& Creator of “Women of a Certain Age Comedy“
– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. The ‘I Love Lucy’ show was a staple for me as a child. We had a TV in our kitchen, and we ate our dinner meals watching her. Until I became a comedian myself, I wasn’t really aware of the gender discrimination that is so prevalent in my field. I always thought,“Well, Lucy did it so can I.” Same for Carol Burnett. I loved her show.
Strangely, Helen Reddy’s song ‘I Am Woman’ had a lot of influence on me.
I am Woman, Hear me roar!
Women who inspire you now?
Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders. Just because she has always been such a badass. She just IS, and I love her for it.
Lily Tomlin! Such an amazing actress. I was lucky enough to see her solo show when it first came out and then when it was revived years later. I’m hoping I get to meet her someday; it’s on my bucket list.
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother?
To laugh in the face of adversity. My mom was very funny but not in the broad, loud way my dad was. She was very much like Gracie Allen. Once when feeding my cat some raw fish that I was in the process of cooking, she said to me “Why are you giving her raw fish? What do you think she is AN ANIMAL?” My parents had issues just like every married couple, but somehow they managed to stay together, and they both used humor.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
Not at all and that really bothers me. There is some unwritten rule that once a woman reaches 50, she becomes invisible. When I was young, I was always bothered when I walked by a construction site. Now I could walk by one naked, and all I’d get is,’ Hey lady, your nipples are getting bloody from scraping the sidewalk. That’s why I created Women Of A Certain Age Comedy. I was doing a podcast with some older funny women, and we just laughed the entire time. I thought afterward, why aren’t there more shows featuring older women? Not every great comic is world famous. There are women out there who’ve been working ships, corporate gigs, private parties and they are amazing. In comedy as the rest of showbiz, old age is frowned upon.
(except for Betty White!)
“I declare my age
the moment I step onstage.
I’m trying to break that unwritten rule!”
Have you made career changes over the years?
Yes, but I always stayed in show business. When I turned 50, I saw the writing on the wall as youth is a valued commodity in comedy. I decided to try directing which I loved. I was an agent for a hot minute, but I realized if I’m going to work that hard I might as well do it or myself LOL. I also produce, teach stand up comedy, write blogs and work with people to develop their solo shows.
Through the decades!
20’s: I’d have to say my main accomplishment was the sheer determination that I had and needed to follow the path I chose. In the late 70’s there were not a ton of female comics, hell there wasn’t a lot of comics period. But yet I soldiered on. It was all I really ever wanted to do.
30’s: Hands down giving birth to my son at 34 changed my life in a way I never thought possible. Never expected to love anything the way I love my son. When he was 4, we moved to Las Vegas and stayed for ten years. To have a steady gig for all those years was something I am very proud of.
40’s: The 40’s are a blur as I was raising my son while working in burlesque shows in Las Vegas. I wish I hadn’t gambled as much when I was bored between shows. In the same vein, I wish I had thought more about retirement finances in my 40’s.
50’s: The highlight was doing tours with Armed Forces Entertainment all over the world for our troops. My dad was a Korean War veteran, and I always wanted to do something to honor him. I am a big believer in giving back when you can. I still keep in touch with some of the folks I met while overseas.
“ I’ve just entered my 60’s. It already looks like it’s going to be a fabulous decade.
I’m busier now than I’ve been in years!”
What have been your greatest challenges?
My greatest challenge is probably that I never give myself enough credit for what I am doing. Women do so much in our lives every day, and we always seem to rise to the occasion when more has to be done. I’m finally learning to relax and take time for me. Honestly though even when I do, I’m always thinking “Shouldn’t I be doing something?”
What are you most grateful for?
My health of course, especially now that I’ve turned 60. If you think your parents, f!@d you up mentally, wait until genetics come into play. I’ve recently learned I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So, no more late nights at the diner eating bacon. (Comedians love to go out after a show and hang out and eat).
Thoughts on Aging,
The downside… Mostly that my body is falling apart. It’s what bodies do, and I’m ok with it. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that I can’t DO as much as I used to cause I just don’t have the energy. Years ago, when I was spotting in between periods, my doctor said to me “Your body is like an old car, and it’s leaking oil.”
That pretty much sums it up.
The upside…I’m busier now than I have in been years. I think it has to do with not worrying as much about everything. I’m also calmer; I trust myself more now too.
Your advice to young women of today?
Try not to be so hard on yourself. I think young women put so much pressure on themselves to be thin, to be pretty, to be accepted. Love yourself now.
-Carole Montgomery xo
Images courtesy of Carole Montgomery unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!
My favorite author is Sue Grafton of the alphabet series. When my son was younger I told him I wanted him to buy me Z to complete my collections. Sadly Ms.Grafton passed away so there will be no Z. My son DID get me Y though!
Song: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. When I was figuring out my life in my early 20’s his music helped me keep it together.
Film: Anything the Marx Brothers have done, even the later unfunny ones. I still think Annie Hall is one of the best films out there regardless of what Woody Allen is thought of these days.
Scent: I love the smell of lavender. I used to wear Chanel Allure all the time and then one day I put some on and it was a completely different smell. Thanks, menopause!
Flower: White roses, that’s what my wedding bouquet was made of. And I love freesias. That’s one of the things that sucks about living in NYC. I can’t garden. Not that I was good at it but it is so much fun to do. When I lived in LA, I used to love the smell of night jasmine in the evening.
City or place: My favorite place in the world is the fountain at Lincoln Center. My favorite city is Montreal.
Artist: My mother loved to dabble in art. She never had the gumption to do anything with it though. I have some of her work.
Food/Meal/Cuisine: Probably pizza. And I love Mexican food and by Mexican food I mean margaritas!
Skincare product: I’ve been using Origins products forever!
Make-up product: I used to love red lipstick but I’ve mellowed a bit. Now I love a nude lip gloss. I love Bare Essentials face powder!