Even before 7 a.m., after dropping her girlfriend off at the train station, comedian Erin Foley can elicit a laugh.
“If I have a sentence that is not grammatically correct, if you could make it grammatically correct so I don’t sound like an idiot … if you could make me sound more literate, that would be fantastic,” Foley says, though the suggestion turned out to be unnecessary.
Foley has brought her act to the D.C. area and plays Riot Act Comedy Theatre (801 E St., N.W.) tonight (Friday) and Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m.
Foley got into comedy after moving to New York with every intention of going to graduate school to teach.
She did an improv show then stuck around to see the stand-up comics.
“I was in Manhattan and I did some improv at a New York comedy club and then right after the improv shows was all the stand up shows and I had never seen stand up before,” Foley says. “I tried it and it went OK … I could definitely see the potential … I started again and I just didn’t stop.”
Foley covers a little bit of everything in her act from politics to news and just ridiculous things. Nothing is safe.
“After you’ve been doing stand up for a while, you become trained,” she says. “I have a heightened sense of ridiculousness.”
Foley is constantly writing down things she thinks are funny, not always knowing it’ll work, but trying everything anyway.
Audiences are a major part of stand up, if they don’t think something is funny, the joke falls flat, she says. Traveling to different parts of the country is also part of the job and that could cause problems with some jokes.
“I’m a pretty liberal Democrat and I’m gay, so some of that material is not going to work all over our country … we have other things in common,” Foley says. “Coming to a city like D.C., its fantastic, because there’s no editing, I can talk about anything I want, it’s a like-minded crowd.”
She’d also like to travel to London and Australia at some point and spend some time performing over there.
Foley has also done some acting, including a role in “Almost Famous” and a couple short films. Acting is what made her move to Los Angeles.
“You have to be out here for a while. When you move here from Manhattan, you think, ‘Oh it’ll be great, it’ll be seamless,’” Foley says. “You kind of have to almost start over in a way … the last couple of years, there has been more and more opportunities.”
She has also done some TV pilots, commercials and was a semi-finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
She definitely has some favorite shows, ranging from FOX’s “New Girl” with Zooey Deschnel to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” some of which she would definitely like to be on, but really she just wants to work.
“I’d jump into any one of those shows that’s on air,” Foley says, laughing. “I think TV in the last five years has really taken off. I mean, there’s such amazing programs.”
Opening for Foley will be John Betz, Jr. and Will Hessler. Tickets are $20 and available online at riotactcomedy.com.
“I’ve never been at Riot Act … and I’ve heard nothing but good things,” Foley says. “I’m super excited and it’s been … a couple years since I’ve been [to D.C.]”