Turning fury into funny
Homegrown comic Carrie Gilbert makes jokes out of life's frustrations
"I have a lot of rage," Carrie Gilbert said with a laugh.
The married mother of one spends her days as a Web site designer and some nights as a stand up comedian. Born, raised and married in Pleasanton, Gilbert spent several years in Seattle before moving back to raise a family.
"Even though I live a conventional suburban life, what goes on in my head is anything but conventional," she said. "I have lots of subversive thoughts and it's fun to express those thoughts as comedy bits.
"Almost everything in life is fun and funny if you have the right attitude," she added.
Without that release, Gilbert admits she would need anger management classes. So instead of letting anger get to her, she sees frustrations as future jokes and becomes grateful. In fact, her first stand-up gig came from a break-up after college.
"I was going out with this guy and he broke up with me; he beat me to the punch," she said. "I went through this whole 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'"
She started doing stand-up comedy, using the ex-boyfriend as her material and invited his friends. When she got on stage, she realized there were more things she wanted to talk about.
Gilbert now pokes fun at suburban life and the struggles of being a wife and mom with a mortgage. With more comedy stages popping up in the Tri-Valley area, she is able to help audiences laugh about their suburban lives.
"I talk about the pressure on women to have it all: career, house, marriage, family," she said. "I talk about how I grew up here and was away for 12 years. It changed and got snobby. It's weird that people got snobby when you're known for the county fair--think corndogs and the scent of livestock.
"I don't totally fit in with the other moms and wives," she continued, adding that she hasn't completely lost her edge in her suburban life.
Her mom may not go to her shows, but her friends and even parents' friends enjoy the shows--even if they spot a joke that may be about them. The experience is what she considers to be "down-home Mayberry."
Her husband also indirectly participates, by being her sounding board.
"He's sort of like my comedic editor," she said. "Is it too dirty? Too edgy? Too much for Pleasanton? He's more conservative than I am."
Performing about once a week in the Tri-Valley and sometimes in San Francisco, Gilbert has begun to make a name for herself. In a male-dominated industry, she is happy to compete with the men. She encourages others to do the same.
"I went to Foothill and they had me come back from alumni career day," she said. "[I told the girls] 'cute is not enough, it's not going to sustain you in life or lead you to long-lasting accomplishments. Being funny is a good goal.'"
Her next gig is at 8 p.m. June 11 at the Pleasanton Hotel, followed by a 7:30 p.m. performance June 13 at the Blue Bar in Livermore. She will also be at Tommy T's at 7:30 p.m. June 18. To be updated on upcoming shows and to learn more about Gilbert, visit her MySpace page at www.myspace.com/wingwife.