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New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop EDM


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"The Multiple Personalities of the Multi-Talented Comedian Jen Tullock"

Jen Tullock is Estelle, an aging yet sexually charged ex-vaudevillian. She is also Sapphire, the British toddler trapped in a never-ending tea party. Growing up, she used to be young Desmond Montgomery, a mental institution renegade she fabricated at age seven so convincingly that for years “he” would have presents waiting for him under the Tullock family Christmas tree. The comedian and performer is a Louisville, Kentucky native now based in Bushwick. Tullock has developed over the years a small army of ridiculous characters, which she seamlessly takes on in various staged acts and homemade videos. Jenatari, a potty-mouthed lady rapper, started out as one of these acts, with the primary purpose of making her audiences laugh. Then her rapping started getting good.

A trained Jazz singer, Jen Tullock has put Jenatari to work. Together with electro hip-hop musician and emcee Peter Cloutier she’s been perfecting her rapping skills, writing new songs for their first album together, and all the time performing. On a recent steaming afternoon she took a break from her hectic schedule to meet on a sun-drenched Williamsburg rooftop and answer few questions over multiple glasses of iced Campari, which, she says, she needs. Between final recording sessions (the new album is due out August 16th), photo-shoot dramas ending with a desperate searches for lost memory cards in the gutters of Williamsburg, and meeting with investors for Stupid Happy, her debut feature filming next fall (she co-wrote it and will appear as one of the leading characters), Tullock finally turned 28. It’s the age she always wanted to be. ”I always told my mom that 28 is the age when I blow up,” she says with conviction. She just didn’t expect that of all her alter egos, it’d be Jenatari that would ignite said Ka-Boom.
How did Jenatari come to be?
It started 6 years ago in Chicago when a DJ friend needed a female rapper for a song he was working on. He had seen me do super jokey rap in a comedy show so he knew I was good enough to fake it. I recorded the song, Dumb-ass Ho, under the name Jenatari, which my then roommate, a big video-game nerd came up with. Shortly after I moved to New York. Later friends called to tell me that it’s playing in clubs everywhere, and nobody knows who Jenatari is.
Jenatari began as a comedy act but the new songs show a greater focus on the music.
When we started it was such obvious parody. I would come out to the stage wearing fur coats and talking in a heightened inflection that wasn’t natural. It almost became Flight of the Concord with hip-hop, which was not what I wanted to do. As I started to get better at it I realized that we could just make the music, and it didn’t have to be a joke. I felt it was a crutch, and also that I was doing it a disservice. Our shows now are still fun and over the top but I’m not trying to make fun of anything- I’m just trying to put up a good show and rap well.
Jenatari is a fairly recent addition to your repertoire. Are you surprised by how well she’s been received?
It’s really wacky that this is all happening now. All the little tug-boats I’ve been pulling up the river for the past 6 years, pouring all of my energy, effort, and money into, are still in the starting line. I’ve been doing Jenatari for what feels like 10 minutes and all of the lights have gone green. People have told me for years that my comedy is too esoteric. As a writer and an actor I was doing such broad things that I got lost in a sea of people doing the exact same thing. But to come up as a white female rapper, to do this kind a music- I realize now it was the best chance I had to get a foot in the door. It is going to be interesting when I go back in the cerebral festival circuit with My upcoming projects, like my one woman cabaret based on the life of Leni Riefenstahl. People will ask, “How do we know you?” and I will say, “I just made a dirty hip hop album”.
What can we expect of the new album?
The new songs have elements of jazz in them. I’m doing more singing. The cool thing about this album is that I’ve done all the vocals on it, from gospel style to French jazz. The intension was to sound like we had 10 studio singers. I am very proud of that. We made most of the album in our home studio.
You fit a professional studio in your apartment?
We have quite the rinky dink set up. We call it the spaceship: one corner of the living room is set with two big speakers, four lap tops, a board, and an interface. The extra room was turned into a studio, with the closet as the vocal booth.
Your singing roots have been primarily in Jazz. Were you surprised to find yourself making a hip-hop album?
When I was 16 I planned to move to New York and become an actress and a jazz singer, which I did. If you had told me that my first big commercial success will be as a rapper I would say you are crazy. That was never an option offered to me as a performer. I’m new at this, and ironically my heart is more in this than any of the other things. I always loved hip-hop, but I think it is symptomatic of our generation and the way I was raised that I felt hesitant to feel a personal connection to it. I know now that was bullshit. I feel like I was invited to this awesome party that I never felt I was cool enough to be in.
You are involved in so many projects. Is it ever a struggle to keep up?
It never is. I have many struggles - mainly with finance and fashion - but never a struggle to produce, to show up. The aftermath is a different story. I’ll go back and analyze every show and cry over it and beg for affirmation.
What do you like doing the most?
Drinking. You mean artistically? Just being on any stage. I love performing music. There are elements of Jenatari that are down right theatrical so they allow me to not only sing and dance, but also crowed surf and spray champagne on people and make unexpected social commentary. I love being in the studio and filming, but the feeling of being in front of an audience is unparallel. Its what boils my blood.That and the drinking.
Who is funny to you?
I grew up on the classic. Danny key is the greatest comedian that ever lived. He and Donald O’Connor are the people who influenced me the most as performers. The type of humor I find the funniest is English sketch comedies from 80’s and 90’s like French and Saunders and Fry and Laurie. Carol Burnett can make me fall to the floor. Tracy Ulmann is fantastic
The recent success of Bridesmaids has brought back a discussion on the state of female comedy. Care to add your two cents?
This contemporary trend of dude/bro comedy- I will never understand it. I know that there are millions who do -that’s how they make money - But it doesn’t appeal to me. As much as we like to think we moved away from this gender divide and we have equal opportunities it is not the case. I think Tina Fey is wildly talented, a trailblazer. She was at Second City in Chicago where I was as well, and I remember an anecdote from her memoir about pitching an idea for a sketch there that was not accepted because the director thought that nobody wants to see two women on a stage. And this is the late 90’s we’re talking about. I forget that exist until I hear myself described by a fan as “the best girl comedian”. Its unfortunate that we even have to think about it – it seems so dated and counter intuitive.
Why is comedy one of the last frontiers where a gender distinction is still made?
There is an amount of control to humor. When you make people laugh you have them in the palm of your hand. To be funny you have to be assertive and you have to be confidant. I think that women were not in a position to do that until not too long ago. There is also the de-sexualisation, because so much humor comes from self-deprecation. As a woman the first thing to make fun of is your lack of grace, or lack of sexiness. That is the primary ammunition women use. God forbid people find you attractive when you’re a comedian, because than they don’t know what to do. I love Chelsea handler for this reason, because she is a funny, quick-witted woman, and also a stereotypical sexy woman, and she hasn’t deluded that. She has made a career out of exploiting that. And I think that is incredibly empowering and funny.
What’s next?
We are shooting some Jenatari videoswith director Pierce Varous of Nice Dissolve. The first one, for the song Wipe it Off, will be shot in a Bushwick diner. For the second video Jenatari will be a 1940’s French revolutionary spy, and the third one will be a bad Jurassic park knock off where Peter Parker and I will be dancing with a bunch of dinosaurs and aliens. We would like to get a little viral hit with these. - Blackbook Magazine

"6th St."

6TH STREET, Jennifer Tullock, Actor, Writer, Comedienne for Downtownfrombehind... -

"The Many Faces of Actress/Comedian Jen Tullock"

Ladies and gentleman, this Second Saturday at Southpaw our very own Queerespondent Jen Tullock will be making her worldwide debut in character as everyone's new favorite 90s white girl rapper Jenatari. Who better to ring in the holiday season then one of our very favorite local comediennes! But before she was Jenatari.. she was Estelle! and Charisma! And an almost-expired Bushwick roommate. We caught up with her in advance of Jenatari's debut performance to talk about her past characters and various incarnations of the one and only Jen Tullock. Scroll to the bottom for a sneak preview (and some good advice) from Broolyn's newest lady emcee!

We begin with one of our favorite classics: imagining the future of this special pair of Bushwick roommates. Here Jen teamed up with talented singer, comedian, and actress Tiffany Topol, fresh off her national tour of Xanadu, to travel many years into the future and see just what happens In Twenty Years Time. We caught up with Tiffany to discuss working with Jen.

Queerespondence: You two are too much! Where did y'all film this?

Tiffany Topol: This was a typical afternoon in the living room of Jen's previous apartment in Greenpoint (we live together in Bushwick now). Like most of our projects, I haven't the faintest idea as to how it came about. Usually we each drink two very large cups of coffee, a scarf falls around someone's head in such a way, and half an hour later we've got a little piece of brilliance (in our opinion).

Queerespondence: How close to the truth is this?

Tiffany: Well, at the present moment we don't have a Giacometti over here in "East Williamsburg," nor do we have an ethnically ambiguous maid (not one that we pay for, anyway). And if I were to ACTUALLY predict the future, I'd say we'd be more likely hang a few Norman Rockwells and employ a gay manny. But the relationship is spot on: we care the most about each other, and everyone else comes second. The drinking part is also true.

Queerespondence: You're so mean to your future children, how do they feel about your exotic lifestyle and cruel demeanor?

Tiffnay: First of all, I daresay "mean" is relative. I like to think of us as a pair of hedonistic Mary Poppins': we simply want what we think is best for everyone (including ourselves), and "the best" consists simply of living amongst beauty and class and consistently looking amazing. It's the sort of upbringing that they may not appreciate at age ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, thirty-five . . . but by God, when those kids are forty-five and they look and feel as fantastic as we do, they'll be thanking us all the way to the Inaugural Ball.

Another of Jen's inspiring characters is the amazing Estelle – a look way, way into the future, though not necesarily Jen's.

Queerespondence: Where is Estelle from? When did you find her?

Jen Tullock: I think she’s from an old MGM reel vault somewhere in Los Angeles. Like a chain smoking, tap dancing Rumplestilstkin.

Queerespondence: She's old as dirt. Can she reveal her own age?

Jen: She lost count sometime after the Carter administration.

Queerespondence: Whats she up to now?

Jen: Making pina coladas, ordering her third Shake Weight (she became frustrated at the lack of results from the first two and threw them both in the community pool), and feeding her sea monkies.

Long Island City Girl and Tullock pal Marla Mindelle (currently in “South Pacific” on Broadway) plays opposite Jen's character Charisma, as simple virginal Grace, the sweet new step sister to the tough talking Charisma.

Queerespondence: Where did Charisma grow up?

Jen Tullock: On the cold, cruel road. Her father was a stand-in on several Lionel Richie videos, which launched a semi-successful career on the professional karaoke circuit.

Queerespondence: She seems a little rough. What really peeves her?

Jen: Disproportionately mixed Kool-aid, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (from which she was “politely dismissed” in 2008), T-Mobile.

Queerespondence: Where can we find her now?

Jen: Hard at work on her third single “Guess What None UR Biznizz Just Kidding I Luv U”, single handedly upping Cool Ranch Doritos sales, and watching Wendy Williams.

And finally, Jenatari gives us some tips on being a great emcee, like her, obvi! See you this Second Saturday 12/11 Down South at Southpaw (125 5th Avenue, Park Slope) for her worldwide debut! -

"My, my, my! "Entro-deucing" Madame MC Jenatari"

‘Jenatari’ is the satirical character created and performed by New York based writer, artist and comedian, Jen Tullock.

Fictitiously hailing from the rough and tumble streets of New York City’s outer borough of Brooklyn, lyrical crusader MC Jenatari characterises a post millenia racial hybrid, whose ebonic rhymes strive for triumph and justice for all American underclasses.

Jenatari’s music is a fusion of ghetto, hip hop, pop and rap styles, which were originally co-writen and produced by fellow Brooklynite, ‘MC Peter Parker’.

With grinding songs such as: ‘Bitch I’ll Cut You’, ‘Cupcake’ and ‘Boom Snap Clap Dynamite’, the talented duo have notably managed to transcend the comedy of the Jenatari’s stereotypes by gaining the attention of hip hop powerhouses, such as ‘Red Man‘.

Jenatari says she looks forward to working on releasing her EP as soon possible.

Jenatari interviews and news updates will regularly feature on Data Pigeons.

To listen to Jenatari tracks visit the official ‘Jenatari myspace page‘ -


Jenatari EP (2010)
Gonna Eat It (2011)



Jenatari, the Brooklyn-bred brainchild of performer Jen Tullock and producer Peter ParkHer, was created in early 2010. The duo released their debut self-titled EP the fall of that year and began playing the downtown NYC and Brooklyn circuit. Their live shows have a playful, irreverent quality that has drawn comparisons to acts like Grand Master Flash, Peaches, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. The two are currently recording their full-length album, which is set for release in August 2011.