Shannon Gettins
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Shannon Gettins


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"Editors’ Cantina Napa Valley Opera House"

Last Saturday night I went to the Napa Valley Opera House for the very first time. FINALLY. I’ve been wanting to get over there for a while and I picked a great night to do it! I made it out for the Best Of The SF Comedy Competition featuring Tommy Savitt, Huck Flyn, Shannon Gettins and host David Kleinberg.

David Kleinberg
David Kleinberg
Kleinberg started off the stand-up evening by explaining that at his age, the only difference between him and other comics is that he KNOWS he isn’t going anywhere with his comedy. He continued to disclaim that he was nervous being on stage, the wife doesn’t want him doing so much comedy, yadda yadda, but once he got goin’ he was a laugh a minute.

Shannon Gettins
Shannon Gettins
The opening act was Shannon Gettins. As most comedians have a punchline at the end of their jokes, Gettins has a kickline. There is no better emphasis then that of physically kicking out your aggression on stage, literally. I think she’s studied Tae-Kwon-Do.

Huck Flyn
Huck Flyn
Up next came Huck Flyn, a comic whose name is hard to forget thanks to the semblance to Mark Twain’s classic character. Deemed a “rock n’ roll comedian,” Flyn wasted very little time with normal stand-up style jokes before bringing out his lighting-carved acoustic guitar and impersonating the greats. For example, his Bruce Springsteen impression consisted of screaming and mumbling unintelligible lyrics. Aside from comedy, Flyn is an incredible guitarist; I’d have gone just to watch him play!

Tommy Savitt
Tommy Savitt
After a brief intermission we were greeted with headliner Tommy Savitt. A recent winner of both Seattle and Boston comedy competitions, his dry, over-the-top, incredibly sarcastic (hopefully!) humor was fantastic. An example of this hopeful sarcasm, with utmost sincerity he said: “Some guys stay with their woman after getting her pregnant. I would never do that … why should she have to support us BOTH!?” Yikes, haha. But we knew he was joking. An interesting side note: I went to an open-mic night at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles in July 2008 and remember a really funny act. I am fairly certain it was Savitt. Okay, I’m just going to say it: it WAS him! Crazy I know… -

"Funny Business: Making Others Laugh for a Living"

Funny Business: Making
Others Laugh for a Living

Growing up, Shannon Gettins was class clown and carried that attitude into a four-year
stint in marketing job at Yahoo Inc. "For a person who jokes around all the time, it was a
great place to work, very young and fun," Ms. Gettins says.

But eventually, she felt less comfortable. "When you work in a cube eight to 10 hours a
day, you start to question things," she says. Without being sure what she wanted, she left
Yahoo in 2002 and, after several other jobs, enrolled in a stand-up comedy class.

Coached by her teacher, she began testing routines on open-microphone nights at comedy
clubs in Los Angeles. She wrote jokes and speeches for others and started a business
teaching stand-up to high-school students. "I look back and say, 'I had money, I had a
401(k), I had health benefits,' " she says. "But I definitely am happier now. And in the
past six months, I've made a living doing what I love to do."

Making a living as a comic is no laughing matter, according to Judy Carter, who taught
Ms. Gettins at her Venice, Calif., comedy workshop. "I'd say 20% of my students go on
to have a career in comedy," Ms. Carter says. "Of the 20%, a small percentage become

Still, drawn more than anything by the desire to express themselves and make people
laugh, they keep coming. Beginners will encounter bruising travel schedules, annoying
hecklers and fierce competition from other comics on the way to what is, at best, an
uncertain success.

After more than 20 years as a humorist, Ms. Carter also adds humor doing standup at
corporate meetings and conventions, where she may earn $15,000 for a speech. She
works a few engagements each month, many in top tourist spots. She says she earns good
living. "I say, 'See my home, it cost me 5,000 jokes," she says.

Few comics are drawn to the field for financial reasons, however. "If they are, they get
cured of that pretty quickly," says Barb North, a talent manager in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Would-be comics may range from airline pilots and attorneys to waitresses, she says.
Most have two things in common: They think they are funny, and they need to learn that
there is more to comedy than being funny.

Veteran comics say even gifted jokesters need classes to learn how to craft routines,
handle hecklers and get jobs. From class, most go to open-mic nights, where pay is
nonexistent. Next they typically serve as opening act or master of ceremonies at a
comedy club, earning $50 or so for a five-minute routine. Featured acts appear in the
middle of a typical comedy show, receiving $100 or so for a nightly 10-minute act.
Headliners may have a half hour and earn from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Even those sums are scarce in comedy meccas such as Los Angeles and New York.
There, competition is fierce for opportunities to be seen by a television producer or
sitcom talent scout, Ms. North says. "Everybody is vying for stage time, and incredibly
successful comedians are in town willing to work for nothing," she says.

Rebecca Arthur, who began doing stand-up about five years ago, won a contest as
"California's Funniest Woman" in 2004, but earns little more than pocket money with her
act. Ms. Arthur is a public-transit grants administrator in Fullerton, Calif. She says some
clubs require comics to bring a number of friends to pay cover charges before granting
stage time, a demand she finds troubling. "Number one, I don't have friends. I don't have
that kind of personality," says Ms. Arthur, a 6-foot-4-inch performer with a dour
demeanor. "And if you've been doing comedy five years, your friends are burned out on
your act."

Many comics tour constantly, which may lead to travel burnout and can be hard on
relationships. Others station themselves in smaller cities. John Garrison is a software
developer who moonlights as a comedian in St. Louis, where there are fewer comedy
venues but also fewer comedians. "Location is critical in terms of stage time," he says.
"Obviously, the only way you're going to get good is getting on stage as much as you
can." If, as he hopes, his career continues developing, Mr. Garrison may move to Los
Angeles or New York.

The bigger the stage, of course, the brighter the light. And that heightens the likelihood
and the impact of rejection, an ever-present risk. "It's a very naked experience," explains
Ms. North. "It's just you, and there's not too much else you can blame it on."

Fighting for stage time, dealing with rejection and coping with paltry pay are worth it for
comedians who get their kicks by giving others theirs. "I lov - Wall Street Journal Online

"L.A. comedian spent summer volunteering at animal shelter"

SANTA CRUZ -- Jokester Shannon Gettins' move up north for the summer didn't start with many laughs.

Gettins, a Hollywood-based comedian, moved to Santa Cruz for the summer to help her father and stepmother find a new apartment. She brought along Faith, her healthy 10-year-old boxer-lab mix. Faith's health took an unexpected turn for the worst, and she died in June.

Left with a supply of dog food and medicine, Gettins contacted the Santa Cruz Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

After visiting the shelter, she decided to sign up as a volunteer. She and the other 30 volunteers walk, wash, feed and play with the 35 dogs and cats living in the shelter, and occasionally take animals home to foster.

"It's so rewarding, you get to meet people and it's so good to be giving back," Gettins said of volunteering. "I definitely want to do more of it."

The Los Altos native divides her time between doing stand-up gigs for comedy clubs and corporate events, writing commercials and teaching comedy. She performed a few times around Santa Cruz during the summer, though she won't perform again until she's back in L.A.

She hopes to get the chance to volunteer more with her new dog, Laila. After Faith's death, Gettins wasn't sure she wanted another pet so soon, until she met and began fostering the boxer-mix puppy.

"I didn't know if I was really ready, but then I saw her," Gettins said. "She was adorable, it was a perfect fit."

Gettins said so far, Laila has the right personality to potentially work as a therapy dog, a dog that visits people in hospitals and convalescent homes to help them heal. Laila will be ready in a few years if she successfully completes training.

More people should take the time to volunteer, Gettins said. Aside from her time with SPCA, she has worked as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

"We always say I'm too busy' or I was so busy last week,' but really, you end up watching Dancing with the Stars,'" she said. "You think What could I have done with that time?' "

Gettins and Laila will return to Los Angeles later this month, which SPCA Executive Director Lisa Carter said will leave a "huge gap" in volunteer hours at the shelter.

"She's a really big advocate for animals," Carter said. "We're really going to miss her."

- Santa Cruz Sentinel News

"How you already know Shannon Gettins"

What is it about Shannon Gettins? Somehow, she is an apparent acquaintance, even to those who have never met her. Is it her hair, her honest eyes, or maybe the inviting smile? Hmm…Shannon Gettins is perhaps a college roommate, or was it summer camp bunkmate, maybe that person from the DMV line off Ventura? Once this brilliant beauty takes the stage, the familiarity becomes vividly clear. “That’s it!” It’s the jokes.

If a regular comedy consumer, chances are one has come across something this captivating comic has created, or helped to create. Shannon Gettins’ hilarity rings in ears across continents. Public orators, motivational speakers, as well as comedians of all types go to Shannon for the funny; and she delivers.

Displaying a small frame and huge stage presence Shannon is the ultimate comedian’s comic. She not only kills on stage but she is also an accessory to murder when paired with other comedians. With her collaborative sniper-like skill, she hits each audience member with incomparable ease. She then leaves her victims with the sense that each joke was personally crafted for them, creating a willing body count. One that would impress Tarantino, comedy audiences don’t stand a chance.

Appropriately serving as Dean of Flappers Comedy University at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank California, the youngest of four got her comedic start in a somewhat unconventional way- in a loving, secure, and funny home. Not one burnt pot roast or catastrophic Christmas is responsible for the massive talent that Shannon is able to materialize on the stage. While this may seem like unfair and unjust living conditions to some comedic peers, the resulting comedian is a caring collaborator. Shannon wants fellow comedy stage beneficiaries (from newbies to seasoned comics) to succeed.

Nightly, Shannon’s jokes approvingly slip through the lips of dozens of comics in Los Angeles. She serves as comedic muse, instructor, peer and fan all at once. In the comedic universe- this is a rare occurrence, comparable only to a solar eclipse. And like a solar eclipse the event is mesmerizing.

This writer got the opportunity to sit down with the busy comedian.

Mirage: Sorry I’m late. I’m always late.

Shannon: I know.

Mirage: Let’s jump right in, how did you start your comedic career?

Shannon: I grew up in a funny family. My mom directed all our talent shows she did characters and dressed up in funny costumes. She was the Carol Burnett of our little town. My dad was really funny too, very sarcastic. I always felt like my family were the funny ones. I was pretty much the brunt of their jokes. I guess I soaked it up from them. As I got older I was voted "class clown" but I secretly wanted "best dancer."

Mirage: How did you know you wanted to do stand up as a career?

Shannon: In college it crossed my mind. I went to a comedy show at 4th and B in downtown San Diego to appease my comedic curiosity. I wanted to watch and see if I could picture myself on stage. It was the "Showtime at the Apollo" night... and the crowd was sold out, the comedians were new and the crowd was so excited to judge them. You could feel it in the air. I was so nervous for the comics. The first woman comes out - white lady - and her opener was the worst opener I've ever heard, "I feel like a corn flake in a bowl of co-co pebbles." And the crowd simultaneously stood up and booed her off stage before the second syllable in "pebbles." To this day I still have nightmares. Watching that woman fail so miserably subsequently put off my comedy goals for another 10 years.

Mirage: How did you get back to it?

Shannon: I worked at Yahoo! in a cube for about 4 years after college. Loved it, but I felt like the cube was sucking the life force out of me a little each day. I randomly took an Improv class in San Francisco and after throwing invisible balls, and pretending I was a gorilla in a zoo for 3 hours, I decided, "hey, this is so much better than a good salary, 401k and health benefits.." So I quit my job, and drove down to Los Angeles with a good friend of mine to pursue comedy. I'm pretty good at making major life decisions... huh?

Mirage: LA is a crazy place - how'd it go when you got down here?

Shannon: When I first got here I worked at, and lived next door to, the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. and I took comedy classes on the weekends. I read a book called "The Comedy Bible" by Judy Carter, and ended up in her Stand Up class. After my first sold out crowd at the LA Improv, I was hooked. I performed all over Los Angeles, then started touring up and down California. And eventually around the country. A year or so into my comedy career I started writing for Judy. A year or so after that I started teaching her classes. And a year or so after that I started running her comedy workshops. After Judy stopped teaching stand up classes in LA, I went on to run my -


Still working on that hot first release.



Described as an "Early Ellen DeGeneres", Shannon Gettins' timing and quick witted comedic style connects with audiences of all ages. She has opened for Paul Reiser, Felipe Esparza, Jon Dore, and featured for Gabriel Iglesias and Erik Griffin just to name a few.

Her work has received critical acclaim, including rave reviews in the Examiner and Wall Street Journal online. She was a corespondent for Refused TV, is the newest cast member of Beachbody's home fitness program P90X3, and currently has a feature film in development. She is often requested to write customized comedy material by headlining comedians, professional speakers, and CEO’s across the country.