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Meet Trailblazer Samm Severin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samm Severin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
While I was finishing my creative writing degree, I was in a bad place with my mental health, and listening to stand-up by people like Maria Bamford who were being open about their fucked-up brains made me feel less alone in mine. During this same time, I was breaking up with my then-boyfriend, Tom Stockman (who did the album art for “Stoned and Sad”), and we dealt with it by just trying to make each other laugh as much as possible through that process. Once we broke up, I just translated that energy into doing stand-up. The first show I ever did was Monday Night at Star Bar before it blew up to be as popular as it is now. I drove up from Milledgeville where I was living, went up second in the lineup that night, did OK, then I just kept doing it. It’s been fun.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Exhaustion and bitterness have been the biggest obstacles in my experience. Stand-up doesn’t pay well and it takes a lot of time. You end up working a lot to support your stand-up instead of your stand-up supporting you. I really overworked myself for some years, and it really affected my attitude. When you’re exhausted, bitterness comes easily. There were so many times I remember being so righteously angry about being passed over for a booking, being three and four years in and not getting booked at the only comedy club in town, being broke, being tired. I don’t have remedies for exhaustion and bitterness other than learning to live with them without letting them eat you whole.

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Last August, I tried to sum up the past six or so years of my stand-up career in an EP with the help of Henry Owings from Chunklet Industries. It meant a lot to me to be part of Chunklet and have the same first-album producer as people who influenced me like Jen Kirkman and Zach Galifinakis. The EP is called “Stoned and Sad,” and it’s only 23 minutes long. I’m obsessed with brevity. I love stories that can be told in a sentence and I have a hard time paying attention to anything longer than a TV show. I wanted to make something short that captured the themes that I’ve carried heaviest in my mind, like addiction, love, and womanhood.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
Shalewa Sharpe was still a local Atlanta fixture when I started, and she really inspired me from the get-go. She was just cool and funny in a way that seemed effortless. She was one of the first people I knew who was really doing stand-up seriously and devoting herself to a path to succeeding in it. On top of all that, she was so incredibly nice to me, but not in a way that made me ever stop wanting to impress her, like a very cool professor.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The painted album cover is by Tom Stockman

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