Late-blooming comic likes blue-collar crowd

By John Benson

Christine Stedman may have been a latecomer in the world of stand-up comedy but the 56-year-old is making up for it.

“I’ve been doing it for 16 years,” said Stedman, a resident of the St. Louis area.

“I started at 40 and so did Phyllis Diller, so I could be still doing this at 85. I knew I wanted to be a comedian from the time I was about 12 and the only place I could start was in the classroom. I did it in school. I tried to make everybody laugh, didn’t do so well in school but I got big laughs. That’s what was important to me. I knew then I wanted to do it but then you get married, have kids, they have kids and life kind of gets in the way of your dream.”

Stedman said when she turned 40 she decided to finally pursue her dream. With the support of her family, she started hitting the open mic nights around her hometown.

Within five years she was playing Las Vegas and touring the country.

Today, she’s on the road two to three weeks a month and is having the time of her life.

Whereas other comedians aspire for their own sitcom or movie career, this baby boomer is quite content doing something she loves. She’s been called a modern-day Roseanne Barr, which is why Stedman feels she fits in nicely with the Northeast Ohio crowd. The comedian returns to the area for shows Friday and Saturday at The Funny Farm in West Middlesex, Pa.

“It’s a good area for me,” Stedman said. “I think those people suit me because they’re regular people, they’re not snooty. They’re regular hard-working people, and that’s the kind of audiences I can relate to the best. I’d call it blue-collar. I’m not what you’d call an intellectual comedian. I talk about everyday regular things like about being married and stuff that everybody can relate to. This is especially true in towns like Youngstown and places like that.”

Finally, Stedman stressed her act is equal opportunity bashing, targeting men and women with plenty of laughs in between.

“I make a joke that I work part-time when I’m not doing comedy as a Hooters girl because somebody has to cook those chicken wings,” Stedman said. “Then I’ll ask a guy to imagine me in a hairnet and hot pants. I talk about body issues. I say I was going to get a boob job. I’m going to get some of the length taken off.”

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