Actress, comedian, and writer Gina Brillon was born and raised in Bronx, New York. She’s been a standup comic since she was 17 years old. She’s made appearances on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham, E!’s Chelsea Lately, AXS’ Gotham Comedy Live, The View, and is the first (and only) Latina winner of NBC’s 2012 Stand up for Diversity Showcase. She was selected to be part of Montreal’s Just For Laughs New Faces Showcase. Gina sells more tickets as a headliner within the Improv Comedy Club chain than any new artist. Gina is also an accomplished singer, published writer, and poet, her pieces have appeared in the New York Post and Daily News among others.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Apt613: Hi Gina, thank you for coming to the Centrepointe Theatre on October 24th and 25th! Is this the first time you’ll be touring Canada?
Gina Brillon: Not my first time touring Canada but my first time doing so many cities. It’s really cool.
I don’t want to sound crazy but I follow you on Instagram and Twitter and want to congratulate you on your wedding!
Aw thank you! We’ve been married now for over two week and it’s wonderful.
I noticed you are close friends with Canadian comic Micheal Harrison! How’d you guys meet?
Yeah he’s the sweetest thing, we were at a comedy club and there was this wide eyed guy that came up to us asking “Are you guys comedians?” He’s a hard worker. I ended up showing him a bit of New York.
How was it growing up in New York?
There were a lot of experiences, New York is not a city for everyone but I loved it. There’s a lot of little things where when you leave and come back you realize how expensive New York is.
I can only imagine starting stand-up in New York City.
Yeah I started stand-up at 17, doing a lot of observational stuff because a lot of people don’t want to hear the opinions of a 17 year old. So I spoke about growing up in the south Bronx. I took comedy really seriously.
Were you taken seriously by other comics at 17?
Yeah people don’t realize the brotherhood comedy has, I thankfully had many comedy brothers and sisters that took care of me. It’s much more loving than people realize.
What was the generation of comics that you were growing up with?
The comics I was working with were becoming pretty big for example Judah Friedlander, Big Jay Oakerson, Yamaneika, and Ali Wong. People that worked so hard and are finally seeing the fruit of their labour.
Yeah finally seeing your friends get acknowledged.
Yes! Knowing what they’ve been through. Looking back to where we were to where we are now. The progress.
Gina, I wanted to also congratulate you on your special ‘Pacifically Speaking’ that Gabriel Iglesias produced. It’s great to see comics supporting one another. How do you prepare for a special? How do you prepare for that hour?
To prepare for a special, its six month to a year. First you have to gather your material which you can only really practice 20 minutes at a time, but you have to stitch it together make it flow seamlessly. Then you have to go on the road and see how that hour works across the country, trimming the fat, tweaking this and that. They’re made to look like it happens overnight meanwhile you’re putting your life in it. That’s why people that put a special out every year amaze me.
Thank you for doing this interview Gina, I can’t wait to watch you at the Centrepointe Theatre on October 24th and 25th.
Gina Brillon is performing in the Just For Laughs Canadian Comedy Tour hosted by Sammy Sugar at Centrepointe Theatre (101 Centrepointe Drive) from October 24–25 at 7:30pm. Tickets cost $56.50 online.
Accessibility: The venue has wheelchair spaces and adjacent companion seats, as well as special seating for patrons with visual, auditory or mobility impairments. Centrepointe Theatre is also equipped with an infrared audio receiver system to assist patrons with hearing impairments. All washrooms are accessible. Exterior doors are equipped with automated openers.