Spotlight: Little Old Lady Comedy
Ginny Hogan and Mary Cella, Contributors
We met doing afternoon open mics in the spring of 2017. If an afternoon open mic sounds depressing to you, that’s because it is. We’re stand-up comics and writers, and we were both pitching humor sites. We’ve both been published by many wonderful places, but we’re also huge weirdos who had a trove of pieces that didn’t have a home. Every site has its own voice, and while sometimes our voices matched up with an existing site, we also wanted to create a space that was entirely our own. So we started Little Old Lady Comedy. We chose the name because it’s an acronym for LOL and also lent itself to a cute logo (designed by Mary’s sister Kate), but it has led people to ask if two old ladies are running the site. That is fine with us! In fact, if anyone asks, we’re both in our 70s and just look incredible.
We both published one piece/day for the initial months of LOL. It was an incredible challenge to come up with a new humor piece every day, and we loved it. Ultimately, we wanted to populate the site with articles from our favorite authors from all over the humor landscape. We started by asking comics we knew to contribute, particularly comics whose writing we loved either on other sites or in their stand-up. Now, we have over 200 contributors, many of whom have written for places like the New York Times, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and more.
We loved running the site on Medium, but they changed their policies so we couldn’t have our own domain name. Our domain was “medium.com/@little-old-lady”, which was difficult for people to remember when we yelled it at them from across the street. After much pleading with the Medium support staff, we decided to switch to WordPress where we could live at littleoldladycomedy.com. The biggest challenge was transporting all our old articles – we had to have contributors send us their downloaded files individually, but it was a great chance to remind them we existed and have them contribute more pieces, so win-win!
In the fall of 2018, a college student reached out to us about an internship. It’s extremely impressive when college students who are proactive about their careers because we didn’t think about our careers until about May of senior year (2 weeks after graduation). We hired her, and she helped us build up our social media following a lot. We now have an Instagram, which is especially fun because a lot of our contributors send in their own photos for their pieces. Our view count grew a lot as a result of her social media efforts.
We started working with the Brain Machine podcasting network in October 2018 to record a live show and podcast. We invited a few of our favorite contributors to come in and read some of their LOL pieces for a podcast at the Greene Grape Annex, a coffee shop in Brooklyn. We also had standup comedy – in many ways, we bridge the gap between the classy NYC literary scene and the gross stand-up comedy world (we’re proudly making the classy literary scene gross). Our first show was a huge hit, and now we have a quarterly show at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. One thing that’s wonderful about the site is many of our contributors are performers we’ve met doing stand-up, and their live performance of their writing is amazing. Be on the lookout for our podcast in the coming months and come to our show in an ultra-chic bookstore!
In the future, we’re planning to continue growing the site and its contributors. We now have cartoonists and illustrators who work with some of the contributors to bring fantastic artwork to their pieces. We’d encourage anyone interested in writing for us to visit our submission page. We grow our Twitter and Facebook following daily, and you can find all our content there. Happy reading!