Day 17: Taylor Tomlinson

Day 17. I’m sharing one set each day this month that I really like and talking about why. Today’s is the 2017 debut on Conan of Taylor Tomlinson, and here’s what I admire:

• STRONG POINT OF VIEW. Taylor has very clear opinions and gets big laughs by turning these into commands. In the beginning, middle, and end of the set, she’s saying how she feels and then giving orders (“Hug yourself. Walk it off.” “Don’t bite the jazz hand that feeds you.” “Trust no one. Swipe left.”) These are short, directed dictates that have added punch because they’re borne out of such a clear attitude.

• PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN. Two of my favorite jokes in this set come from when Taylor shows us how an alien would see the world: Parents aren’t superior beings; they’re really just people. And prayers aren’t special; it’s really just telling secrets to the wind. Society’s imbued parents and prayers with traits, but by pulling back the curtain, Taylor reveals the make-believe we’re agreeing to and gets me to laugh at our own silliness.

• STAGE PRESENCE. Part of the reason this set is so entertaining for me is Taylor’s ability to be so captivating on stage. In each of her characters, she makes strong choices and commits. And when she’s not playing someone else, she speaks while leaning forward slightly, nodding her head, and opening her eyes wide - the way we would if we’ve got something important to say. It’s very engaging, the thorough performance distinguishing the set from those with just great jokes.

For more Taylor, check her out on Netflix (The Comedy Lineup), catch her live at a club before she’s in theaters, or follow on Instagram: @taylortomlinson