At only 24 years old, Carly Aquilino is already a standout in the world of comedy – and not just for her pink hair. Much of her success can be attributed to the youthful, accessible and honest approach to her comedy, as well as her amazing luck.
Six months into her career as a stand-up comic just a few short years ago, she just happened to be in the right place at the right time when she was approached by "Guy Code" creator Ryan Ling, who at the time was developing "Girl Code" into a pilot.
Since the MTV show's premiere, and over its following three seasons, the show has gained tremendous popularity, and Aquilino is now considered a fan-favorite among the cast of other funny ladies who talk about a variety of different topics and experiences of women by implying "girl codes."
She's currently on tour, with a stop at Milwaukee's Turner Hall Ballroom on Saturday, March 7. Before the show, OnMilwaukee.com chatted with Aquilino about her time on "Girl Code," weird fan interactions, crazed Seattle hecklers and more.
OMC: What inspired you to get into comedy?
CA: I always wanted to try it. It was always something that I was interested in. I would always write. When I was in high school, I would always write jokes, and I had a book that I would just write jokes in and little skits and stuff like that. I never acted on it until about three years ago. I was like, "You know what? I have stuff written already, and I just want to try it. If I don't like it, then I don't have to do it anymore."
I knew I had to give it a shot because it was something that I had fun doing, which was writing. I said I'm sure I'd love performing because performing adds a whole different aspect to it.
OMC: When you were first writing jokes, what was your style?
CA: I would just write about things that were going through my life. Whatever it was, whether it was my friends or my parents or anything like that, it was just about currently what was going on with me.
OMC: When you first started out, you mainly performed at bars and comedy clubs in New York where you're from, and you started out at Gotham Comedy Club. What was that experience like?
CA: Gotham's a great club. It's the most beautiful club in the city. I think it's awesome. They had this beginner's comedy class kind of thing, and they don't really teach you how to do comedy; they just kind of tell you to get on stage for open mics, and each week you try new things out in front of your class and everybody's a beginner so nobody's judging you. Everyone's on the same level, which is a really comforting thing when you're first start doing comedy. I'm happy I started that way because I didn't do that, then I don't know if I would've known what to do.
OMC: When you first joined the cast of "Girl Code," what were your immediate expectations for the show?
CA: I had seen "Guy Code" before so I knew the premise of it. I made sure to watch it before I went in for my auditions for "Girl Code" just to see the format of it and the people's jokes that got in. It was like, "Alright, what did this person do that's different than what this person did?" and stuff like that. I studied "Guy Code" just to see how other comics dealt with it, and I was kind of just like, "Alright, this is cool" because it's a very comfortable situation.
It's an interview, so there's only about five people in the room. It's very intimate. It's just you getting interviewed by somebody who ends up one of my good friends now – Laura Murphy, she's the director of it. It's just like talking with your friend and talking about different topics. I was also lucky in that point because "Girl Code" is special because it's not scripted, so we can just say stuff from on top of our heads, we can write jokes beforehand; it's just whatever you're more comfortable with. That's why I feel like it was an easy transition into TV.
OMC: Since you've been part of the show since the very start, have there been any topics that hasn't been explored yet that you want to talk about?
CA: I don't know. They always shock me. Every season they come up with new topics, and I'm like, "Oh, wow! I didn't even think of that." We don't realize the things that just happen to us. It's like, "Oh, we can talk about that for an hour." It's crazy. I don't know of any topics that I'd suggest. The writers, the directors and the producers all think of that stuff and we just bring the funny.
OMC: Have there been any topics that you were unsure of or you felt uncomfortable talking about?
CA: No. I realize every single day more and more that I have no shame. I'm almost too comfortable talking about everything with people. Sometimes I say stuff and I'm like, "Why would I tell a stranger this?" You know what I'm saying? I think I'm a little desensitized to the whole thing. They can ask me whatever and I'll answer it. Sometimes I just bring stuff up and they're like, "You're crazy."
OMC: With the show gaining more popularity, I'm sure fans ask you for advice all the time or the "girl code," so what do fans typically ask about the most?
CA: Oh god. A lot the girls that ask questions are teenagers or in their early 20s and they ask, "If I had to answer a text message, what does it mean?" or "How do I know if my ex really liked me? I feel like he's still in love with me" or "I still love this person. What do I do?" A lot of relationship stuff is what it's pretty much all based on.
OMC: How do you answer those questions?
CA: I think it depends on the situation. Sometimes I just see them and I'm like, "Alright, elaborate on it," and they'll tweet me back. I feel like it's definitely flattering because it's cool to be considered as somebody who would give somebody else advice, especially something like that when feelings are involved. It's definitely a cool thing. I try to be honest with them and give them what my honest opinion is on what I would do if I was in that situation.
OMC: What's been the best advice you've given to someone?
CA: I think definitely go on birth control, wear protection and also bring an extra pair of shoes when you go out so your feet doesn't hurt. Those are three very important things (laughs).
OMC: You're asked for advice from people, but where do you get your advice from?
CA: If anything ever happens and I need advice, I'll just talk to my friends or I'll talk to my mom about it or talk to my boyfriend about it. When it comes to comedy, I talk to my boyfriend because he's in the industry too so we both understand each other, and we understand where we're coming from with everything. Both of us have been in very similar situations before so it's good to have him to turn to for career stuff and my friends and my mom to turn to for other things. I definitely have a bunch of different outlets.
OMC: This past season of "Girl Code," there has been more of a focus on sketches. What has been your favorite sketch to film so far?
CA: My favorite sketch so far is last season I did a thing called "Getting Back Out There." I think it's on YouTube. It's me and this actress – obviously it's a sketch, so it's not really my mom – my mom in the sketch is ready to start dating so we did this "Rocky" montage, like getting her ready to start dating again.
That was my favorite one to shoot because it was fun and it was funny. It was very relatable to people. I know a lot of people when they saw the episode, they were tweeting, "Oh my god. This is what happened to me and my mom. I was trying to teach her to go out on dates." It was cute.
OMC: Let's talk about your stand-up. What do you like to talk about while you're on stage?
CA: Usually when I'm up on stage, I'll just talk about what I'm going through. When you're a comedian, your stand-up comedy just evolves throughout your life. It just changes as your life changes. Whatever I'm going through in my life, I'll talk about my friends, my family, getting out of relationships, trying to date, getting into relationships, sex, love and everything.
OMC: Have you had to deal with any insane hecklers yet?
CA: Actually I was in Seattle during the Super Bowl, so that was the most heckled I've ever had in a weekend because they were obsessed with football. They were screaming during the show, "Seahawks! Seahawks!" Everybody was wearing a jersey; everybody was wearing the hats. They were all decked out in Seahawks stuff. It was just really rowdy. I don't watch football. I didn't even know that they were in the football game during the Super Bowl. I was like, "I don't know, guys. I watch the Puppy Bowl every year. Please stop yelling at me."
OMC: Did you actually say to the crowd that you didn't watch football?
CA: Yeah, I said that. I was like, "I don't give a sh*t about football." But they were cool. They were laughing. I was telling them how I didn't understand how football works. I thought up until recently that if you mess up or don't catch the ball, you get points deducted. I really can't be watching it. I can't be around people who's watching it because they get pissed off at me. I just stay far away from any kind of sports.
OMC: You seem like you have quite the fan following already. Have you had any weird fan interactions yet?
CA: I've had somebody kiss me on the lips once. A guy kissed me on the lips during a meet and greet. He like grabbed my face and kissed me and I was like, "This is not a meet or a greet. This is very inappropriate and I'm scared." I was gagging. I was so grossed out. I ran to the bathroom and washed my face. I was so grossed out.
OMC: I remember reading about some guy who had reached out to you on Twitter asking for something and if you responded to him, he'd shave your face onto his hairy back. Is that true?
CA: Oh, yeah! That was a while ago. He said, "If you tweet me back, I'm going to shave your face into my back." I was like, "Ok." I didn't think he was actually going to do it, and he actually did shave my face into his back.
At the time, I had bright red hair, and he had his girlfriend ... first of all, he had his girlfriend shave my face onto his back, which is so crazy to me. If my boyfriend was like, "Hey, can you shave some girl's face onto my back?" I'd be like, "Are you a psycho?" She did it, and she was cool with it. He tweeted back to me, and it looked nothing like me, but he tried (laughs).
OMC: According to your online bio, one of your proudest moments is making your grandmother Marilyn laugh so hard that her teeth fell out ...
CA: That's not true! I wish it was true. Here's the thing; first of all, her teeth always fall out so it wasn't my fault, but I still like owning it (laughs).
OMC: After this tour is over, what's next for you?
CA: I'm definitely excited about TV stuff. There's a new show coming out called "Girl Code Live." I'm not sure when it's going to come out, but it just got picked up. It's me and two other girls from "Girl Code," and it'll be a great, late night talk show kind of thing. I'm really, really excited about that. But I'll obviously do stand-up forever. Even when this tour or whatever is technically over, I'm always going to do stand-up. I have the most fun doing that.
To order tickets to see Carly Aquilino at Turner Hall, click here.
Colton Dunham's passion for movies began back as far as he can remember. Before he reached double digits in age, he stayed up on Saturday nights and watched numerous classic horror movies with his grandfather. Eventually, he branched out to other genres and the passion grew to what it is today.
Only this time, he's writing about his response to each movie he sees, whether it's a review for a website, or a short, 140-character review on Twitter. When he's not inside of a movie theater, at home binge watching a television show, or bragging that he's a published author, he's pursuing to keep movies a huge part of his life, whether it's as a journalist/critic or, ahem, a screenwriter.