After comedian Taylor Tomlinson performs on the Humor Me stage at KAABOO Del Mar Sunday, Sept. 15, the Temecula Valley High School graduate isn’t likely to jump off the stage and rock out with the rest of the crowd for the rest of the day.
“I tend not to be, like, a festival person,” Tomlinson said in a phone interview. “Like, I wouldn’t like go to one myself because I’m not like, uh, I’m not super fun. I think people who go to festivals tend to be really like fun, and I like going and like doing a set there and everything. But yeah, I don’t have a lot of experience, just like I couldn’t tell you like what the vibe is or what it’s like or anything.
“All I can tell you is, like, I did shows and they were great,” Tomlison said.
In her young career, she’s done a lot of festivals and succeeded at each and every one of them, which is why her career is enjoying a huge upswing.
Tomlinson graduated from Temecula Valley High School in 2011, and her comedy career started a couple of years before that when her father suggested they go to a standup comedy workshop before she left for college.
“My dad wanted to take this class from this a Christian comedian in Corona,” Tomlinson said. “So we did that and then I would start opening for that guy or he would send me to churches that he couldn’t do or what have you. The first year and a half, I was performing at churches and schools and fundraisers and coffee shops, like anywhere that you didn’t need a fake I.D. for. Once I turned 18, I started doing shows in San Diego.”
She did in fact go to college, but it wasn’t long until she needed to find more time to get onstage and work on her comedy craft.
“I feel very fortunate because San Diego is a small scene with a lot of clubs,” Tomlinson said. “So I was able to get up a fair amount once I was like really going for it. And then also being in Temecula, you’re two hours from L.A., an hour from San Diego. So, if you’re willing to drive, there’s really no shortage of stage time. And if you’re not, well then, well I don’t know what to tell you since there’s like two places you can get up in Temecula.”
Oddly enough, Tomlinson has never performed at Pechanga Casino Resort’s comedy club but she did get time at the old Ace’s Comedy Club in Murrieta.
“Rocky put me up a lot when I was, I think even before I turned 18 in the Murrieta place,” Tomlinson said. “Which I appreciate.”
In what is a rarity in the standup comedy world, Tomlinson’s career has taken off in just five short years.
She was a top 10 finalist on Season 9 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2015 and was named one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch at the prestigious Just for Laughs Festival by Variety Magazine that same year.
She has performed on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Conan,” MTV’s “Safe Word,” Comedy Central’s “Adam Devine’s House Party,” Netflix’s “The Comedy Lineup” and “What Just Happened??!” with Fred Savage.
She said she is currently working on an upcoming standup special she will film for Netflix in November.
“It’ll either be a really great thing or I could really blow it,” Tomlinson said. “So, right now I’m just trying not to blow it. I’m just trying to like, be worthy of the opportunity. It’s huge, obviously. It’s something you dream about from like the time you started. As with anything you get that you wanted for a long time, there’s a lot of pressure that comes back and until you’re done with it and you’re happy with the finished product, you’re kinda like, ‘OK, hope this works out,’ well, if I rise to the occasion.”
While working on the special, she’s headlining in comedy clubs nationwide. She said she is also aware that as her career continues to grow, other opportunities like television sitcoms or movie roles could come about.
“I just want to do standup over everything else,” Tomlinson said. “Everything else is just kind of like gravy on top, you know? Yeah, I have those things that I’m working on. But the ultimate goal of all of those projects is this will help people find my standup and come see me. I think that is how most comics feel. Of course, I want to make a show and this means a lot to me, and I’m proud of this project. But the best thing is that people watch it and then they come and see my standup.”
Diversifying her content is important, Tomlinson said, that’s part of why she puts out the podcast, “Self-Helpless,” with friends Delanie Fischer and Kelsey Cook.
“I do it with two of my friends and we just basically would read self-help books and stuff and decide whether or not we think it’s garbage,” she said. “I mean the dream career is like Brian Reagan or like Kathleen Madigan where you build up this huge following based on your stand up and are able to tour theaters and go where you want to go and live where you want to live. But with how much content there is and how many options people have you kind of need to have more than just stand up going on.”
Tomlinson performs with Jen Kirkman at 2:05 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, on the Humor Me stage. For ticket information, visit www.kaaboodelmar.com.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at email@example.com.