Hello Ellyn Daniels, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I am from Orlando, Florida but I now divide my time between Los Angeles, London and Barcelona.
When did you first realise you were, well, funny?
I remember making my first joke in kindergarten. My teacher said something to the effect of “we are going to start with step one, then move to step two, etc” and I raised my hand and said, “I don’t see any stairs in here.” And the class laughed. Terrible joke. But that was my first memorable experience making a group of people laugh.
Who are your comedy idols?
Lucille Ball, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, John Cleese, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Silverman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Russell Brand
You work as a model. How the hell did you end up getting into stand-up?
I was modeling in LA. I started getting some acting gigs in commercials and TV shows so I stayed for a while and ended up meeting several people in the business, including one well-known stand-up comedian, who told me I was funny and should do stand up, so I gave it a shot.
What is the difference between an American comedy audience & a British audience?
In my experience, an American comedy audience has less patience for set ups and nuances. They want you to get to the punchlines quickly. American audiences are also more accustomed to the traditional rhythm of stand-up comedy so they get bored much faster if you are doing hacky jokes. They want to be surprised and they won’t give you many polite laughs just for being clever. They want to be moved to big, visceral laughter. A British audience, on the other hand, listens more carefully to the set ups, they laugh much more at nuances and they give you a lot of credit for being clever. They are better listeners and they are thinking while they are listening, so they catch more information. Less is lost on them.
What does Ellyn Daniels like to do when she’s not being funny?
I like to see my friends and have long dinners or spend hours walking around and chatting. I like to write. I try to write screenplays in my free time. I like to study languages. I like to travel. And I still love taking ballet class.
You are bringing ‘Emotional Terrorism’ to the Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Emotional Terrorism is a one woman show which I wrote as an attempt to understand my demons and the voices in my head through a humorous lens. I explore some elements of my childhood including my parents’ irrational fear of HIV, being sexualized at a young age by ballet teachers and the modeling world, developing an eating disorder while working as a teenage model, contracting an STD from my first boyfriend, my absurd experiences studying acting in LA with an abusive, ego maniacal teacher and my descent into alcoholism and the demoralization that came along with it. It’s a dark comedy.
What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
I have been performing the show as part of The Hollywood Fringe Festival and audiences have laughed, gasped and cried throughout the show. I think people’s reactions to the show depend on their personal experiences, but most people have some sort of strong emotional experience while watching it.
How do you think you will find performing at the mega-mash-up that is the Edinburgh Fringe?
I think it will be an amazing experience and I am very excited about it.
What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Ellyn Daniels?
I have no idea. I’m not one for planning very far ahead.
Catch Ellyn Daniels ‘Emotional Terrorism’ at Just The Tonic at the Caves
3rd – 26th August at (21.00)