Funny in a Family Way

Friday, August 1, 2008

Erin Jackson wants the world to know that Washington comedians can be funny without leaning on politics for the punch line.

"It is just the opposite," says Jackson, 30. "No matter where you go, you are alienating half the room."

Okay, so what else is there to talk about? How about the tooth fairy?

"My 7-year-old godson, he told me that he got $10 when he lost his last tooth. I thought that was outrageous. I was like, 'How in the hell did you get $10 from the tooth fairy when your "tooth fairy" owes me $25?' " she says in her stand-up set.

If you caught Jackson on this season's "Last Comic Standing," you noticed that family is at the core of what she talks about. It's an easy topic: She grew up with 13 aunts and uncles, a bazillion cousins and plenty of stories.

Washington also has left an impression on Jackson, who moved here from New Jersey to attend Howard University. While talking to a friend about her life goals, she half-heartedly said she wanted to be a comedian, something she had not seriously considered as an option.

"I have never been outwardly silly," Jackson says.

He helped her find open mikes and even a class at the DC Improv. Five years later, she has performed across the country and appeared on Comedy Central.

One thing she likes about the audiences in the city?

"The crowds here are smart, and they get it," Jackson says.

We get it, whether it is politics or the tooth fairy.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company