emily maya mills

The nuts and bolts of getting into comedy as a real-deal, paying-the-bills profession is a mysterious thing; It’s not like you can major in standup in college or look for gigs on LinkedIn after graduation. From the outside looking in, it may seem like the qualifications are: (1) be hilarious and (2) do it in front of other people, but as any comic will tell you, there’s a lot of work that goes into putting a set together, landing a gig on Saturday Night Live, doing sketch bits on Funny or Die and ultimately, making a living. So how does one become a comedian, exactly? Does being voted class clown count?

Lucky for us, comedy powerhouse Emily Maya Mills is letting us in on what it takes to be successful in the biz. The multi-talented multi-hyphenate just recorded her debut album of standup comedy, stars in sketch videos on Funny or Die, acts in shows like Orange is the New Black, Key and Peele and Parks and Recreation, performs improv and of course, writes. Here, she talks to PSTOL about how to get started in standup and sketch (even if you don’t live in Los Angeles or New York City), use social media as a workshop for material and which qualities every girl needs to be a sidesplitting success in the comedy game (hint: it has nothing to do with your looks).