As a former Air Force Flight Commander now living in Seattle, Leah Mansfield has quite the arsenal of life experiences. She’s a traveling comedian who’s opened for her personal favorite, Tig Notoro, and has made a name for herself being one of the most honest and hardest working comics in the industry. As she said, “I feel like my big responsibilities are truth and laughter. If I can get people to laugh at truth, then I’m doing my job.”
On Getting Started
I joined the Air Force instead of pursuing comedy. During out-processing, which took six months, the squadron needed a host for the holiday party. They finally came to me right beforehand and said “pretty please, ma’am.” So without any prep, I showed up, slammed three beers, and hosted a party for about 100 people. Everyone laughed, and for the first time I thought maybe I could be a comedian.
On Knowing Your Audience:
I really like the idea of the whole performance being a dance with a big group of strangers. Every dance is different, and I try to respond to how the audience is reacting. Sometimes I miss, but my aim improves with time. The only thing I will not change is to ever be “less gay.” I talk about what concerns me in my life, and being gay is a pretty big deal to me.
On Favorite Comics:
I’m in deep comic love with Tig Notaro. My whole family likes to sit around and listen to her. My little cousin puts out a “No Moleste” sign every time the family stays in a hotel. Her last release, “Tig Notaro Live” is one of the best things I have ever heard. Maria Bamford is amazing. Someone most people haven’t heard of, but should, is Paul Hooper. He’s a force of nature onstage-such a great show to watch. And off stage, he’s kind, fun and humble.
This is my first time to Bridgetown, and I’m so excited. I love festivals. I’m a pretty big extrovert (figuratively), and festivals are like comedian group vacations. My favorite is the SLO Comedy Fest, which I have done all three years. I’m pretty professional on the road, but at a festival? I’m bringing two sombreros and a remote control helicopter to Portland. We are going to party like rock stars.
Leah is getting ready to move to LA in May. In the meantime, she’s hoping to release a comedy album and says she could really use a girlfriend. Check her out on Rooftopcomedy.com and on Twitter @LeahMansfield.