We had the good fortune of connecting with Jess Wood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jess, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I tackle problems like trauma from chidhood, sex issues and topics most people think of as taboo. Then I infuse them with humor and personal stories. So far the results have been amazing. People tell me that after listening to my show, they feel more confident in their lives. I’ve had people give me credit for getting promotions at work and being able to end toxic relationships. Hearing these things validates the work I do, and keeps me going.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Comedy helped me surive a life of violent hippies, too many drugs, and gang life. My mom was an actress who raised me a vegan on welfare, but because she was an artist and surrounded herself with other creatives, I was lucky enough to see there was a life beyond working in an office. My surroundings were a mixture of both hilarious and harrowing moments, so having a sense of humor was my protection. I navigated the scarier adults away with jokes and characters, but didn’t know who I was. I was so busy entertaining the grown ups so I could stay safe, it wasn’t until I moved to New York City and got into therapy did I learn how to take everything I learned to survive to the stage.
NYC is a fantastic place to get your chops, and that’s just what I did….with a stint as a dope head and a weed-delivery girl before getting on track. Finally got my shit together and put up a few one-woman-shows in the lower east side. Then I was the first white chick on Def Comedy Jam, after winning a contest called ‘The Best Amateur African American Comedy Contest.’ As I said, I’m a white chick. Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx of the 1990’s didn’t seem scary to me, I’d already hung with gangs in LA, been shot and hadda heroin problem just a few years prior. When I’m on stage, I’m in my element. This last year has been a challenge not being able to get up in front of live crowds, but I have been going LIVE on my IG twice a week, and it’s been a life saver.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Any taco truck east of Vine for breakfast and or lunch. A hike up Griffith Canyon through FernDell.
Sunset from station 26 in Santa Monica
Dinner at Chez Jay if you’ve got a lil dough or George’s in Venice if ya wanna great burger
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I must give credit to the hard working folks at Keith and The Girl, and The Black Guy Who Tips. These folks with their dedication, consistancy and honesty have inspired me to show up, not only for my listeners, but for myself.
Washing Machine shot — Sue Ball IG– @goldenlocketsue Close-up w/Mic — Eric Staniford IG– @esperic