McKinley Ebert, Editorial Intern
Meet Maria Wojciechowski, a multi-talented comedian skilled in improv, sketch, dance, and music (she plays the banjo, ukulele, guitar, and accordion!). Born and raised in Alabama, Wojciechowski studied theater at the University of South Alabama before moving to Chicago to study improv at iO and Second City. Now, she lives in Brooklyn, where she performs stand up; reenacts male-dominated movies with sketch troupe All-Female Reboot; works as an editor at Comedywire; and runs the hilarious account @ilooklikelauradern1, which the New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, and Entertainment Weekly covered. Maria made time to answer a few questions about jumpstarting her stand up career, following comedic opportunities, and creating without self-consciousness.
WICF Daily: What prompted you to start writing and performing comedy?
Maria: I went to college at the University of South Alabama where my best friend and I were both theater majors. We were cast in a lot of the same shows, and before performances, during warm ups or while we were getting our hair and makeup done, we would make up characters and little improvised sketches – just goofing off or lightening the mood. We both loved SNL and eventually were like, “Hey, we should perform these for real.” We booked a gig at a local coffee shop in the fall of our senior year. Our first show was great, and we got amazing feedback. I’ve been hooked ever since.
WICF: Originally from Alabama, you studied improv in Chicago and moved to New York four years ago. How did you decide it was time to move to New York?
Maria: I moved to Chicago to get better and find my comedic voice. I’m so thankful for my time there because it allowed me to take risks without judgment. I had a one woman show (like, of course) that I created in Chicago and took on the road to New York for the FRIGID New York Fringe Festival. While in town, I did some open mics and just felt a sense of belonging in the stand up community almost immediately. I moved later that year.
WICF: You’ve traveled the U.S. performing standup, recently headlining a show in Portland, Maine. What are some of your favorite clubs/rooms to perform in across the country?
Maria: Two of my favorite rooms outside of New York are Good Good Comedy Theatre in Philadelphia and the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington, VT. I also like the bar Merry Widow in my hometown of Mobile, AL and Dragon’s Den in New Orleans.
WICF: What advice would you give women pursuing comedy professionally?
Maria: Perform as much as you can, don’t compare yourself to others, write and perform what you enjoy writing and performing – not what you think others will enjoy.
WICF: How can people keep up with your work / find you online?
Maria: I try to keep my calendar as up to date as possible, so for shows the best place to look is www.mariawojo.com. I am @riawojo on Twitter and on Instagram. I also have a silly Instagram called @ILookLikeLauraDern1 where I recreate iconic pictures of Laura Dern, and I’d be honored if you followed that =).