In 2021, L.A.-based comedian Jenny Zigrino was thinking about giving up on comedy. The pandemic took its toll on comedians and she was growing tired of dealing with gate-keepers. Lucky for us, she took matters into her own hands, manifested her dreams, and created her hilarious new special, Jen-Z, which is set to be released via Blonde Medicine as an audio album on April 14.
Zigrino was inspired by her fellow comedy pals who were creating their own opportunities and she found support in a grassroots network to raise the funds to produce her new hour, which was filmed at Littlefield during the New York Comedy Festival.
“I’m not going to sit around and wait for people to find me and beg me to do a special. I’m just going to do it myself,” Zigrino explained by phone late-last month. “Obviously, you don’t do it yourself. You do it with the help of a lot of people. In August of 2021, I contacted my friend who owns a production company in New York. I was like, ‘Let’s make a special.’ By November of 2021, it was funded.”
Jen-Z is full of very funny takes on Baby Boomers, Gen Z and everyone in between. Zigrino, herself a Millennial, thinks Gen Z may be a little different than previous generations and that’s a good thing.
“I think they are gonna be a little weirder because we had two years inside. They’re just going to be a little weird and that’s okay,” she said with a laugh. “I feel like Gen Z are going to be the ones that are really going to change things. The millennials were like the tester group. ‘Let’s test it out, see how it goes,’ and then it gets refined by Gen Z. My hope is that they can stand up to what’s happening.”
Along with hilarious observations on generational divides – on tracks including ‘Jealous of Gen Z,’ ‘Coming of Age,’ and ‘The Gen Z Rainbow’ – Zigrino turns her sharp wit at a group we can all agree gets away with way too much… hot people. In fact, Zigrino blames “hot privilege” for keeping character actor Steve Buscemi from being known as the attractive person that he is.
“First of all, Steve Buscemi is not ugly. He can totally get it. He’s diverse in his acting. He’s talented. Who else went back, no one,” she said citing the fact that Buscemi – previously a New York City firefighter – rushed to the scene on Sept. 11. “He’s a great actor and he sounds like a really stand-up dude. He has a very normal life. He’s in it because he loves the art.”
Zigrino also finds inspiration in the way Buscemi lives, playing weird characters yet living a normal life, although maybe Zigrino likes a little weird in her life as well as in her art.
“What I truly would love is to live in a manor house and dress appropriate for the age of the house. So, if it was build in 1875, I would be dressed appropriately,” she said, chuckling.
Surrounding some recent stand-up shows at The Lincoln Lodge in Chicago, Zigrino had the opportunity to spend some quality time with her dad and her anime/horse girl little sister – both of whom are topics of conversation during Jen-Z – on an excursion to the Field Museum.
“My sister really loves when I talk about her on stage. She’s very funny and I think I was a little hard on her that weekend – Maybe a little too mean for a 15-year-old. Sometimes I forget that I can’t call my 15-year-old sister a bitch because she doesn’t want to go have sushi or whatever,” said Zigrino, laughing. “My dad isn’t allowed to see the special. He’s very conservative, Catholic, so it’s like you’re not going to like anything. I don’t want you to hear me talking about trying to have sex with a historical reenactment Nazi.”
While checking out the museum’s Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery exhibition, Zigrino observed her dad and her sister, taking notice on the ways the family patriarch has influenced their lives and her comedy.
“It was fun to be around both of them. I can see in her where I get certain things from, which is from my dad,” said Zigrino adding that her gravitation towards “intellectual, love a debate conversation, and trying to dig deeper” are all similarities she shares with her father.
“We went to the death exhibit at the Field Museum and there was this thing at the end, where it was like, ‘After I die I want to XYZ.’ You would put something in. So mine was, ‘Haunt my family.’ My little sister’s was, ‘See the people who supported me’ – very cute – and my dad’s was, ‘See God face to face.’ He’s like, ‘I need answers,’” she said. “He’s always had this need for answers and truth and I feel like that is an aspect of my stand-up that I got from him. What is the truth here? What is the answer? I’m gonna point out some weird stuff to you guys.”
While fans wait for the audio release of Jen-Z, Zigrino encourages them to check out her podcast, Gaudy Positive, which she hosts with her friend and stylist Kat Eves.
“It’s a good listen for weirdos and feminists and people living their best, fun, gaudy lives,” said Zigrino elaborating on how she and Kat talk about everything from comedy to sustainable fashion to weird sex toys to financial stability. They also feature interviews with “interesting weird people who we think are living very authentic lives,” like Evan Ferrante, one of the number one Tom Cruise impersonators in the country.
Zigrino can’t wait for more people to find Jen-Z when it comes out as an audio album on April 14.
“I’m excited for the album part to come out because something like Sirius is gonna have a really big audience. It will be great having it forced upon people in their car versus begging them to go to YouTube and watch it,” she said laughing. “It’s gonna get it to a wider audience which is great and people love podcasts. People are always moving so it’s great to have something that they can just listen to. I love listening to a comedy album, in the car, or when you’re just doing stuff around the house. It’s great.”