'Just go out there and be yourself': Get to know comedian Michelle Shaughnessy

With many high profile gigs under her belt, Michelle Shaughnessy is a force to be reckoned with in Canada’s standup comedy scene.
(Photo by David Leyes)

With many high profile gigs under her belt, Michelle Shaughnessy is a force to be reckoned with in Canada's standup comedy scene. 

Shaughnessy was previously a finalist in Sirius XM's "Top Comic" competition, and has recorded multiple appearances on CBC, The Comedy Network, Bite TV, and more.

In 2017, her album You Know What You Know Did hit the top of the iTunes comedy charts, and is now following it up with a new record, Botoxic, available everywhere on July 17th.

With the release of what's sure to be another fan favourite album, we invited Shaughnessy to take our questionnaire. Here's what she had to say!

1. Where do you come from, and what were you like growing up?

I grew up in Peterborough. I think I was funny as a kid? I always liked making my friends laugh. But I wanted to be a serious Oscar winning actress. There's still time for that, right?

2. What kind of first impression do you hope to make on audiences when you step on stage?

Oh gosh, I never really thought about that. I just want to make them laugh quickly so they'll like me! When I first started I was told, "As a female, don't dress too nice!" AND "As a woman, you have to dress up!!" So I realized it doesn't really matter. Wear what you want, just go out there and be yourself. They'll either like you or they won't. I care a lot less now then I used to.

3. When did you first know you wanted to do comedy? When did you decide it was a career?

Honestly, I'm probably the worst comedian to ask all these comedy related questions. I literally don't know. I never had that AHA MOMENT. I just tried it at 18, got laughs and kept going. Some days I'm still not sure it's a career, LOL. There's so much more I want to do in the industry and I never want to be complacent and just do this one thing.

4. What was the greatest moment you've experienced on stage? How about the worst?

You know, I get asked this question a lot and I WISH I could give you an answer. Whenever I have an epic set I think, "THAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT EVER!" and whenever I don't feel like my set hit I think, " THAT WAS AWFUL I HATE THIS!"

I will say when the pandemic hit I was opening for Gerry Dee on his tour. He plays in full theatres and it was amazing to go up to packed crowds like that! I mean, sure, they were all there to see him but I could let that slip my mind for a bit during my set and feel how big the laughter was when there's that many people. Those shows were all great moments. 

5. Who are your comedy heroes? Who do you look to for inspiration?

There's comics I love but 'hero'? LOL! Come on now… we're all just humans. 

The most inspirational moments I've had were standing in the back of the room, watching local comics try new stuff, or come into their own onstage. It's always made me want to go home and work just a bit harder.

6. What other fellow comics should Canadians know about?

There's so many!! (mostly just me) But seriously… Just check out the releases from Howl & Roar. When Allison Dore started the label she made it a mission to amplify the voices in comedy who may not be the standard mainstream BUT who were just as funny if not funnier then lots of comics putting out albums right now. I would absolutely endorse every single comic on that label as someone Canadians should know… except for one. HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID. That's a joke! Dear God, I hope that joke translates in print.

Michelle's new album Botoxic releases on July 17th and is available everywhere, including the Howl & Roar website. 

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