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Patty Rosborough

By Gary Wien

This article was originally designed to be read in the September 2014 issue of
New Jersey Stage magazine. To read it in its original format, click here

Female comedians have often felt on the outside looking in. Comedy is still very much an old boy's network - especially for those hoping to make the leap from comedy clubs to television or films. For Patty Rosborough, a comedian from New York City, she's not only finding doors shut on her because she's a female comic, but because of her age. After years of struggling with growing older, she's finally comfortable with herself and even laughs at things that would have made her cringe a few years ago.

Rosborough, who is coming to Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club in Point Pleasant in October, started out as a prop comic who built her show out of physical comedy and characters. In the nineties, her career appeared to be heading for the top. You may remember her as the co-host of Comedy Central's "Short Attention Span Theater" with a guy from Jersey named Jon Stewart. But after she had her first child she left the business. She returned to comedy after getting divorced, but this time she abandoned the props and began focusing her material on her own life and personal stories.

One of her bits these days involves the ugly side of motherhood. You know, the side where moms are worn out after a morning of dealing with the kids and simply glad to see that old school bus pull away, so they can reach for a bottle of wine.

"Nobody lets you in on it," said Rosborough. "When you're pregnant, all of your friends are like this is going to be so great. Nobody tells you the horror of when your kids turn around and hate your guts! It really needs to be told."

Her show is designed for women, but she has many male fans as well. "I'm always thrilled when-ever guys like my act," she says. "I know the women are going to go with me, but when the men like me, it means I've crossed over."

"Some people in the audience are very funny," she continues. "And I do talk to the audience quite a bit. If they're being funny, I'm all for it. I don't care where I get the laughs. I don't want it to be an ongoing conversation, but if I'm talking to them and they're talking to me that's fine. If I'm doing my act and they think that they need to interject constantly, I really hate that. I mean real hecklers. It's mostly people who think they should be up on stage, but they don't have the cojones to do it so they figure they'll just work their way into my act. It's like, no you won't! Sorry, but I'm not sharing the stage with you."

Like many female comics, Rosborough noticed that it's harder for women to get to the highest level. While the number one requirement for men is to be funny, Rosborough believes women are held to a higher standard - they need to be funny and be attractive… really attractive. This theory was evident when she won a Ladies of Laughter contest which came with a guaranteed spot on Comedy Central's Premium Blend show. Several weeks after her win, she called her agent to see when the taping would be. Her agent told her that Comedy Central called and said she wasn't right for the show.

"How am I not right for it, I said, I won the contest. He said they said you're not right for it, you're too old. I asked my agent what he thought and he said I was too old too. Nevertheless, I broke off with that agent," she said.

While it bothered others, turning 40 never really bothered her. In fact, she tackled it head-on as part of a group of comics in a show called "Four Sides of 40" for a few years. Yet, club owners kept telling her to lie about her age.

"They said don't mention your age. Never mention your age if you want to get on television. Honestly, I've never gotten on television, so maybe that did have something to do with it," she laughs.

It was turning 50 that hurt her. She began noticing changes to her looks, her kids were grown up and leaving the house, and she hit menopause. She began taking a good look at her career and wondered how much harder it would be for her now. And then strange things began happening. Guys stopped holding the door for her, innocent flirtations at the deli ceased, and a conversation with one comic was simply surreal.

"I had one comic say to me, ‘Patty, remember when you used to be really hot?' I'm like what?? He goes ‘Remember?' So, I go uh… yeah. He says, ‘God, I used to have the worst crush on you back then.'

"Every word coming out of his mouth was in past tense," she recalled. "I think it was the first time I realized I don't look the way I did before. And losing your looks is a big thing for people who consider themselves to be in show business. I was really upset and told the comic that I had to stop him because he was insulting me. He says, ‘How am I insulting you, I'm telling you how hot you used to be. You're fine now, but back then… wow!.' He just didn't get it. I went back home and told my fiancé I was upset. I thought for sure he was going to tell me that the comic was wrong, blah, blah, blah and he loves me. Instead he says, ‘Well, you know you're competing with your younger self and you can't compete with your younger self.'

"He said ‘You're like the Yankees today and everyone's comparing you to the 1998 Yankees. You're still a good team. You'll still make the playoffs each year, you just haven't brought home a ring in a while!' I just sat there at the kitchen table and started crying, and then I thought I've got to put this in a book."

She hopes to finish her book in the next year or two. It's a look at her life after turning 50 with the benefit of a few years of perspective. She's found her groove again through comedy, something she really missed for a few years. Age doesn't bother her anymore. It happens. We all have to deal with it and she's chosen to find the humor in it. After all, it's not ageism if you're making fun of yourself, is it?

See Patty Rosborough live at Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club in Point Pleasant Oct 17 - 18

For more by this author, click here

John Mulaney & Pete Davidson To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Comedian John Mulaney and Pete Davidson will perfom at Count Basie Center for The Arts on Sunday, February 17 at 10:00pm. Tickets are $49.
Russell Peters To Perform Two Shows at NJPAC
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedian Russell Peters will leave no cultural stereotype unturned when he brings his brand-new Deported World Tour to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall on Saturday, February 16.  Due to popular demand, there will be two performances: one at 7:00pm and another at 9:30pm.  Tickets range from $49 to $99.
Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix To Perform at MPAC
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Sit! Stay! Get ready to howl! Johnny Peers and his personality-plus canines are coming to Mayo Performing Arts Center on Sunday, February 3 at 1:30pm and 4:30pm. Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix is a slapstick comedy act like no other. Johnny leads over a dozen dogs through challenging and hilarious tricks as Johnny plays the straight man role in this wonderful show. This event is for the dog lover in all of us stars mostly animals rescued from shelters or pounds.Tickets are $12-$15.
Ladies Night Out Comedy Tour To Come To NJPAC on March 9th
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Calling all ladies! Ladies Night Out Comedy Tour makes a stop at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 8:00pm. NeNe Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta) hosts this outrageous stand-up comedy event featuring Adele Givens (the big-screen Beauty Shop), Sherri Shepherd (former longtime host on The View), Loni Love (co-host of Fox’s Emmy-winning The Real), and Janelle James (of HBO’s current Crashing).
State Theatre New Jersey presents Ron White
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents comedian Ron White on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 8:00pm. Also known as Ron “Tater Salad” White first rose to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” phenomenon, and has long since established himself as a star in his own right. Tickets range from $45-$85.

A Look At 2 Guys From Jersey
In issue 50, New Jersey Stage gave readers the opportunity to learn more about the writers who contribute to the magazine and the daily site. We’d like to give you the opportunity to learn more about the two shows that are featured in our magazine each month.  One is a podcast called 2 Guys From Jersey that runs a new episode every Wednesday. It involves Dr. D, Rocky, and Erin (a recent addition to the team) trying to settle trivial bar arguments that have plagued mankind for centuries.
"Legal Immigrant" Alan Cumming Brings His Cabaret To State Theatre New Jersey
It was the fall of 2008. Barack Obama had just been elected president. And Scottish-born actor Alan Cumming was sworn in as a citizen of the United States.
“Hysterical!” Gallagher LIVE! at The Strand Lakewood
Gallagher is joking with patrons in the lobby of Lakewood, NJ’s historic Strand Theater this Thursday, May 24, 2018 evening. In his audacious style, he’s grabbing cameras out of the hands of patrons who want to take great selfies with him, while also taking the time to sign T-shirts for stand-up comedy fans waiting for him at the merch table.
So You Want To Be A Comedian?
“I feel I have the kind of life where people think I’m making things up all of the time, but weirdness is kind of attracted to me,” said Jess Alaimo, a comedian from Monmouth County.  “So, I just go with whatever happens to me.”
The United States of Russia
Rutgers alum, Ben Rosenfeld released his third comedy album in January.  Entitled, The United States of Russia, the album was released by Comedy Dynamics and continues the Russia born, American raised comedian’s style of mixing tales of his immigrant parents and outsider childhood with topics ranging from millennials, terrorism, politics, and adjusting to life as a newlywed.  We caught up with Ben to talk about the album.

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events

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