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Exclusive interview: Rosebud Baker on comedy today, and being ‘a succulent that thrives on neglect’

Baker describes herself as a “succulent who thrives on neglect” in her brand-new, hilarious special, Whiskey Fists. Pic credit: Pam Loshak PR for Rosebud Baker.

Comedian Rosebud Baker has a special airing now on Comedy Central Digital streaming special where she riffs on immediate family, the “Whiskey Fists” relationship phenomenon—also the title of her new special— that can arise, and in her words, “being a succulent that thrives on neglect.”

Her stage set is laconic and low-key at times and completely refreshing, as she delivers an honest stream of withering consciousness that hits all the right notes. Baker is edgy without being offensive and riotously funny without question.

Comedian Bill Burr’s All Things Comedy is producing her no-holds-barred standup special Whiskey Fists on Comedy Central Digital. She will also be seen recurring on the upcoming Hulu series Life & Beth alongside Amy Schumer and Michael Cera. Most recently, Rosebud was a writer on the HBO Max sketch series That Damn Michael Che, from Saturday Night Live’s head writer and “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che.

Additionally, Rosebud hosts two popular weekly podcasts, Devil’s Advocate with Rosebud Baker and Find Your Beach with her now-husband and fellow comic Andy Haynes. Find Your Beach launched in 2020 when the couple was quarantining together, hoping their relationship could outlast the coronavirus pandemic.

Baker uses a sharp focus lens to examine the strange behaviors of men who underestimate her at every turn to the relationship ups and downs over the course of her single life. Her writing is spot on and has a clarity and sharp edge that makes her observational humor pop off the page. Her podcasts reflect the sharp wit and intelligent banter she has honed to perfection on the New York City comedy club circuit.

Her hot takes are refreshing, and Monsters & Critics had a quick timeout with her to talk comedy.

Exclusive interview with Rosebud Baker

Monsters & Critics: I can see why Bill Burr is involved in your special — you are as unfiltered and genuinely funny as we have heard in a while. Comedy has gotten so bland to me. How do you deal with PC pushback and those who try to come at you in these social media public forums?

Rosebud Baker: Well, my comedy really only pushes the boundaries of where people are willing to go emotionally. If you’re someone who finds tragic s**t funny, you’ll like it. If you’re someone who doesn’t, I’m not your gal.

As for PC pushback, I don’t know. I’m not really successful enough yet to worry about being canceled. All they have to take from me is my Twitter handle, and honestly, I wish they would. It’d improve my life.

M&C: Does your nurse sister come to your shows, and does she take notes on what you get right or wrong? I find the bravest thing you did in your set was take on the hallowed nurse first-responder worship we seem to have been wallowing in since last year.

Rosebud Baker: My sister doesn’t come to my shows mostly cause she’s “too busy saving lives” [read: selfish]. But I did run that joke by her first, just cause I wanted to see if she thought it was funny, and I wanted to be respectful.

I just found the whole dancing-on-our-rooftops thing to be like a ridiculous way of denying our feelings about Covid, and that made me laugh.

M&C: Female comics have many obstacles that male counterparts don’t, and I do not see huge gains. Would you please share any anecdotes of real events in your career that just floored you or made you tap into that “cocaine of emotion” anger?

Rosebud Baker: When I come up against a wall in my career, it’s very easy to go “this is because I’m a woman,” so I really really try not to do that. Not because sexism doesn’t exist, but because jumping to that as a conclusion without taking in what the person is saying, I might miss a chance to better myself as a comic.

Of course, I’ve experienced sexism, but it’s so much bigger than how clubs are booked, like the fact that female comics who aren’t already famous effectively can’t have kids without choosing to sacrifice our careers.

There’s no maternity leave and no financial aid to extend our fertility. There’s no childcare stipend when we go on the road or when we go do spots- I mean, there’s not even a conversation around it that I know of. That stuff drives me f*****g crazy, and I’m not even a mom.

M&C: You have a notable political relative, yet I noticed you veer away from politics except for conservative/liberal biases and what each side is guilty of. What have you found to be the line or the limit in standup when it comes to taking on a politician-or is it a no-go zone?

Rosebud Baker: I wouldn’t say I avoid politics in my standup because of some moral line. I just think it’s a dead zone for me comedically because I don’t want to get trapped in trying to be right over trying to be funny.

Politics is America’s new religion, and you don’t fight dogma with dogma. You just fight it by thinking for yourself. People in the literal cult that is Q-Anon will read that and agree with it and not see the irony.

M&C: Most standups are prolific writers, are you a journaler, and do you keep to a writing schedule and have projects you want to see realized into TV or film vehicles either for yourself or someone else?

Rosebud Baker: I love writing, but I hate schedules. So my writing always happens right before a deadline that’s been pushed back 3-4 times already, and the time before it is just spent thinking about what I’m going to write.

The only writing I do consistently is jokes, just because I love them. And when I’m not writing them, I’m thinking about them. They might as well be a drug addiction.

M&C: Your podcast with Andy, is this still going, and what have you discovered about your relationship and the man over time as you two do this? Was it a strengthening creative outlet or one that set you both a bit back on your heels about the nature of your marriage?

Rosebud Baker: Find Your Beach was a podcast we started on the first day of lockdown before we were even engaged. It’s been so awesome for me, and I think for Andy too, because separately we’re both pretty dark, but together we get very stupid and silly, and that’s been fun for us.

I also love the fans that listen. We have a really close dynamic with them and a stupid back and forth, and they always come out to shows, and they’re just the coolest, down-to-earth folks. Mostly I think Find Your Beach is a podcast that appeals to people with no shame, just like my marriage.

M&C: You are Dorothy Parker holding court at the Algonquin Hotel. Who is sitting at your hallowed table as invited wits and comics?

Rosebud Baker: I think I care more about what’s for dinner than who’s gonna be there.

M&C: What is the hardest thing for anyone who is genuinely funny to do to become a standup is?

Rosebud Baker: I think the hardest part is hiding it from your family, or just accepting that they’re gonna see it, so you have to divorce yourself from caring about what they think.

M&C: What was the worst club experience you had to endure?

Rosebud Baker: I have an incredible gift for completely forgetting the mistakes I’ve made in the past, which allows me to make those mistakes over and over again. Doing the road is pretty much the only part of my life where this works in my favor.

Comedy Central Stand-Up: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtw7…

Whiskey Fists launched on Comedy Central Stand-Up’s YouTube channel on August 18.

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