Esther Povitsky performs at the Biltmore Cabaret on Feb. 22 as part of JFL NorthWest. (photo from JFL NorthWest)
Chicago-born comedian, actor and writer Esther Povitsky is one of several Jewish community members performing in the Just for Laughs NorthWest comedy festival, which takes place around Metro Vancouver Feb. 13-25. Her credits include being co-creator and star of the show Alone Together, a recurring role on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, parts on programs such as Brooklyn 99 and Parks and Recreation, stand-up on The Late Late Show and Comedy Central, as well as host of the podcast Glowing Up. The Jewish Independent spoke with her in advance of her Feb. 22 show at the Biltmore Cabaret.
JI: When did you first start doing stand-up and what motivated you to do it?
EP: I love comedy. I love watching it, I love laughing and making people laugh. I also liked the idea of being able to do something creative where I only relied on myself.
JI: Before you started stand-up, what were you working toward education- or career-wise?
EP: I thought I was going to be a professional dancer, and majored in dance in college.
JI: What is it about performing that you most enjoy, in stand-up and in acting?
EP: Having an excuse to drink too much coffee.
JI: When did you move to Los Angeles, and was it for a specific job or more opportunity for work in general?
EP: I did not have any specific jobs lined up! I moved here to pursue stand-up and worked as a babysitter, worked at a gym, a juice bar, and other random gigs.
JI: You describe your stand-up as just being you. Being Jewish on your dad’s side, where/how/does Judaism, Jewish culture or community fit into that, or your comedy series?
EP: I feel that I was raised very culturally Jewish and it’s a big part of my personality and who I am.
JI: In an interview you talk positively about the immediacy of seeing what works and what doesn’t onstage. How do you handle the highs and lows of comedy?
EP: I try to keep busy, stay active, spend quality time with friends and family, do puzzles, watch TV. I try to really focus on doing as many “normal” things as possible.
Povitsky’s Vancouver show is 19+. For tickets and the JFL NorthWest lineup, visit jflnorthwest.com.