Claudia Oshry doesn’t have any formal stand-up comedy training (beyond her active adoration of the late Joan Rivers, that is). Instead, the New York native’s expertise lies in the digital realm — namely her @girlwithnojob Instagram account, which has nearly 3 million followers. But over the past year, Oshry’s Insta-fame has transitioned into a YouTube morning show and, now, a comedy tour.
Oshry is kicking off “An Evening with Girl With No Job,” in Chicago and Rosemont June 28-30. Priding herself as a faithful social listener, Oshry answered the drumbeat of requests from followers to visit the Midwest and sold out four shows at Zanies (1548 N. Wells and 5437 Park, Rosemont). “I had no idea it was going to be so overwhelming,” the 23-year-old admits. “I did not know how strong the [Chicago] fan base was.”
Here, we chat with Oshry about connecting with her target audience and why she’d like to invite her biggest critics to dinner.
How did you first tap into the female-millennial demographic? I started through memes. They’re a great way to communicate and talk about what’s going on in the world; the morning show, [“Morning Toast”] is just a different manifestation of the same thing. I don’t find that there’s a morning show I want to turn on and watch. I don’t relate to “The View” — I don’t think it represents me or what I’m interested in — so we made “The Toast” what we would want to see in morning news.
How do you decide where the line is, and avoid crossing it? I keep in mind that a lot of my audience is young high schoolers, and that their parents are giving them permission to follow me. I don’t want to abuse that. Would I want a 15-year-old to hear this? And if she heard it, would her mom be OK with it? Sometimes things happen that I wish I could’ve done differently [she recently made a tearful public apology for anti-Muslim tweets posted in 2012 and 2014, saying her “cultural and political beliefs are not anti-Muslim or anti-anyone”], but I learn from them. I’m my own worst critic, but I think the best way to improve is to [learn] how to move forward in a positive way.
If you could say one thing to your critics, what would it be? I wouldn’t say anything to them, I would invite them to my house. When people say things about me, they believe I’m this terrible person. But what you see is what you get: I really am that silly, crazy, outrageous girl, and anyone who has negative things to say about me, I would like to invite them to my house for dinner and hang out with them. They would see I’m really not that bad.
What’s next for you? I’m throwing myself into this whole comedy lifestyle. I find I’m really comfortable onstage; I love doing it. I’m looking forward to diving in headfirst — doing more cities all around the country.
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