Harrison’s comedy style is unique, and it works. Just seeing Harrison perform speaks to her artistry, with her clever observations and deadpan delivery. “It’s just something I think is funny, delivery-wise,” she says. When she lands one of her ‘“thinker” jokes, she will pause for an uncomfortable minute as the audience’s laughter builds, and this is something that she’s incorporated into her act. “I was way more deadpan and less-energy at BYU. I don’t know if it kind of just developed from there.” After several years, she’s really hammered out a style that works. “I’ve gone back and forth from super deadpan and no movement onstage,” she says. I’ve done it successfully and killed. Then I’ve gone back the other way. Now I’m kind of more congenial. The most consistent thing is the ‘whatever’ undertone.” The undertone is what makes some of her material so amazingly unapologetic, and that’s what really lands. “It depends on the room and the mood I’m in and everything,” she says. “If I’m like, ‘Fuck you guys—I don’t care,’ then it’s not like that great. But knowing your joke and why it’s funny to you—I can say that without apology.”
Harrison has been building both a local and national following for herself since the Bob and Tom show. “I want a fanbase of people that don’t just laugh at my jokes, but just get them.” She’s thrilled when she connects to people on a personal level: “They get the genius behind why it’s so weird, or why it’s so stupid,” she says. “I would like fans that value me. Well, I want any fans!”
As far as local comedy is concerned, Harrison wants more people to come out and give a live standup show a try. She breaks it down in the best analogy ever: “The first time I ever had pineapple was in Utah, but I’d only ever had canned pineapple before, and when I ate the real stuff, I was like, ‘Crap! This is a totally different thing!’” Harrison continues to say, “In America, I think we love comedy. We are a funny people—it’s our thing. Some people, though, don’t even know that standup is a thing. It’s concentrated, a pure form of what we all love.” If people enjoy comedy, then it’s important to get them out of their houses, where they watch nothing but comedy specials, and have them see a real, live comedy show. “It’s so different, going to a live show and feeling the energy in the room,” says Harrison. “It feels historical, like back in the day with people sitting around a campfire. There’s something really alive.” When comedy meets real life, it’s a whole new experience.
Often, female comedians tend to get a bad rap in the public eye. “I feel like the stereotype is so vague and irrelevant and confusing,” says Harrison. She herself has heard some of the stereotypes but disregards them. “Like that females aren’t as dirty as guys, but I’ve heard more often that they are crass,” she says. “I think it’s all bullshit. If people wants to give me jobs because I’m a girl and that counts as diversity, then whatever. I’ve had to live with a vagina all these years, might as well get picked first for something.” She doesn’t feel the need to let the negativity get to her, and that people should support a comedian not only because they are female but support all comedians in general. Harrison wants people to get out and see comedy, no matter who’s doing it. “How do you pick a movie?” she says. “You’ve gotta base it on something. For me, it’s always girls,” she says with a wink.
Since she’s been working so hard on her comedy career, it was interesting to hear where Harrison planned on going from this point. The comedy business is tough, she points out. “It’s a home business, for sure,” she says. “If you want to work full-time in comedy, you are working eight hours a day, as well as shows because you’re emailing people all the time.” Even now, she says that there are “so many things I’m barely learning about.” For Harrison, not doing comedy is not an option. “It’s scary, but that applies to everything in life. They’re either going to laugh or they don’t. You still have to live the rest of your life so you just keep going.” Her next steps aren’t set in stone, but she’s going to keep going up from here. “I’ve been working on road stuff,” she says. “I kind of want to write for TV. It just seems like the next thing. I don’t know what I’m doing!” She laughs, “I’m just going to keep working hard.”
You can see Abi Harrison this Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Wiseguys Comedy Club. “Do you like fresh pineapple?” says Harrison. “If so, you should go to the show.” Tickets are on sale now at the Wiseguys box office and at wiseguyscomedy.com for $12, but there is also a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, to which Harrison says: “However much it is, it’s half of that.” So, bring a friend, or six or 12, and enjoy a local night of comedy with one of the best that this state has to offer.