Comedy

Jennifer McAuliffe hopes her new album will personally attack you, but in a fun way

If you're looking for relatable, self-deprecating comedy then Jennifer McAuliffe's "Border Crossing" is for you.

"I want people to enjoy it, I want them to laugh. I hope that it's harmless fun."

Jennifer McAuliffe (Dave Cyr )

Not many comics or singers for that matter can say that their album was recorded in one shot or that they received a Guinness World Record while creating it. Jennifer McAuliffe can. 

Her newly released comedy album Border Crossing was recorded during her performance at the Broken Record Comedy Show, in Nashville. The event lasted for over eight days, with comics performing 24 hours a day in an effort to continue beating the show's own world record for the longest stand-up comedy show.

McAuliffe has self-deprecating, relatable humour and her album is chock-full of hilarious anecdotes and laughable moments, including jokes on wanting to have a baby and frightening men, the anxieties of dating, and her father being her date to her younger sister's wedding. 

(Illustrated by Madeleine Hellmers)

"I was trying to find something within my material that would be personal enough to me that I didn't feel like I was lying," says McAuliffe. 

"I wanted to do material that I like and that other people would like to listen to, but then also make sure that it's not like an inside joke or too much of a time capsule."

The Toronto native jokes that she hopes people can listen to her album and "feel personally attacked in a fun way." By which she means that she hopes her album can make them laugh when thinking back on their own similarly funny or embarrassing experiences. 

"I want people to enjoy it, I want them to laugh. I hope that it's harmless fun, I hope that I'm not punching down in any way or that I'm not making anyone feel bad," she says. 

Although her album was recorded pre-pandemic, McAuliffe still wanted to avoid including anything too current in order for her content to be evergreen. Her goal was to create an album that could be listened to by anyone, at any time and that is what she has accomplished. 

Although McAuliffe is happy with the end result, like a true comedian she says she can't help but think about how she could make it better or further improve her jokes. 

"Part of me is a perfectionist and always thinks I can make it better," she says. 

"Especially because stand-up is such a moving art form."

Jennifer McAuliffe performing at the Accidental Comedy Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. (Rustin McCann)

This is a statement that rings true for any artist working on perfecting their craft. However, McAuliffe acknowledges that due to covid it will probably be a long time before she is able to perform amongst a crowd again or record another album. And by then she says she will most likely be at a different place in her life and have completely new jokes to tell. 

"I'm really grateful that I did it, that I got it out there and people have seemed to really like it," she explains. 

Aside from self-scrutiny McAuliffe says one of the most difficult things about comedy is that there is still prejudice within the scene, particularly for women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQ community. 

"There's even less opportunities for someone who doesn't look like a guy named Darryl. If you look like a guy named Darryl it's still hard for you in comedy but it's not harder," she says. 

"We've done what we can, women make their own shows, people of colour make their own shows, members of the LGBTQ community make their own shows. But it's still considered niche and the human experience isn't niche, comedy isn't niche. So intellectually I find that irritating."

As a white woman from Toronto, McAuliffe empathizes with other comics who are from further marginalized communities and whose comedy may be considered even more "niche" than her own. 

Now amid the pandemic and unable to perform live, McAuliffe spends her time writing, both for shows and publications as well as a few "sci-fi comedy" television pilots she's creating. You can also find her on Twitter @JenniferJokes where she tweets jokes daily, along with the odd political rant or two.

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