Sara Benincasa
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Sara Benincasa

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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"While there's plenty of "quirky" in Benincasa's hilarious one-woman show "AGORAFABULOUS!," there's also candidness, something audiences may not expect. Part enlightening and eccentric, yet all wonderfully vivid and engrossing..." - The Apiary


New York-based writer, comedian and radio-talk show host Sara Benincasa hits town with her one-woman show, Agorafabulous! Like a crazier Tina Fey, Benincasa has the tubes to get onstage and talk about her history of panic attacks and agoraphobia. Via internet machine, she tells us the show would translate well as a sitcom. "I think the show is a perfect recession-friendly sitcom for cash-strapped networks, because the agoraphobia theme means there would be a really limited set budget. We could shoot it in some kid's dorm room at CalArts while he's in his ceramics workshop. So his dorm room could play my old apartment in Boston, and Zach Galifianakis could play me. I would shoot it with my dad's old Camcorder, on VHS. We'd take all the money we would've spent on production and buy hookers and blow. Not for Zach, or for me, but for the kid whose dorm room we're using. Because between you and me, no one is ever going to buy his ceramics. They are REALLY bad." How is she preparing for her L.A. debut? "I've been making myself throw up, not to lose weight, but just for sport. It's like this competitive thing I do on weekends. And also every day, after each meal. The fun side effect is that I've lost weight, so I'll fit in better. I'm also going to brush my hair." - LA Weekly




Comedy has been good for Sara Benincasa, even therapeutic. This is a person who, by her own admission, was once so wrought with anxiety that she could barely bring herself to leave her house. So it is no small thing for her to travel from one city to the next, stepping out on stage and sharing her stories in a very personal, revealing, and funny way.

"There were times, in my early 20s, when I didn't want to leave my bedroom," Benincasa says. "So for me being able to travel, lead a full life, and be a performer — which is something I never planned on or anticipated — is really fabulous and exciting."

It should come as no surprise, then, that many of the stories Benincasa shares on stage in her show Agorafabulous are about transformation and growth.

"The show's about my struggle with agoraphobia, but it's really funny. It's really irreverent. I have no choice but to devote at least the first 10 minutes to talking about Gov. Sanford, who is a gift from the comedy gods," Benincasa says. "The rest of it is just personal stories, some of which are very awkward and some of which are kind of terrifying, but in the end, I think the show is very uplifting and very funny throughout."

According to Benincasa, "Agorafabulous is about taking your dark side and your flaws, working with them, admitting that you have them, and celebrating the small victories that you're able to make along the way."

"Small victories," of course, is a relative term for this comedian, writer, and radio talk show host: her regular gig as the cohost of the sex-themed chat show Get in Bed with Cosmo, on Cosmo radio (Sirius 111/XM 162), would be small victory enough for most up-and-coming performers.

Toss in her work as a citizen journalist for the 2008 MTV Choose or Lose Street Team, more hilarious YouTube contributions than you could shake an Alaskan governor at, and a penchant for getting smart and sassy people in the bathtub (that's the shtick for one of her talk shows), and you have one highly entertaining individual with a keen sense of how people communicate in the modern world.

In other words, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else might be flickering into being on the internet at any given moment are all in her tool box, ready to help her send her message out into the great big world.

"For me as a comedian, in terms of getting my work out there, the internet has really been vital," she says. "I've been able to publicize my work, meet people. I love it.

Benincasa adds, "Just the other day, I was chatting with a friend who is a staff sergeant in Iraq and a friend who is performing comedy in the Netherlands for the summer at the same time. And that is so extraordinary and amazing."

Right now, of course, the New York-based comedian is focused on her upcoming show at Theatre 99. "I've spent part of each summer since I was 8 years old in the Lowcountry," she says. "So it's really exciting to get to perform there for the first time."

Her first experiences in South Carolina were summers on Kiawah Island. The memories were sufficiently blissful to later inspire a summer semester at College of Charleston and even some sea island volunteer service assisting migrant workers.

"It was a really amazing experience. The Lowcountry has always been a place of peace and reflection for me. It's a place where I feel very creative."

In fact, she credits Lowcountry author Pat Conroy as one of her major inspirations.

"The fact that he spoke openly about mental illness, wrote about it, and incorporated it into his stories was really invaluable to me," Benincasa says. "I saw the success he had as a writer and how impressive he was, and yet I also saw how he struggled. I saw that it was okay to have problems. It didn't mean that you couldn't give a positive contribution to the world."

Expect candor and chuckles alike to be dished out in abundance during the show, with a healthy swig of quirkiness and emotional honesty to wash it down. If you'd really like to see the show, but are nervous about leaving the living room, consider it comedy as therapy.

- Charleston City Paper


"Utterly Hilarious" - New York Times


"Adorably...hilarious" - Time.com


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Bio

Sara Benincasa is an award-winning comedian, writer and host of the popular podcast, Sex and Other Human Activities, available on iTunes. Her outspoken, sexually-charged comedy has won praise from the Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and has earned her an ECNY (Emerging Comedian of New York) Award and a Webby nomination. Sara is currently working on Agorafabulous for William Morrow (a division of HarperCollins), a book based on her critically acclaimed solo show about panic attacks and agoraphobia.

Sara’s television appearances include NBC's Today Show, the CBS Early Show, CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, MTV News, and CUNY-TV’s "Brian Lehrer Live." Her comedy has been featured and praised by the Chicago Tribune, CNN, The New York Times ("utterly hilarious"), ABCNews.com, Wired.com ("an up-and-coming comedian"), Time.com ("killer … improv-comedy charm"), Newsweek.com ("freaking hilarious"), MarieClaire.com ("smart, funny girl;"), Politico, The Guardian, The Independent, Agence France-Presse, Le Post, Le Figaro, The Huffington Post ("celebrated"), Time Out New York, The New York Post, ComedyCentral.com ("hilarious"), Wonkette, New York, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paper, Flavorpill LA, Fishbowl LA, Fishbowl DC, Buzzfeed, and Celebrity Crunch.

From 2008 – 2010 Sara hosted and produced "Get in Bed," a hilarious sex-chat show on Cosmo Radio, part of the world's #1 brand for women, every weeknight from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET (on Sirius 111/XM 162).

Sara was a citizen journalist for the 2008 MTV Choose or Lose Street Team, part of MTV’s 2008 Emmy Award-winning Think campaign. During the election, she created a splash with her original Sarah Palin vlogs on Huffington Post's humor site, 23/6, a series for which she won an ECNY Award and was nominated for a Webby for best performance, alongside Isabella Rosellini.

From 2006-2008, she hosted Nerve.com’s hit "Tub Talk with Sara B.," a notorious web talk show in which she interviewed comedians and humor writers in her bathtub. Guests included humorist Andy Borowitz (BorowitzReport.com), current SNL writer John Mulaney, 2007 Andy Kauffman Award winning comedian Reggie Watts, author Jonathan Ames ("Bored to Death"), and a variety of other funny/smart/weird people. She has since revamped the show into the web series "Gettin' Wet with Sara Benincasa", and has interviewed guests such as Margaret Cho, Donald Glover, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman.

Sara's one-woman show, "AGORAFABULOUS!" based on her experiences with panic-attacks and agoraphobia, has garnered great reviews at festivals and one-night stands around the country. This summer, she brought "AGORAFABULOUS!" to Oslo, where she was the only American invited to perform at the Fortellerfestivalen (Norwegian Storytelling Festival).

"Family Hour with Auntie Sara," her critically acclaimed live show, packs the house each month at the PIT. The New York Post named "Family Hour with Auntie Sara" one of the city’s best bets for alternative comedy. The show has also won praise from New York, Metromix.com, and an ever-growing cult of devoted "Family Hour" fans. Also, free cookies!

Sara has a degree in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. She has an M.A. in Secondary School Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.