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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jessica Kirson – from the streets of New York to the Spokane stage

March 4, 2021 Updated Thu., March 4, 2021 at 2:02 p.m.

Actress and comic Jessica Kirson headlines at the Spokane Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday. (Courtesy)
Actress and comic Jessica Kirson headlines at the Spokane Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday. (Courtesy)

Jessica Kirson killed on the streets of New York a few months ago. The veteran comic didn’t take anyone out. In comedy parlance, killing is blowing away the audience. That’s what Kirson did in front of paying customers outside comedy clubs in the concrete jungle of Gotham.

Comics had to be inventive if they were going to perform during the peak of the pandemic. Kirson honed her standup by performing on New York City sidewalks and rooftops. “I had no choice but to perform wherever I could,” Kirson said while calling from her Long Island home. “First off, I have four children who I have to support. I’m also compelled to perform.”

Kirson’s four daughters – a 14-year-old actress, a 5-year-old and 21-month-old twins – inspire more material now than ever thanks to the pandemic. “Much of my material is personal, but it’s never been so much about my children since I’ve never been around them so much thanks to all that we’ve gone through.

“Thank God I only have one teenager, or I would be doing crystal meth now. So when people see me now, they’ll hear about my kids and my mom, but I think that’s good since the crowd gets to know you, and it comes from a unique place.”

A larger audience may learn about Kirson and her family. The veteran New Jersey-born comic, who will perform Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club, signed a deal to write and shoot a pilot.

“The sitcom is about my life,” Kirson said. “I’m so excited about it. My daughter Zoe, who is an actual actress with an agent, is going to play my daughter on the show. It’s such a fun thing to write scenes that I’ll be doing with my daughter.”

The as-yet-untitled project sounds like a feel-good show. “My daughters are goofy and sweet,” Kirson said. “I love them with all of my heart. All of that inspires me as far as the (pilot) goes.”

Kirson also produced a documentary, which will debut at the South By Southwest film festival this week. “Hysterical,” which has garnered serious buzz, is an honest, amusing and revealing look at female comics. There are interviews with provocateurs such as Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho and Lisa Lampanelli.

The film, which premieres April 2 on FX and will be available for streaming via FX on Hulu the next day, is directed by Andrea Nevins (“The Other F Word”) and gets deep and dark. It explores how misogynistic the business has been and still remains. Sexual harassment is discussed and how difficult it’s been for women to crack the comedic glass ceiling.

The documentary also includes a chat with Kelly Bachman, the comic who went viral for heckling Harvey Weinstein while he was in the audience for one of her shows. “There are so many funny women out there,” Kirson said. “Female comics are so powerful. The movie explores why female comics became comics.

“Some guys believe women can’t be funny, and that’s so wrong. Female comics are amazing. We’ll see how the documentary does. It’s getting as much hype at South By Southwest as the Demi Lovato documentary (“Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil.”)”

Kirson is working on her next film. “I have another project I’m working on right now,” Kirson said. “I interviewed a female comic from Dubai today. She’s the only female comic from there. It’ll be another project that I’m producing, and I can’t tell you how much I love producing.”

However, Kirson, who is actor-director Zach Braff’s stepsister, will admit that producing takes a backseat to delivering standup. “There’s nothing like it,” Kirson said. “It’s my passion. I haven’t done standup in a club in a while, and so I’ll be more than ready to jump back into it when I get to Washington. I’ve been to Spokane before at the (Spokane Comedy) club. The audiences there are respectful, and the club is good with all of the protocols for COVID.

“I’m excited to board a plane for the first time in a while. It’s good to be taking one step closer to normalcy. It’s also nice to perform inside four walls like I’ve always done instead of doing my act on the sidewalks of this city. Who would ever guess that it would come to that? But a comic has to do whatever they have to do to continue. That’s always the way it’s been even before the pandemic.”

Kirson appears Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club, 315 W. Sprague Ave. Jay Hollingsworth will open. Tickets are $12 and $28. Show times are 7 and 9:30 p.m. For more information, call (509) 318-9998 and go to

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