Atlanta comedian Lace Larrabee discusses journey from pageants to 'America's Got Talent'

Atlanta comedian Lace Larrabee hosts the podcast "CHEATIES!,' teaches comedy classes at the Punchline Comedy Club and has upcoming performances in town (Photo courtesy Lace Larrabee)

The Atlanta comedian Lace Larrabee brings to the stage Southern charm, wry wit and a willingness to poke fun at family, standards of femininity and the Miss America pageant. She also hosts a podcast and teaches comedy classes at the Punchline Comedy Club. With upcoming performances in town, Lace Larrabee took the time to join “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about South Georgia, and the weird world of pageantry.

Interview highlights:

How Lace Larrabee earned unanimous approval on “America’s Got Talent”:

“That was such a wild ride,” said Larrabee. “The show is not really about comedy or about comics, but I have seen comedians go up there and attempt to compete with more traditional talents like singing and dancing, and it’s helped their careers. And I thought, ‘You know what? I did pageants … for years, and I used to put my comedy monologues up against way more talented people.’ And so I was like, ‘You know what? I think I can handle this.'”

Larrabee continued, “I was very prepared. I chose material for my first round that I could do in my sleep. So I was very ready to get up there, and then a magical moment happened where Sofia Vergara interrupted me during my audition set and it so happened that I have a line that goes with that sort of a question that I do in my set usually, but I wasn’t doing it in that particular set … It just came out so quick and I think that’s just 10-plus years of doing thousands of live shows all over the country, that I was just ready … I think that’s what charmed them, because it seemed like it was, you know, off the cuff, and that’s what good comedy should seem like.”

On Larrabee’s years of pageant performance growing up:

“I had to perform. I was a ham as a kid. I knew I wanted to be a performer, and during that time that we were in Glenville, I didn’t have access to, like, a theater program or community theater, and pageants were the thing.” said Larrabee. “It was a high. It’s much like comedy, right? It’s, you get up there, it’s instant gratification. You know, you perform and then you are rewarded with rhinestones and flowers and you gotta do it again.”

She went on, “Most importantly, I won scholarship money, and I paid for most of my college from doing it. So yeah, it worked out in the end. But yeah, my specifically unique perspective on it is, it all ultimately is silly. You know, we’re up there wearing swimsuits and acting like, ‘No, no, no. It’s for the scholarship money,’ and there’s no need to wear a bikini and five-inch heels to get scholarship money, you know? But we defended it at the time, and looking back it’s all very silly. But like I said, it prepared me to be tougher-skinned out here.”

The “CHEATIES!” podcast, with Larrabee and fellow ATL comedian Katherine Blanford:

“We came up with this idea because my ex had cheated on me and I caught him, and I used to do this joke which I actually used as the closer for my album that just came out, and it was about how I caught him and how I collected the receipts. As the kids say, ‘You gotta scroll, screenshot, send yourself the screenshots.’ Well, [Blanford] was in the midst of catching her ex, who also cheated on her. She said halfway through catching him, she’s devastated. She’s angry. But then halfway through she thought, ‘Oh my God. I’m doing Lace’s bit right now.'”

“As she was going through that right after the whole relationship fell apart, she called. We were talking about it, and I said, ‘Well, if the two of us, with our accolades and our drive and all of that — and we are both, I think, really cool girls — after all that, if we get cheated on, everybody gets cheated on.’ And I was like, ‘Let’s help other people talk this out,’ and we said, ‘Let’s start a podcast.’ And ‘CHEATIES!’ just came to me because … I pictured a box of Wheaties or a box of cereal where people are usually holding a spoon, like a cereal advertisement. And I thought, ‘What if we held knives?'”

Upcoming performances by Atlanta comedian Lace Larrabee, and more information about her Laugh Lab classes at the Punchline, can be found at