Going Hollywood: Meet Jenny Zigrino

People were going Hollywood long before Bing Crosby starred in the 1933 film musical Going Hollywood. Certainly, though, countless unknowns have packed their bags and moved to Los Angeles in the years and decades since then, hoping for show business to discover them and make them a star! New York City may be the city everyone goes to make it there before making it everywhere, but Hollywood remains the place where stars are born and made. It’s Show Business, USA. This is a recurring feature, a complementary West Coast version of Meet Me In New York, The Comic’s Comic’s mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of the Southland surrounding Los Angeles. It’s called Going Hollywood.

Even though Boston is closer to New York City, just as many comedians I know from The Hub move west to Los Angeles to seek stand-up success and more rather than moving first to the Big Apple. Everyone has their own path, their own choices to make.

Jenny Zigrino first hit my radar a few years ago via the Marlon Wayans comedy contest on TBS, Funniest Wins. Zigrino didn’t win the contest, but much like her colleagues who didn’t “win” Last Comic Standing, she may just be winning the long game. Wayans cast her in his parody movie, 50 Shades of Black. She also won a supporting role in the big-screen sequel, Bad Santa 2. She made her late-night TV debut in 2015 on Conan, then followed that up in 2016 with a spot on Adam Devine’s House Party showcase on Comedy Central, Montreal’s New Faces, and an IFC Comedy Crib webseries “The Filling is Mutual,” Zigrino just released her first stand-up comedy album, “JZ’s New Album,” and will film her first half-hour special for Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents

So let’s get to know her and her journey up until now!

Name: Jenny Zigrino
Arrival date: Aug. 1, 2014
Arrived from: New York City

When and where did you start performing comedy?
I usually say I started in Minneapolis (where I’m from) when I was 16, but am truly a Boston comic because that’s where I honed my craft and because a GOD DAMN PRO.

What was your best credit before moving here?
I had been featured on a TBS program called Funniest Wins. It was a Marlon Wayans reality TV show and it’s the reason I moved from NYC to LA so soon. I wish I would have had more time to marinate in NYC, really let those juices in. But c’est la vie.

Why did you pick LA over NYC or anywhere else?
I went to LA because as the show was debuting, I felt I needed to be around LA.

How long did it take to get your first paid gig in LA after moving here?
Wait, gigs pay in LA?

How is this scene better/same/worse than the scene you started in?
Worse at first, and then it gets better, and then you leave. I do most of my new material on the road because I don’t trust LA audiences to laugh at the same stuff the rest of the nation does. They are definitely smarter out here, but more judgmental.

If you lived and performed in NYC, how would you compare working as a comedian in Hollywood to that previous experience?
You are using a different part of your brain out here. Living here means you are probably more into acting, writing, pitching, and all the “showbiz” stuff that takes a whole new set of skills you don’t necessarily learn from stand-up. I can sell myself to an audience, but to a group of 4 executives at lunch time is a harder pitch. The stand-up gigs are still the best part of living out here, but the scene isn’t as tight-knit because everyone ends up doing their own things. There isn’t as much “hang” as there was in NYC and I miss that.

Was there a moment when you felt your life and career really had “gone Hollywood,” and how do you explain it to friends or family back home?
I think being in my first movie was definitely the moment of “Wow. I’m living in Hollywood and I’m in a movie. This is fucking bonkers.” I still occasionally get chills when I see the HOLLYWOOD sign because it’s so romantic. However, then I get stuck in traffic and just sit in my own farts and loathe the city. Then I don’t feel like a movie star.

What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here?
Have shit ready. Have scripts, pitches, ideas. Don’t come here with your dick in your hands and a joke. Take acting classes, improv, and pitch workshops. Be prepared for anything and everything.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In the arms of Brad Pitt.

Jenny Zigrino performs regularly around Los Angeles when she’s not on the road. Her first album, “JZ’s New Album,” is available now.

Is there a comedian in Los Angeles that you’d like to see me style and profile for another installment of Going Hollywood? Send your nominations to: thecomicscomic AT gmail DOT com

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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