By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
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By Jon Campbell
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"My boyfriend is so into fantasy football, he makes noises while playing it that he doesn't even make during sex!" comedian Giulia Rozzi announces from the stage. Everyone laughs, but when she jumps in with "He's right over therehe's the tech guy!" I feel a twinge of empathy. What's it like being the butt of a comedian's joke when you're dating her?
Giulia's guy, Timothy Owens, appreciates her humor. "We both have very dramatic personalities and constantly make fun of each other," he says. "I'm not offended because it's clean fun. I only get upset if I'm trying to get my groove on and she's in a silly mood, making jokes and funny faces." But he's proud of her fantasy football joke.
Allison Castillo only talks about a boyfriend if things aren't going well. She claims anyone dating a comedian shouldn't mind being stage fodder. "Sadly, a good relationship is not funny," she says. "It's a comic's right to talk about anything in his or her life onstage. If you don't want that, you shouldn't date a comic."
I've had my share of comedian crushes. People who make me laugh and have the guts to hit the stage cold, without a script, are alluring. I fall for the shy, cute, and charming ones, class clowns who seduce with their wit.
Self-deprecating comedian Todd Levin told me that "being funny is essential to dating and flirting. It's how I beat social Darwinism." Indeed, humor can help mask all sorts of social awkwardness, though comics tend to need more validation than your average neurotic New Yorker.
Almost everyone I spoke with for this column echoed a similar theme. "Comedians didn't get the guy or girl in high school," explains Time Out New York comedy editor and stand-up comic Jane Borden. "They were the 'funny' ones. A thirst for attention they didn't get as children is why they do comedy in the first place." Several comedians got into the business after a breakup, including Cassidy Henehan, who used his pain to summon the courage to goof off onstage.
For Best Week Ever regular Christian Finnegan and his live-in girlfriend-publicist Kambri Crews, comedy has its place in and out of the bedroom (mostly out). Finnegan says, "Joking around is great before and afterward, but at some point you need to put your game face on. When you're having sex, you want to be perceived as confident and assured, which is not where most comedy comes from. If I'm making jokes during sex, it's because something has gone horribly wrong and I'm trying to do damage control."
But Crews sees things slightly differently. "I've found comedians to be supremely insecure people," she says. "If I started laughing at him in bed, he might never get it up again. Post-sex and waking up naked in the morning are more fun. He pushes in my nipple like it's a button and with each push my nipple makes a different sounda foghorn, air fart, elephant. The anticipation of what the next sound could be becomes a ticklish, giddy expectation."
Baron Vaughn mixes things up in the sack. "I'll do a 180: funny one minute and seductively aggressive the next," he says. "At least that's what I call it. Women might say bumbling, but what do they know? Them, with their vaginas!"
Jessi Klein regularly recounts her dating and sexual mishaps, from buying condoms to mistimed flirting. Watch tall, attractive Klein a few times and it's clear that even a hot comedian may be unaware of her good looks. Klein tells me, "If it's hard for me to make someone laugh, I probably can't go out with them. My own sense of attractiveness rests on my ability to make others laugh. If I can't, I become an uncomfortable, neurotic mess. I'd be lying if I said getting laid wasn't one of the main reasons I do this." But Klein is also aware of comedians' social standing. "It's like you're a zitty, chubby rock star."
Eric de Picciotto's had his share of groupies, even though he makes sure to mention his longtime girlfriend during shows. "One night, a woman from the audience was enjoying my set so much, she flashed me from her table," Eric confesses. "You'd think that I wouldn't have wanted my girlfriend there, but the best part was having her there and laughing about it together when we got home."
Gilad Foss relays his dating woes during his sets. "You know the show Sex and the City? I'm working on a spin-off called Involuntarily Celibate in Brooklyn," goes one of his openers. Foss proclaims comedy and dating "rife with rejection" and sees bringing chicks to shows as a mixed bag. "When I first meet a girl, she'll often want to see one of my shows," he says. "I try and avoid it because it makes the performance even more nerve-racking, not to mention that it's an egotistical first-date activity."
Chelsea Peretti, who's shared some wacky sexual fantasies onstage, ventures that female comics "probably flirt slightly differently than the average female," since they're around guys more often. Does dating fuel her humor? Sometimes. "I used to mess with this guy who completely loved that I would constantly mock him in my act," she says. "Seeing him was like withdrawing from a joke bank filled with solid gold."