Jessimae Peluso has plans after this interview. “I’m having drinks with Urkel.” When pressed, the former Girl Code cast member explains. “I can’t call him Urkel because that’s just disrespectful. His name is Jaleel, and he’s a friend of mine. We’re catching up today.”
It becomes clear during the interview that Ms. Peluso likes to stay busy. When she’s not doing an interview or catching drinks with an old friend, the comedian is juggling her multiple podcasts, livestream Q&As, television appearances and standup tours. She talked to Moontower about her many projects, doing physical comedy for her mom, and her quest for the best mac and cheese in town.
On deciding to try stand-up
I was selling socks in the sock room at H&M, and my co worker told me I was funny. I was like, “Cool, I don’t want a boss. Is that what we do here? Is that how comedy works? Because just sign me the fuck up. If I don’t have to answer to any asshole, if I don’t have to do progress reports, or fucking do a clock in. If I don’t need to clock sick, sign me the fuck up.” And I just started doing improv. I did improv for years and then I tried to do standup, and then I was like, “Oh, yeah, this is where it’s at,” because I was doing musical improv and my instrument was the finger cymbal. And I started to get arthritis after a while, so I had to go solo. I had to pull a Steve Perry and break off.
On whether she did any acting growing up
I was acting like I wasn’t depressed inside by being a complete goofball on the outside. And that’s all you need, that’s it. Just a childhood desire to entertain people. Yeah, I used to entertain my sister all the time when I was like 6 years old, 8 years old. My mom said I was a goofball. I was just home a week ago and I love physical comedy and my mom was getting ready and I’m just doing this like knee knocking dance while she’s trying to blow her hair. She’s like, “Jesus Christ, some things never change.”
On comedic influences
They’re all dead. Rivers, Pryor, Carlin, Bill Hicks. I love Sam Kinison. Jim Carrey’s still alive, thank God. Robin Williams, Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy, just all the greats. All those people. I watched all those specials when I was 8 years old. Totally inappropriate to be watching Richard Pryor, but that’s what I watched.
On her podcasts
Sharp Tongue is out right now and available everywhere and that’s just me talking shit, kind of like a comedy diary. I interview people, my family is on there. It has some comedy sets that I play, some people heckling me and how I handle hecklers. So it’s just like my comedy road diary. Highlarious is coming out on 4/20 and that’s a more pot centric “pot-cast”, and it’s gonna be seasonal. And the first season is all comedians, second season is gonna be getting high and watching planet Earth. We do got a lot of fun shit going on. It’s gonna be great. Basically, just a reason to smoke weed with my friends, not that I need one.
I also have Weedsday, every Wednesday on Instagram and Facebook Live. That’s where I educate and advocate and entertain with marijuana. It’s very casual. I sit down, I answer my fans’ questions. I talk about what I’m smoking, talk about where I’m going to be performing. I get some shout outs, I talk a little bit about the cannabis plant, talk a little bit about what’s going on with my dad who has Alzheimer’s and dealing with that every week. So that’s a fun video diary that I do with cannabis as well. I try and do it on 4:20 Eastern Standard as much as I can depending on my travel schedule.
On what she likes to do when she’s on tour
Just smoke a fattie and go and find the best mac and cheese the town has to offer. I’m gonna eat all your waffles and all your mac and cheese. So let a bitch know where she should have some brunch.
Catch Jessimae and dozens of other comedians and podcasts at Moontower with a $99 Satellite Badge. Or grab one of the few remaining Star Badges and see Tiffany Haddish, Mike Birbiglia, Jo Koy, Tig Notaro, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and An Evening for The Comedy Resistance with David Cross up close at the Paramount. More info here.