Taylor Tomlinson may have gotten her start doing comedy on the church circuit, but there are several reasons why she’s since broken out and cultivated a career that goes far beyond that world.
“At a certain point, I got fired from a church gig for tweeting something with innuendo in it. There was no swearing, there was nothing [offensive] — it was innuendo,” Tomlinson told In The Know’s Gibson Johns during a recent interview. “And I thought, ‘You know what, I think I’m good. I don’t want to have to be worried about this for the rest of my life just to occasionally perform in a church.'”
While she acknowledged that “there’s a lot of money in that market,” Tomlinson told us that she “was trying to avoid becoming a church comedian” so that she didn’t pigeonhole herself for the rest of her career, something that happened when she was on “Last Comic Standing” earlier in her career.
Tomlinson would’ve described herself as a “very clean” comedian “up until four years ago,” but, in the years since, she’s been eager to push the boundaries into more adult material.
“These churches want me to be… they’re hiring an idea of someone that I do not fulfill anymore, and it’s not fair to them. I felt like I was tricking people, because I didn’t want to talk about those things anymore,” she explained to ITK. “I wanted to talk about different things, and I wanted to grow up a little bit, and I wanted to not be so scared of saying the wrong thing and being fired or shamed for it. So, that was a big decision for me, and I’m really glad that I made it.”
It’s freeing for a comedian like Tomlinson to now have (essentially) “no constraints” when it comes to the jokes she can tell and live experiences that she can use as fodder for future material.
“There’s still, you still have to be careful nowadays, with cancel culture and whatnot, but it’s nothing compared to what church cancel culture is,” she laughed. “I am fully trained in cancellation culture as a result, and I think it was good that I started out that way, because it’s much easier to get dirtier than it is to clean up what you already have.”
It’s clear after watching “Quarter-Life Crisis” that Tomlinson has truly evolved as a comic over the past several years, getting to a point where she jokes about her religious upbringing in her very own Netflix special.
For more from Taylor Tomlinson, listen to her full, 20-minute interview with In The Know below. You can watch her “Quarter-Life Crisis” special on Netflix, and listen to her podcast, “Self-Helpless,” here.
For reference, see below for a timecode breakdown of In The Know’s interview with Taylor Tomlinson:
0:48 – 7:53: Taylor talks about life in quarantine, including keeping up with two podcasts and starting a new series with her relatively new boyfriend.
7:54 – 11:49: Taylor talks about her origins in comedy and her journey to where she is now.
11:50 – 15:22: Taylor talks about kicking off her career on the church circuit before ultimately moving away from it.
15:23 – 20:08: Taylor talks about her Netflix special, “Quarter-Life Crisis,” the reactions from viewers and the effects that it has had on her career.
20:09 – 22:38: Taylor talks about the pressure to churn out endless forms of content as a millennial comedian and how she keeps up with that mentally.
22:39 – 25:44: Taylor talks about famous people reaching out to her or following her on Instagram and where she hopes her career goes from here.
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