How Comedy Went from Creative Outlet to Career with Katy Ipock
This transcript was created using AI. Please forgive any discrepencies.
[Intro] Welcome to Easy Style with Sami. I’m your host Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each episode, I invite a friend, family member or colleague or just someone I’ve met on this journey called life to come and share their personal style and approach to business, parenting, life and everything in between. You’ll hear motivational and inspirational stories that will help you refine and build your own personal style. Remember, style is easy when it comes from within.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, hey, welcome to another episode of easy style with Sami. Today, my guest is the wonderful Katy Ipock. Katy, thanks for being here today.
[Katy Ipock] I am so stoked to be here.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So we met I think we met at a networking event when I was living in Oregon, and just connected immediately, like, I love your energy. I love the way that you just want to bring people together. You just want to build community, like you’re just, you’re just all about, like, how can I help you? Like that’s just the energy that you exude? And so I feel like it’s been easy, like, we’ve just had kind of an easy off, you know, we connect sometimes sometimes, we’re not chatting as often, but we always just seem to come back like no time has passed,
[Katy Ipock] right? It’s like our friendship has an easy style. Oh,
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] okay. You guys are gonna learn through this. She’s a comedian and a promotions person. So she’s gonna do all the things. Stay here. Um, but speaking of that, you’ve had like 90 different titles. So you’ve been a producer, you’re a comedian, you’re a mom, you’re a wife. You’ve been a radio host. You’ve been a podcast host, you’ve been a comedian coach, I’m missing probably 800 of them. But kind of how has that felt for you? Like, how have you ebbed and flowed through that? How have you made decisions about what to do? What not to do? Like? What does that look like for you just in a big picture strategy?
[Katy Ipock] Well, I suppose in the big picture, almost all of my other titles have come from starting stand up comedy. Before stand up, I did go to school for radio broadcasting. I’m a graduate of American broadcasting School, which is a tech school. And then right about the time I graduated from ABS, we learned that our son is autistic. And that became like a real focus. And so everything got put to the side. And then I just tried stand up comedy, honestly, to get out of the house. And that kind of turned into an amazing hobby that got me out. And then through that I got offered a couple of radio shows that just I said yes to say yes. Yeah, it was a lot of just saying yes, to say, Yes, almost all of those titles. And I think the big transition for me was the pandemic when almost everything got taken off my plate. And it was one of those moments where everything I was putting my time into other than my family was taken away. And when it came time to put stuff back on the plate, I had a clear vision of what was filling my soul. And what was just taking energy away. What was I doing just because it was habit to say yes. And what was I doing? to please other people? Yep. So post pandemic, it just became a gut check every time is this is this if it’s not an aesthetic? Yes, I want to do this, then I really needed to evaluate it, whether I wanted to bring it back. Yeah.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That’s amazing. And I think a lot of us feel that way. And I think that’s great. But I want to jump to what you said to beginning which is, I started comedy just to get out of the house and do something. Because like for 99% of the population, like that is terrifying. So like, how has it always been something you’ve enjoyed doing? Like, how is that something you’re like, oh, just try getting on stage and telling jokes and like, trying to make people laugh. I mean, like, that’s hard.
[Katy Ipock] Yeah, no. So when you because I get that a lot of time people asking me about stage fright, and how are you brave enough to do it? I think a lot of people don’t understand where stage fright comes from. And it’s actually encoded into our like DNA. And it comes from back when we would have to be able to sleep by the fire in order to survive at night. And in order to be allowed to be sleep to sleep around the fire. Everyone else had to like you. So it came down to there’s a survival need to not embarrass yourself, not to make people angry. And that’s where stage fright is. And that’s why people are almost more afraid of stage fright than they are death. Yes, they don’t realize stage fright really is fearing death. I say that saying that. I don’t have that. So if this was what, two three millennia ago, or whenever I probably would have been cast from the fire and eaten by a lion by the time I was like 12. So it’s not Actually, I mean, it’s a good thing in society now, in a way, but like, I’m just missing a part of that instinct for self preservation.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Why don’t you call yourself you’ve evolved past the need. Yeah.
[Katy Ipock] Yeah, I mean that too, for sure. That is the less humorous way to look at it. But ya know, it’s but that’s why like, I’m not, I don’t overly pressure people that are like, Oh my god, so much day trade, I don’t want to do it, like I get it, you you want to live, you want to survive, you don’t want to be eaten by the lion. Like that’s, that’s actually a mentally healthy place to be. It’s not. It’s not the bad thing that people think it is.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and that’s why you’re great at what you do. So like, when you started doing comedy, because you have a very adult style of comedy. Um, and so has that always been a part of your mix? And like, how does that kind of play into your confidence to just show up and be 100%? Because there’s one thing to be like, I’m not afraid to show up. But then there’s another thing to be like, I’m gonna be me and you like me? Are you don’t? These are my jokes. This is my humor. This is my style. And I’m going for it.
[Katy Ipock] Yeah. So I think part of it is because of the reason I got into stand up in the first place. And we’ll back up I guess we’re backing up to this twice, but whatever. So before I started stand up comedy, I was I was doing some line dancing, but I wasn’t really getting out of the house. And I’ve always had what I politely call are performers, hearts. Even as a young kid, I love to be in front of the class and talking and I did speech and debate in high school. And I’ve always loved that attention. And I know everyone else calls it being an attention whore. I call it having a performer’s heart. And so, right. And as a mom, you don’t, that was not getting hitched. That was not. I had basically gone too long without attention from strangers. And I was kind of I was wanting it, I was thirsty for it. And I saw an ad for an open mic, and I just did it. But the thing is, it was that it still is my break from motherhood. It is my break from being the full time caregiver for a child with special needs. And so it is where I go to be adult, it is where I go to be unapologetic. It is where I go to be. It’s your version of self care. Yeah. And like, it’s where I go to be a little less empathetic and a little less compassionate. And a little Yeah. And so I think that comes out in how I write because it’s really the therapy and the antithesis from, you know, the way I spend the rest of my time. Otherwise,
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] as the caregiver well, because as moms, I think in wives like we feel this caregiver role so much. And so I think we all need to find that release that outlet that allows us to let that go. And yours happens to be comedy, which I think is great. At what age will you allow your son to watch your shows.
[Katy Ipock] So the thing is that my son, bless him. And I don’t know how much of your audience will relate to this, but my son is what you call a scripter. So instead of functional language, which it’s getting better, he’s 30. Now, he takes a sentence that he learns honestly, usually from YouTube, and just yells at people. And even though he is a scripter, he is very, he’s always been very quick to kind of figure out technology. So his scripts have actually never been that appropriate. So while I am not purposely sitting him in front of my material. At this point, we haven’t really had the luxury of policing content. In our heart.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] It’s so hard. I do. Yeah, my son will come up and show me some YouTube shorts that just pop up on his feet, even though we have like all of the things in place. And you know, you have those conversations with your kids, no matter what all the time. It’s hard to control without just being like a tyrant and saying any any of it.
[Katy Ipock] Yeah, he every once awhile, I’ll get a text from his school, where they’ll be like, Hey, he’s scripting something new, and they type it out. And it usually has one or more colorful metaphors. And then I have to Google it and figure out oh, and then be like, well, this is where it’s from. Basically confirming to the school that I didn’t teach and to say that myself, and then not a common phrase in our household. Yeah. And, you know, adding it to the block list and, you know, but you you can’t get ahead of it anymore. Yeah, just Yeah.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, speaking of social media, I want to go back to the comedy because I know this is something you and I have talked about a while ago, but canceled culture, conversations around diversity, equity, inclusion around race around LGBTQ plus, which I know you’re a huge supporter and advocate for, how has that affected comedians and like, what you write and how you tell jokes, because there’s now that like, that fine line has become like a sidewalk, but you have to try to navigate between like, what’s a joke and what’s being offensive?
[Katy Ipock] Yep. I am a firm believer as a whole, that it’s not canceled culture, it is consequence culture. And honestly, you know, we talk about how comedy is my break from caregiving, but I have turned into a mentor, and a trainer for comics. And basically, what I explained to them is you can’t punch down. And what punching down in comedy and imagine everywhere else, it means writing a joke where the punch line makes us makes fun of somebody who has less social or economic power than you do. So as a white straight woman, I can punch up on straight white men all I want. Yep. All day. But women of color, men of color. Anyone within the LGBT plus community, like the moment I write up punch line, that makes fun of them. That’s what I’ve crossed a line. That’s not to say that I can’t write about LGBT issues, or issues with communities of color or priority communities just means you can’t punch down on them. Yeah. And honestly, I’ve never understood the backlash to that thought process. And you get a lot of comedians that come back with, you know, what about comics, like George Carlin, and I’m like, if you listened, he never punched down. It may have been edgy, it may have been, you know, speaking truth to power, but that was the point he was speaking truth to power?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I think you also have to take it within the context of the time, right? Like, it’s not fair to take movies, or comedy, or songs or anything that’s in the, you know, entertainment space out of context of the time that existed, because how are they, you know, oh, yeah, you have to be the best version of yourself in the moment that you’re in, and do right by you. And I love that because it’s almost like stay in your lane. It’s like, you know, I can learn, advocate and support these other communities that I am not in. But that doesn’t mean that because I’m an advocate for those communities. I have the right to make jokes or create commentary around those in a public space.
[Katy Ipock] Yeah, exactly. It’s, it’s just doing what comedians have not really been asked to do. And that’s not use your platform to harm. Yeah. And I mean, you can put an asterisk to that not harm, you know, people with less social and economic power than you have. You know, let’s, let’s harm all the super rich, straight white dudes that take care of everybody else. Like let’s Yeah, let’s, let’s take down Elon Musk, I’m all down for that.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. And do you think that that has come? Like, cuz I know you do mentor a lot of comedians, but like, do you think your style has developed in the way that you mentor has developed as you have gotten older? And like you see, kind of, like, I guess, twofold question, like your maturity helps you kind of understand what’s right and wrong in those situations. But like in your years of mentoring, like how are you seeing even just the awareness and understanding from maybe some younger comedians now that if you were mentoring the same age comedian, 10 years ago, like wouldn’t be the same? Like, are you seeing growth there?
[Katy Ipock] I think growth and awareness as a whole and that’s among the entire society. Yeah, I think anyone that is looking at any sort of expression, the same way post BLM and post the pandemic has lost the point. Yeah, comedy has changed, what’s acceptable has changed and it should not have taken the BLM Movement for us to see that that’s that’s what happened. So make social
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] change in any situation right to traumatic
[Katy Ipock] rights. And it’s it’s unfortunate and it’s it’s heartbreaking and there There are some people who are not stepping through and joining the rest of the society. And the idea that it’s time to elevate. Yeah. But in terms of writing, there is a trajectory that almost all comics take. So your first couple of years, you write what we call low hanging fruit jokes. It’s very jokes about penises. Everyone has jokes about internet dating sites. Yeah. You know, it’s all, you know, in the 80s and 90s, and would have called them airplane jokes. And mother in law jokes like, and part of that is because you’re learning the nuts and bolts of how writing a joke works. Yeah. And it’s easier to learn how to do something with stuff that’s already inherently funny. But you find after a couple years, two, three years, if anybody in this, myself included, is really interested in the craft and really learning, you start to see a change, where they start to move away from the low hanging fruit, and they start to kind of get away from vulgarity for vulgarity sake. Yeah, for the shock factor, right. Yeah. And they start to write from a more mature perspective. And that’s where you start to see comics go from writing about internet dating, to start writing about stuff that’s really important to them. And really insightful. And comedy is a whole, like comedy audiences, what they want is different now than pre pandemic and Hannah Gatsby, as a really good example of that. So if you watch her Netflix special, you’ll see that it ebbs and flows in and out of comedy and storytelling. And comedians who have not joined us in this post pandemic world say that her special isn’t comedy that’s not stand up comedy. That’s not even what that is. But audiences loved it. And it’s because she got honest audiences wants you to rip open your chest, they want you to show them your wounds. And the potentially mentally unhealthy thing is they want to be able to laugh at them. Right? Wait, let
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] me let me stop you there. Because I think I’m the beauty of comedy is that to your point with the storytelling and kind of that arc, and like kind of, like, what I love is when all of a sudden you’re listening to something and then they go on these tangents. And then they come all the way full circle and like, bring it and close it up and put this nice little ribbon on it, and you’re just like laughing your butt off. But I think that it’s also like we’re laughing at it because it’s like somebody’s talking about something we’ve experienced, and making us feel like okay, maybe I’m not so weird. Like, oh, that happened to me. Like, that’s why it’s funny. It’s not because you made a joke.
[Katy Ipock] Oh, yeah, exactly. What I meant was unhealthy as for us as comics? Oh, right. I don’t know if us. I mean, I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist. But I can’t imagine co signing the idea of looking at your trauma in a way to get strangers to laugh at it in front of you. Like, like, that can’t be totally cool on the brain. But it’s also really therapeutic.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I’ve been self awareness. Like if you can talk about it, like people that are have trauma they can’t deal with can’t talk about it. That’s true.
[Katy Ipock] I talk about mine a lot. So
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] what I want to touch on one thing, before we kind of get into the last questions that I always ask everybody, and that is, you know, before we got on this call, you mentioned you know, you’ve been touring more, you’ve been doing more standup shows, and hit or miss Right? Like you had a couple good shows you had a show that didn’t quite everything didn’t quite land the way you wanted. So what does that feel like? And how do you resist the urge to just say, Oh, well, this show sucked. Like, let’s just say one of three shows sucked. So you did better than you did? Poor? I don’t know what the right word is there. What how do you resist the urge to be like, I’m just scrapping it all. And I’m starting all from scratch versus like having the confidence to say no, these jokes are good. That just wasn’t the right audience time or place. Right?
[Katy Ipock] So what you’re talking about that whole thing is what probably drives 80 plus percent of people out of stand up comedy. Yeah, it’s not anything other than the battle with yourself to be able to work through what we call a bomb. David tell once said you have to bomb 100 times to be a comedian. And you have to learn how to enjoy that write down. So you have to be able to stand in front of an audience that isn’t enjoying your jokes and figure out how not to let it eat your soul and find some joy, you know. But also, you never want to blame the audience for a bad set. So you know, for example, I had a show Saturday where the majority of that set went great. And then I went down a road they weren’t not not. And looking back on it. I just should have been like, Oh, we’re not liking this topic. I should switch gears. Instead, I got a little egotistical was like oh, we’re just gonna keep talking about this because you guys get on board eventually. They never got on board, and I should have switched gears. But you don’t become a better performer until you put yourself through those situations. You know, it’s It reminds me a lot of what my stepdad who’s a 35 year National Ski patroller when he talks about skiing, he says if you’re not falling, you’re not becoming a better Yeah, same thing with anything but comedy specifically, you know, it’s that bomb makes me a better comment today.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And I agree with that, because I have launched products in my marketing business that have bombed but that doesn’t mean I shut down my business, we just like pivoted and moved on, like, we’ve held live, like, I think at any industry, whatever you’re doing, you know, if you’re giving a presentation, like it doesn’t mean you need to stop it just like think like you said, it’s all about self awareness. And but like knowing I think for you, right, you know, at your core, you love what you do. If you didn’t have that, then that wouldn’t keep pushing you,
[Katy Ipock] ya know? For sure, I think if I did not enjoy being in front of an audience and watching them every time free act to what I’m telling them, and honestly, all comedians are, were emotional manipulators, just like the bad ones. The only differences is we’re just trying to manipulate you into positive emotion. I’m trying to emotionally manipulate you to get get you to laugh. That’s why nobody calls us toxic, but it’s pretty much the same thing. And so I enjoy that I enjoy the idea of getting an entire room to laugh at the same time. It’s a it might be a little sadistic, but I love it.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] But this way, you’re great at what you do. We all choose the path, or we should choose the path for ourselves that makes the most sense to light us up. Like you said post pandemic was like, What am I going to say yes to? I’m gonna say yes to the things that light me up and let go of the things that don’t. Exactly. Okay. So let’s go through the five questions that I ask every guest that’s on the podcast. So where’s your go to place for personal development, learning or career learning? Like where do you go to find? support?
[Katy Ipock] Support, I go to open mics, I go to the community where other people do the same thing I do. But I also find Pinterest to be an amazing resource for inspiration. And you know, where to find personal development books and that sort of thing.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that you’ll have to follow easy style with Sammy on Pinterest for additional resources. Nice shameless plug. Yeah. Okay. Are you in? I think we know the answer this but would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
[Katy Ipock] I am an introvert. Oh, wait, what? Hands down? I am a textbook introvert. I do not my energy does not get refueled by being around people. And I think people have a misunderstanding of stand up comedians, the majority of stand up comedians are introverts. And I think you can assume that by the nature of what stand up comedy is that it’s an extrovert activity, but it’s really not because you have your you have extra space. And you’re in control of that conversation. It’s not one on one, you’re controlling what’s being said, no one can really talk back to you. It’s so yeah, it’s not as extroverted as you think it is.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] You know, it’s interesting, because my daughter is in theater and she takes voice lessons but she if you asked her to like have a conversation and sing in front of you or saying like just next to you or like have a little whatever, powwow, what’s the word have like a jam session or something never gonna happen. But you put her on stage with the lights as same like what you said like that separation between you and the audience. She doesn’t actually have to interact with anybody. But, you know, lights her up because she loves to perform on stage. So that’s interesting. Interesting. That makes a lot of sense. What’s one thing that’s on your goal list for this upcoming year, either personal or professional?
[Katy Ipock] So writing my next 45 minutes set, so I really minutes? Yep, I released an album last year was my debut album, self produced motor yacht Fridays on all streaming services. And so now the goal is to write the next 45 minutes. So that’s what I’m doing. That’s awesome.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And we’ll link that up in the show notes too, so people can watch what is a piece of advice you’ve gotten from someone that has stuck with you.
[Katy Ipock] I think it’s that piece of advice from my stepdad about how when you’re skiing if you’re not falling, you’re not learning. Yeah,
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] yep. Failure is not failure. Unless you let it be right. Nope. Yeah. Okay, last one. What is a non negotiable for you and your life?
[Katy Ipock] Um, I You can’t work in stand up comedy and really have a non negotiable. But But I guess it’s I guess for me at this point, it’s, I cannot be around people who punch down in a way anymore. Whether it be in their writing, or you can even punch down like that. In the way you walk through your life. I can’t I can’t be around that anymore. Yep.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I so appreciate you coming on the pod cast and I appreciate you being a positive energy and positive light for people because you practice what you preach. And you do that in your comedy but also in the way that you mentor people and I just think that’s such a gift to people. So thank you for being an awesome human. Katie if people want to learn more about you if they happen to be in the Central Oregon area or in Oregon and want to check out your shows how can they connect with you?
[Katy Ipock] The best place to go would be my website. It’s Katie I poc.com KTY IPO ck.com and that you can find links to all of my social media upcoming shows, different podcasts, interviews, and that kind of stuff. You just everything. Katie is right there.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Everything Katy, I love it. Well, thank you so much for being here.
[Katy Ipock] This has been a blast, Sami. Thank you, Sami.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So what do you think is Katy awesome, or what I just love her take and approach to all the things in her life and the way she approaches comedy and how she mentors people and has her own style that not everybody might like, or maybe people are gonna love, but it’s hers. And she does it with respect, and she does it with care. And she does it most importantly, to light her up. And I think that’s a great lesson for all of us as we think about the choices that we make in crafting our own style when it comes to our work, work life balance, family, all of the things. So head on over to the show notes at https://easystylewithsami.com/10 to grab the resources and things that she discussed in this episode. Or you can stream wherever you listen or check us out on YouTube at easy style with Sami if you want to watch the video versions of these episodes. New episodes are released on Thursday. So I hope you’ll leave us a review and subscribe wherever you watch and or listen so that you don’t miss out on a single episode. Thank you so much for being loyal fans of easy style of Sami. We’re 10 episodes in and I’m having a blast having these conversations and I hope that you’re being inspired by them as well. So thank you so much for joining me for this episode. And I’ll see you in the next one.
Life takes us in all sorts of different directions. When Katy’s son was diagnosed with autism she suddently had a full schedule of appointments and supporting him in living his best life, alongside her husband. As a way to find some space for herself she decided to go to an open comedy mic night. She quickly realized she’d found something that fueled her!
Katy then turned that into about 50 different jobs before she really settled into the parts of comedy and mentorship that gave her what she needed while not overextending herself. If you’ve been wanting to try something new or change careers this is the perfect episode for you.
In this episode we discuss
- Truly understanding what stage fright is.
- Failure isn’t failure unless you let it.
- Making time for yourself and listening to what you need.
Want to skip ahead?
[3:54] What stage fright really is and why Katy feels at home on the comedic stage.
[10:14] How comedy is changing in light of cancel culture and sets around marginalized communities.
[22:03] Where Katy goes for personal development
[22:33] Is Katy and introvert or extrovert?
[23:51] One goal for the upcoming year.
[24:17] Piece of advice that has stuck with Christine.
[24:34] What’s a non-negotiable?
Learn more at: https://katyipock.com
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