Before Maggie Maye and I could talk about all of the amazing gigs she’s been booking lately—Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, National Association for Campus Activities Conference in Spokane—I had to ask about her furry best friend, Olive. (I highly recommend visiting Maggie’s Instagram and feasting your eyes on this adorable dog’s French braid.)
“She’s so sweet,” Maggie gushes about her eleven-year-old poodle mix and her impressive patience for complicated hairstyles, “She really let’s me get away with a lot.”
A poodle seems like the perfect canine compliment to Maggie—a natural entertainer, fashion-forward, and wicked smart. Maye writes the kind of material that sometimes take a second to simmer before the full effect of its brilliance hits you. Her witty, slow burn style makes you think before you laugh. You might have to work for it, but like all good things, the reward is worth it.
When we discussed comedic style, I was surprised to hear Maggie acknowledge her brand of comedy can be an acquired taste. She related a story to me about a show she had near her hometown in Texas. After the performance, an audience member approached her and said, “During your comedy set, you made me think a lot, and I wasn’t used to that. But I really liked it.”
Like all hilarious stories, this tale is better told with Maye’s impeccable comedic timing. Ultimately, she recognizes this comment as a compliment to her skills. Maybe everyone doesn’t come to a comedy show to think about deep stuff, but from what I’ve witnessed, Maggie has the kind of charisma that translates to any crowd.
From Late Night with Conan O’Brien to Outside Lands Festival
The crowd at the aforementioned Outside Lands Festival, which featured such incredible performers as Lizzo and The Strokes, was particularly amazing for Maye who, like most of us, has dearly missed live entertainment. She also appreciated the strict Covid protocols adhered to during the entirely outdoor festival. Everyone had to show proof of vaccination or negative Covid test. As an extra precaution, Maye remained masked when not performing. We both agree it’s refreshing to see events that take health concerns seriously.
Of course Outside Lands isn’t the first time Maggie has performed in a high-stakes situation. A few years ago, she made her late-night debut on the Conan O’Brien Show. With the Conan Show recently recording its final episode, I asked Maggie to reminisce about the experience.
“It was tight,” Maggie says. “I could hear them behind me—Conan and Andy—laugh, and that was so very encouraging. It was an amazing feeling, getting the response I wanted from the crowd and then I could also hear them laughing behind me. It was wonderful.”
A friend of Maggie’s in the audience witnessed the impact her jokes had not only on the audience but the host. Take a moment to watch the clip yourself on YouTube—I can virtually guarantee a full belly laugh or two.
Branching Out into Different Mediums
Maggie Maye plans to expand her craft into multiple different mediums. She would love to write and star in a sketch show, which makes sense given her theater background. But she’s open to a multitude of writing positions.
“A lot of my favorite shows are sketch shows. I also like sitcoms and dramedies. I like things that get into your mind and make you think,” Maggie explained.
Maye appreciates shows like Key and Peele where there’s a high payoff of entertainment with a low time commitment. She could see herself writing for multiple platforms, as long as the show fit with her brand of comedy that makes you use your brain. Art that actually says something.
The Evolution of Maggie’s Storytelling Style
In the twelve years that Maggie has been performing standup comedy, she’s not only honed her voice but decided that her jokes need to say something. Her decision to peel the layers back on a comedic concept make for punchlines that resonate long after she steps off stage.
“When you start out your whole goal is just to come up with funny stuff to say on stage,” Maggie explained “And the more you grow you’re like, okay, yes I need funny things to say but why am I saying this? Saying funny stuff just to say funny stuff doesn’t hold as much importance.”
I can totally relate to Maggie’s comedic evolution. As I’ve matured, topics like climate change have become more important to me. Maggie has always been a huge advocate for the environment. When she was a kid, she participated in an extracurricular group called Trashbusters.
The story Maggie proceeded to tell about Trashbusters needs to make it into her memoir. I feel pretty confident she’ll write one someday, because she should.
“I was in an environmental group we would go to beach cleanups and we would raise awareness,” Maggie said, “And my mom was like, ‘Trashbusters? If you’re gonna be a trustbuster, go bust some trash in your bedroom!’”
Comedic gold like that flows freely from Maye, whose jokes play to the whole room. She graciously broke some of her style down for me.
“You can either have a joke that has an instant connection, or have a joke that brings people in. For example, if you’re telling jokes for 80’s babies, you’ll throw in a bunch of things that 80’s babies are going to understand. But if you weren’t born in the 80’s, the way that joke is accessible to you if is you’re brought into the joke. If it’s explained in an entertaining manner so that even though you don’t know what they’re talking about, you can enjoy it because you’ve been given a funny primer for it.”
Maggie’s in-depth understanding of how to entertain on a universal level makes it clear she would be a welcome voice in any writing room. More than that, I would love to watch a series with Maggie starring in it, especially with wardrobe really listened to her. Maggie’s fun-loving fashion is part of why people will tune in to watch her.
“My presentation is, I think I look good like this. And then go out into the world. Then later see a picture of myself like, oh, I was really wearing two hoodies,” Maggie said, laughing at herself.
Personally, I’ve always admired Maggie’s bold style. From her makeup to her jewelry, she emanates a comfort with herself that’s very rare. She makes daring choices, the kind of vibes I aspire to incorporate into my look.
“I would never show up to a comedy show looking the same as everyone else,” Maggie said.
And I would expect nothing less. When I see Maggie in that silver bubble hem dress from her Conan appearance, I see a woman who wears clothes because she likes them. Not because she gives a damn what anyone else likes. I need more of that in my life.
Mark my words: Maggie Maye will be a name you’ll be hearing more of next year and the year after that. When we talked about manifesting a great career she exuded such a lovely energy.
“I feel like it’s a mystical statement but there’s a lot of truth in it,” Maggie said. “Like it might not fall into your lap, but it might start a chain of events.”
If I had to guess, that chain of events has already started for Maggie. She’s just so versatile, I know her talent will continue to find great outlets. She’s also currently reading Young Adult novels and researching one of her own. Maye expressed interest in writing something contemporary with a speculative twist. I hope she’ll let me read an early draft because I know it’s going to be hilarious.
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