While a few dozen stand-up comics work the local scene with regularity, not many have allowed themselves the chance to tackle a headlining-length set, especially one as uniquely challenging as "GOOD," the one-woman show that comedian Amy Milton recently performed for a trio of performances at St. Lou Fringe.
The show, a darkly funny, first-person reflection on her life, tackled many of the same topics as Milton's stand-up act, including her time inside a religious cult and, later, family battles with drugs. Though Milton is understated in her delivery, her material digs deep — very deep — and touches on the complicated family dynamics that most audience members can appreciate, even if Milton's family takes things to the next level. Telling those stories honestly can be a trick.
"There's always an overlap of experience, and it's not always easy to determine the line between your own life and another person's privacy," Milton, 29, says. "It's an age-old writer/artist problem, arguably heightened for comics because nuance in jokes is challenging and we're mean people."
"GOOD" was a neat summary of the same feeling that Milton brings to comedy sets. She guesses that about 75 percent of the show originated in her stand-up, although "'GOOD" is a little heavier on family and God than her comedy club work.
Milton moved to St. Louis from Indiana in the summer of 2010 to get a creative writing MFA at UMSL. "I first tried stand-up around a year later, so I just passed the five-year mark," she notes. "As I started in — and haven't abandoned — fiction writing, I've had to adjust to the difference between what works and makes sense on a page and what works and makes sense spoken aloud to a sometimes drunk-and-uninterested audience."
With several co-hosts, Milton serves up the talk show Fatal Bus Accident at the Heavy Anchor (generally on the last Wednesday of the month), a show that'll soon hit the road. She'll also host Contraceptive Comedy at Shameless Grounds on October 29 and Two Girls One Mic at 1900 Park sometime in November.