Lez Stand Out: Bridgetown Comedy Fest

Leah Mansfield

As a former Air Force Flight Commander now living in Seattle, Leah Mansfield has quite the arsenal of life experiences. She’s a traveling comedian who’s opened for her personal favorite, Tig Notoro, and has made a name for herself being one of the most honest and hardest working comics in the industry. As she said, “I feel like my big responsibilities are truth and laughter. If I can get people to laugh at truth, then I’m doing my job.”

On Getting Started

I joined the Air Force instead of pursuing comedy. During out-processing, which took six months, the squadron needed a host for the holiday party. They finally came to me right beforehand and said “pretty please, ma’am.” So without any prep, I showed up, slammed three beers, and hosted a party for about 100 people. Everyone laughed, and for the first time I thought maybe I could be a comedian.

On Knowing Your Audience:

I really like the idea of the whole performance being a dance with a big group of strangers. Every dance is different, and I try to respond to how the audience is reacting. Sometimes I miss, but my aim improves with time. The only thing I will not change is to ever be “less gay.” I talk about what concerns me in my life, and being gay is a pretty big deal to me.

On Favorite Comics:

I’m in deep comic love with Tig Notaro. My whole family likes to sit around and listen to her. My little cousin puts out a “No Moleste” sign every time the family stays in a hotel. Her last release, “Tig Notaro Live” is one of the best things I have ever heard. Maria Bamford is amazing. Someone most people haven’t heard of, but should, is Paul Hooper. He’s a force of nature onstage-such a great show to watch. And off stage, he’s kind, fun and humble.

On Bridgetown:

This is my first time to Bridgetown, and I’m so excited. I love festivals. I’m a pretty big extrovert (figuratively), and festivals are like comedian group vacations. My favorite is the SLO Comedy Fest, which I have done all three years. I’m pretty professional on the road, but at a festival? I’m bringing two sombreros and a remote control helicopter to Portland. We are going to party like rock stars.

What’s next?

Leah is getting ready to move to LA in May. In the meantime, she’s hoping to release a comedy album and says she could really use a girlfriend. Check her out on Rooftopcomedy.com and on Twitter @LeahMansfield.