Local comedian to perform for her home crowd
A young woman takes her place on a dimly lit stage at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club, ready to share her gift with the audience. As she begins her routine, the atmosphere becomes exhilarating, the crowd laughing at every joke. Wrapping up her material, the audience is practically rolling in the aisles and cheering. What most of the guests do not know, however, is that she practiced law as a bankruptcy attorney and only started performing stand-up comedy eight years ago.
Talia Reese, now a full-time stand-up comedian, will be performing at the Young Israel of Great Neck annual dinner on Saturday, Feb. 25, and will be opening up for comedian Nick DiPaolo in Westport, CT, on Saturday, March 4.
Reese first became interested in performing arts at Great Neck South High School, where she was in numerous Neil Simon plays. At the University of Pennsylvania, she developed this interest by participating in a comedy troupe, which “took over [her] life for four years.” While pursuing a career in law, the turning point in Reese’s comedy career was just 10 years ago when she performed at her first open mic night. “I got a taste for stand up and I was hooked immediately,” Reese said.
After quitting her job at a successful law firm in Manhattan, Reese started performing regularly in many venues around the tristate area. Her routines often discuss her personal life stories that feature her community, family and religious beliefs.
“Much of my comedy is unique to my own experience,” Reese stated. “It’s basically my life in jokes.”
For Reese, comedy is more than just making people laugh; if the crowd learns something at any point about her and her community, then she has fulfilled her job. Although she often jokes about life in the Jewish community, Reese specifically uses religion to connect with the audience and establish a relationship with them.
“I love stand up because the challenge is to relate to so many diverse crowds,” Reese said. “When the crowd sighs ‘aww’ when I say I have to leave, that particular feeling of connection is like nothing I experience anywhere else in life.”
Reese’s career reached new heights when she first performed at The Borgata in Atlantic City—her largest venue to date. She saw this performance as a “huge thrill,” proving to her that pursuing comedy was the right decision. Most of her venues, however, are smaller, often at local comedy clubs or at synagogues.
Each day, Reese strives not only to make connections with her audience, but also to make her daughters, Isabella and Aliza, proud. Although often away on weeknights, she is always present for Shabbat dinner, either at home or on the road with her family.
“Having that consistency has been a wonderful thing,” said Reese. “I try not to think about all the amazing Friday night shows that I’m missing out on!”
With numerous performances scheduled for the near future, Reese hopes to inspire people to pursue their passions, even if it requires making a sacrifice. “Being a comedian has given me a sense of freedom in my everyday life that I didn’t necessarily feel before as an attorney,” Reese said. “Don’t tell yourself [your dream] is pointless. It could be the thing that saves you.”
Also read “Reese On The Rise.”