Interviews with Stand Up Comedians

Interviews with Stand UP comedians Stacey GustafsonLast week I had an opportunity to do interviews with stand up comedians, Regina Stoops and Margaret Zhao. Both are veteran comedians who have been doing stand up comedy to the delight of audiences in California for over 20 years. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to join them on stage at The Bothwell Arts Center for “One Night, Three Women, Too Funny” comedy night. And it’s a fundraiser for the Bothwell Center too.

One Night, Three Women, Too Funny!

Bothwell Arts Center

2466 8th St.

Livermore, CA

Saturday, August 26, 2017

7:30pm  9:00pm

Regina Stoops was born and raised in a town called Normal, though her humor is anything but. She has her own unique perspective on what most might consider the mundane details of ordinary life: raising three boys, being married (or not), aging parents, health care, navigating the world of special education, mini-van motoring and the grocery store.

Margaret Zhao was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her award-winning memoir Really Enough; A True Story of Tyranny, Courage and Comedy, charts her daunting struggle for survival, freedom and forbidden love. Unfairly labeled as Enemy of the State under Chairman Mao, Margaret had to use humor and wit to survive oppressive tyranny and then to handle the often hysterical challenges of culture shock in America. From learning to drive to pronouncing the Taco Bell menu, Margaret’s stories of crossing cultures create surprises and uncontrollable laughs

Stacey Gustafson is a proud city slicker from St. Louis who turns everyday frustrations into hilarity. Her tongue-in-cheek brand of humor resonates with the audience as she pokes fun at kids, parents, marriage and midlife.

Interviews with Stand Up Comedians

How does it make you feel to be a woman in stand up?

Regina: I can’t really answer from the “woman in stand up” perspective but I can say that stand up is like therapy for me. It is a wonderful way to be creative and challenge myself in front of an audience”.

Margaret: I don’t think myself a woman when I perform comedy.

Stacey: The first time I did Open Mic Night, there were 4/30 women. I like feeling of being different, being a female in stand up comedy.


What’s the best joke you ever told?

Regina: I don’t know if it’s my best joke but it always gets a laugh when talking about being married for many years and how the relationship changes. “Let’s just say we are way passed the take your spouse to the airport stage and are quickly approaching get a taxi home from outpatient surgery.”

Margaret: The jokes on relationships and my driving experiences are always the best jokes. My best joke? As an immigrant, I appreciate American patriotism. One day I came home telling my husband, “I love President Kennedy’s famous remark!” “What’s that?” he asked. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what YOU can do for your wife!”

Stacey: I told my best joke to a group of Huffington Post lawyers in New York. Afterward they said, “That joke did it. A seriously funny joke will grant you all the rights to your stories.”

Interviews with Stand Up Comedians

How do you describe your comedy style?

Regina: Observational and very much based on personal experience.

Margaret: Clean comedy for families and communities.

Stacey: Observational comedy that’s also anecdotal in nature.


Do you write your own material?

Regina:  Yes, I cannot really tell a funny story unless I’ve personally lived it or seen it happen!

Margaret: Yes, every joke I write myself.

Stacey: Yep, that’s the hardest part. Since I’m a newbie, Regina helps me by critiquing my jokes, less storytelling and more stand up.

Interviews with Stand Up Comedians

Where do you get your material?

Regina: I’m a lesbian mom, married for 25 years with three kids and born in the town of Normal…I have a wealth of material.

Margaret: Daily life.

Stacey: Hey, I grew up in Midwest with 20 year olds for parents. Plus my husband and kids are very unfiltered and supply me with endless material.


Have you ever had to deal with a heckler?

Regina: Yes, a few times, usually they are not nearly as quick or funny as they think they are and the audience is usually rooting for you, not the heckler.

Margaret: I never had a real heckler. If I do, I will just say nice things about him instead of confrontation.

Stacey: Never been heckled yet.

Interviews with Stand Up Comedians

What does your family think about your job?

Regina: My kids are always making suggestions and inadvertently giving me material. I did a presentation on comedic writing for my son’s 5th grade class and the kids thought it was pretty cool that “your mom is a comedian.”  Or as my son put it, “You did great, you didn’t even embarrass me.”

Margaret: Very supportive.

Stacey: Slightly embarrassed but also supportive. My husband is actually going to have a small role in my performance at the Bothwell. Curious? Come see the show!


If you could open for any comic, who would it be?

Regina: Jerry Seinfeld or Paula Poundstone

Margaret: I don’t know. I am very picky, LOL.

Stacey: Brian Regan or Kathleen Madigan


Do you support a charity?

Regina: There is not enough room on my bumper for all the charities I support…most have to do with Special Needs Community, i.e. Special Olympics, Sunflower Hill, Autism Society Bay Area, ENN among them. I have channeled my stand up into doing fundraisers for non-profits as it allows me to be creative, use my event planning skills and help organizations raise money.

Margaret: Yes, I am the President of a charitable organization: Life Renewing Center. Our mission: Through education and community service, we empower people to take charge of their health.

Stacey: So far I’ve performed at fundraisers for the local middle school, writing club, and other women’s groups.


Anything else you want us to know?

Regina: Have a cause?  Let’s do a fundraiser!

Margaret: Yes, I am in the process of developing a “Laughter Therapy” program, inviting the community to join us. And also, I am working on the program called: “Moments with Margaret.”

Stacey: Need a comedian for your group? Call me.

How 6 famous funny women got their start

Looking for a good read?
Are You Kidding Me?: My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives is available on Amazon and eBooks. It’s filled with stories about crazy families, holiday chaos, school disasters and more. Hoping to make you laugh one story at a time. Get your copy now!! Click to purchase on Amazon.

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