Award-winning comedian, writer and actress Melinda Hill is tackling trauma with humor in brand new comedy special “Inappropriate.” The special, released by Comedy Dynamics, premieres today, October 20th, on all streaming platforms, and the album version will be available October 23rd. We had a chance to catch up with Melinda, to talk about her inspiration behind the special, the production process and more!
Tell us a little bit about Inappropriate, your inspiration behind it and what viewers can expect.
I was inspired by the #MeToo movement, to look at the cause of trauma and how we can heal as a society, which led me to look at my own process of healing with EMDR therapy.
In the special, you bring humor to a lot of difficult and typically uncovered topics like sexual harassment. What was the writing process like for that?
Once I realized the main point of my show is that if we don’t heal our trauma we just continue recreating it, and knew that I wanted to use humor to keep a conversation going about solution, it all kind of came together. I was wondering what does an appropriate amends look like? Is there a way to come back from cancel culture? I was thinking of people who use power and comedy to harm others, perhaps out of malice or perhaps out of compulsion or familial/generational trauma passed down to them or maybe a hybrid. I wanted to consciously use my comedy for healing and that would involve not just complaining about the state of the world, but actually delving into what I’m personally doing to grow and change. It occurred to me that my desire to create healing with humor is its own genre; it’s heal-arity. I wanted to impart the core idea that we’re not defined by what happened to us, but by what we do with what happens to us. I hope people will feel inspired, uplifted, and empowered to have their own transformation and to find peace, if that’s something they’re interested in.
When I write things, my process is to meditate and walk in nature first, where I download ideas. Anecdotes appear or characters start talking and I really just transcribe them. Then I need to run it in front of an audience to see where it’s landing and that’s an organic editing process that starts shaping the whole thing. I follow the laughs, I cut the dead weight, I work from a cork board with 3 x 5 cards that I move around and it comes together. Stand-up is like fun math. It’s the most amazing medium because you don’t have to run it by a board of people chiming in, it’s really just between you and the audience. They will guide you where it needs to go, you just have to listen. You have to listen a lot and do so many shows.
How do you feel your previous experiences as a woman in comedy have shaped you as a performer today?
Fortunately, I learned that no cavalry is coming to save me and to not wait for permission or an invitation to continue creating. If you’re waiting on that stuff, you might be waiting forever. I think as a creative person it’s my job to be a voice for the voiceless and to use my resources to advocate for the change I’d like to see. When my intention is help the greater good and to add value to the world, the right support seems to show up at all the right times.
Who are your biggest comedy inspirations?
Lily Tomlin, Maria Bamford, Mitch Hedberg, Sebastian Maniscalco.
In addition to stand up, you have a podcast, you’ve been in movies, you do it all! What’s next for Melinda HIll?
Well, I’m super excited about the new movie I’m in called “Love, Weddings and Other Disasters” with Diane Keaton and Jeremy Irons that comes out Dec 4th! It’s a romantic comedy with an amazing cast and I got to play such a fun character, “Svetlana.” We shot it in Boston which is such a cool town.
I’m also having so much fun doing my podcast “Let’s Process This with Melinda Hill” because I love connecting with my guests and listeners all over the world. I do it from my couch and it makes me feel not so alone during the pandemic.
AND I’m writing both a (funny) self-help book and a movie. It’s kind of challenging to focus during the pandemic, so I just write in bite size chunks of like 25 minutes or 10 minutes, which I bookend with a friend. I’m interested in offering “heal-arity” in many forms.
Finally, we all need to know…WHERE did you get that glorious jumpsuit?
Haha would you believe it’s vintage? I have the best luck with vintage, I think in another life I might’ve been a stylist. My grandma was a garage sale FREAK and I think she’s acting as my fashion angel because I always score the best finds and sparkle jumpsuits bring me joy.
Don’t miss Inappropriate’s virtual screening on 10/23 with a Q&A with Mary Lynn Rajskub to follow, partial proceeds to benefit ACLU and RAINN organizations https://www.eventbrite.com/e/melinda-hill-inappropriate-special-premier-tickets-124211968341
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Image: Bentzen Ball/ Brightest Young Things