint Entertainment: How did you get started in comedy?

Nicole Aimee Schreiber: I was kind of always a jokey and comedic person. It wasn’t until I was working in the real world and I just found myself enjoying entertaining people during lunch more than my actual job and eventually a friend of mine suggested I do standup comedy and I realized you could be inappropriate and funny for a living and I realized I can’t go back to a regular job.

Who is your comedic inspiration?

The comedian I saw first that made me realize I could do this was Sarah Silverman. We come from similar backgrounds — I’m Jewish, darker hair, says inappropriate stuff. When I was a kid, Lily Tomlin. I was a big SNL girl and watched a lot. I’d say “Coffee Talk” on SNL was my absolute favorite thing. I did it at a talent show in 7th grade.

Who is your favorite person to make fun of?

My mom. I love making fun of my mom. I just like making fun of myself, basically. I think it’s fun to poke fun at myself. Throwing yourself under the bus, you kind of have to do that before you can take a jab at someone else. It’s an honor to be made fun of. If someone pokes fun at you, makes jokes about you, or does an impression of you, I think that’s hilarious.

How would you make fun of Justin Bieber had you been invited to his roast?

A boy who has had nothing but priviledge and positive experiences in his life has just turned into the most royal of s–theads. He’s just such a d–k. He doesn’t seem like he’s even a nice person. Just be a good person. It’s not that hard. Kate McKinnon will always and forever be the best Justin Bieber.

Stephanie Simbari

 
How did you get started in comedy?

Stephanie Simbari: I have a million different stories but basically I was like, ‘I am so bored and I have so many funny things to say.’ I just kind of fell into it. I did it the first time a little over six years ago and I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do.’

Who is your comedic inspiration?

The world and being outside. I don’t have a person I look to for inspiration as much as the universe — how things are in the world and myself. It’s my own issues so I guess I look to myself. When I first started I discovered Janeane Garofalo’s standup on the internet I had a moment where I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s what I want to do. That’s awesome.’ Anyone who’s doing it and speaking their truth, I’m all about them.

Who is your favorite person to make fun of?

Just myself, mostly. And anyone who doesn’t like me in the audience. [Laughs]

How would you make fun of Justin Bieber had you been invited to his roast?

‘I have your d–k on my phone, Justin Bieber.’ Someone sent me a picture of Justin Bieber’s d–k from Tumblr and it’s him and he’s holding it. I guess I’d say, ‘I don’t even know you and I have your d–k on my phone so you’re doing something wrong.’ But also, it’s nice. So good job. It might be hard for me to roast him with that because I liked it. And then I’m like, ‘What are you doing later?’

Ester Steinberg

How did you get started in comedy?

Ester Steinberg: My dad was a comedian in the boom in the ‘80s and then he owned a comedy club and then he failed like a funny dad would do. Then, when I was born he was pushing me to do it. He had three daughters, I was the youngest, and I was kind of funny. I was like, ‘I want to be an actress,’ and he was like, ‘No you don’t, you want to be a comedian.’ And then he’s been brainwashing me. Literally, I was brainwashed by my father.

Who is your comedic inspiration?

I feel like when I was growing up I was a huge Joan Rivers and Sarah Silverman fan. I also worship Dave Attell. I was an 11-year-old girl being like, ‘Attell is my favorite.’ I love Louis C.K. and now Nick Kroll. I just love all comedy and I’m obsessed with it. Even if I’m watching it and it’s not funny, I’m critiquing.

Who is your favorite person to make fun of?

I make fun of where I’m from — I’m from Tampa. You know how every girl talks about Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret like it’s the Bible? I like to make fun of new-age stuff and I make fun of dudes a lot, too. Like how they don’t understand us women. Everything’s fair game. Whatever’s trendy, I like to bash it.

How would you make fun of Justin Bieber had you been invited to his roast?

I actually was going to have more fun with like Chris D’Elia. I love how Martha Stewart hit on him and I almost would come onto him. I don’t know, I should have a good answer but I don’t. I think I may be coming onto him and that would be my angle. Sexualizing him would be hilarious to me. He’s so hot and he’s such a bizarre person. I would give him s–t for being Canadian because how funny is that. I guess that’s it.

 

Funny Girls premieres tonight, April 7, at 9 p.m. ET on Oxygen and will air Tuesday nights all season long.

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