I chatted with comedian and Baltimore native, Walker Hays! We chatted about her comedy career, and growing up in Maryland.
Q: Where did you grow up?
I was born in Baltimore and raised in Carroll County where the scenery is beautiful and the children are super bored/highly motivated to produce more children immediately following high school.
Q: Growing up, when did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
When I was unemployed and wanted a title that implied that while not outright stating it yet also made it sound kinda glamorous.
Q: Do you remember your first time doing stand up? How did it go?
My first time technically was when I attended another friend’s graduation from a comedy class in NYC. A bunch of ppl didn’t show and she told the teacher I had a funny story for the crowd, to fill time he let me get up and tell it. Then he told me I had a gift for showmanship and I told him I wasn’t going to part w/ $200 to play on a microphone for 3 weeks. My actual first time was at Laugh Factory in L.A. years later. It was only 3 minutes but I remember the owner saying I had the set of the night. My best friend brought my insanely gorgeous ex who’s now married to the beautiful girl who was with him but I get erotic Facebook messages from “fans” in Florida and Wisconsin so I’d say we both can call that night a win.
Q: Is anything off limits in your act?
Not getting paid.
Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done in life?
My attorney has advised me to say “no comment”. But taking acid in chemistry class was something I’m pretty sure happened. I definitely have a weird fascination w/ tie dye.
Q: What is your favorite place to visit when you come back to Baltimore?
I have lots of great memories from so many neighborhoods. I never get tired of popping into the Belvedere Hotel and sitting at the bar w/ a nice Manhattan, but I also love going to Lexington market to watch the cops try to decide if they’re hungrier for crab cakes or justice. It’s typically crab cakes, Old Bay makes most crime seem petty anyway.
Q: Favorite part about acting?
Collaborating. Stand Up can feel like living in bubble at times, you write your jokes, you do your set, whether you bomb or crush it that’s on you and usually you’re off to your next gig before it settles in either way. Acting is you using someone or something to illicit emotion from yourself (or if I’m to get street cred from the hard core actors it’s living truthfully in imaginary circumstances). But one man shows aside it’s gotta be you and someone else, another actor, a cameraman, an annoyed roommate running lines with you. You need that partnership to really bring yourself to the role like you lived it. I’m always tremendously flattered when someone wants to work with me to create art that other ppl will see, whether it’s a sketch that gets 5 views on YouTube or a multi million dollar feature that person thought enough of me to believe other people would want to see my work. That’s an incredible feeling.
Q: Do you prefer more intimate settings or larger settings for stand up?
As comics we all dream of shows at Madison Square Garden or at that massive retreat the finance company we used to work for takes every year cause we know our old boss would be listening and praying we didn’t bring up the time he got wasted at lunch and peed in the break room sink. But I’ve done shows for 11 people at 5pm in Orange County that were as fun as shows for 300 people at 10 pm in New York. When a crowd is into it numbers don’t matter. At my home club in NYC the front row is literally at your feet and I could lean over and kiss someone w/ ease, I don’t though cause it’s almost always couples and sharing isn’t a virtue like it should be. Still it’s those faces right under the lights that I relate to, if they’re having fun then if there’s two rows or twenty rows of people behind them the laughter is contagious and they just made my night.
Q: Excited to be back in Baltimore and performing at Kislings this week?
The comedy scene in Baltimore is a blast. Plus Justin, the owner, is a Carroll County boy and let’s just say that when you live in the boonies you can turn any barn into a full blown social event with just a couple beers. Fortunately for Canton we’ll also have Orange Crushes and running water so it can’t possibly not be the best time ever. Also the comics are hot and there’s O’s tickets up for grabs. If you stay home I’ll pour out a little liquor for you cause you’re dead to me. But I’ll get over it as soon as you show me pictures of the cute baby you just had. We’ll both probably get thrown up on by the end of the night anyway…
Walker performs Thursday, February 25th at Kisling’s Tavern in Canton!
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