Comedy and LSD

By Myke Atkinson

"It takes two years to get five minutes of good material."

This has been the motto of comedian/actor Vanessa Hollings-head since she started doing stand-up at the age of 12. If time is any indicator, she has to be good.

Hollingshead’s brand of comedy is one that seeks to entertain the audience by taking things she has experienced or observed and sending them off the deep end. Her blend of satire with her true-to-self style, allows her to come up with some extremely unique skits. Her most recent places the idea of pregnancy in the spotlight.

"Why is it that when a lady has everything going great for her–a good job, a loving husband and peace of mind–that she gets this crazy idea that she needs to mess everything up and get pregnant?" asks Hollingshead.

Though the comedy industry consists mainly of male comedians, (a trend broken in the past few years), Vanessa sees this as a boost to her performance rather than
a handicap. It allows her to entertain the audience from a whole different viewpoint from other

"It’s cool hanging out with only guy comedians," says Hollingshead. "I get to see how guys think. Like, we’ll be walking down the street and one of them will say, ‘That girl hasn’t been fucked in months.’ And when I saw her, I was thinking more like ‘Oh, now that’s a nice shirt.’"

Another vein in Hollingshead’s impressive repertoire is her world renowned act titled That’s My Time. The piece exposes the extremely funny life Vanessa has led. Most of the skit goes through her life with her father, a man who devoted his life to the experimentation of different drugs under the philosophy of "tune in, turn on and drop out." He is actually listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his role in the Beatles’ psychedelic development, as he exposed Paul McCartney to his first taste of LSD.

Though Hollingshead is a comedian, she also has a firm grip on reality. She has lived in New York most of her life and believes that the events of September 11 have made an impact even in the field of comedy.

"I’ve thought about bringing it up while I’m on stage, but I’ve only got 12 minutes to make an impact," says Hollingshead. "A husband of a friend of mine died in the building, but of all the money that the societies are raising for the benefit of the victims, she has only seen two $100 cheques so far. So I’m wondering, where’s all this money going?"

It may be this sense of reality that gives Hollingshead the perspective she delivers to the crowd–or maybe she just took too many drugs as a kid.

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