100 Creatives

Phoenix Comedian Genevieve Rice on the Joys and Perils of Social Media

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 6. Genevieve Rice.

In her own words, Genevieve Rice's style is "elegantly silly."

Which given the Phoenix stand-up comedian and writer's stage persona — and the fact that she cohosts a podcast with Anthony Desamito dedicated to everyone's favorite Miami quartet of AARP subscribers is pretty fitting. 

"We, along with a guest, recap episodes of The Golden Girls and share crazy theories about the show," she says of the podcast, called Thank You for Being A Podcast. "We’re both fans and genuinely enjoy the show, but we can also go real hard at poking fun at it."

Though her endeavors revolve around jokes, Rice's career isn't all silliness. She founded the Bird City Comedy Festival, which launched in 2016 as Phoenix's first stand-up festival. She helps produce the Big Pine Comedy Festival in Flagstaff. "Oh, and occasionally I run a comedy show in my house called The Living Room," she says. "I cook a whole bunch of food and bring in comedians all over the country."

It's thanks to a dedication to writing, performing, and pushing herself to take on new challenges. All that — and becoming more active on social media, where Rice writes and posts jokes almost daily. It's helped grow her audience and keep her visible when she's not on the open mic circuit. Plus, she adds, "it gives me the opportunity to get hit on/threats on my life from strangers!"

Despite its occasional drawbacks, social media was what got one of Rice's tweets featured on a Times Square billboard for Comedy Central quiz show @midnight. But other high points have included being interviewed by Bobcat Goldthwait and Dana Gould on The Dana Gould Hour, an experience she calls "surreal to the point that I still can’t believe it happened."

Even so, Bird City is what she's most proud of — not to mention pulling it off to universal acclaim. Rice is already hard at work on planning the festival's second year, slated for spring 2017. She's also expecting her first child next March. And that's consuming most of her time at the moment. But she's taking the comedian's route to preparedness by launching a new podcast called Baby Baby Baby, "where I talk to experienced parents about pregnancy and parenting, among other topics," she says, assuring that there will be plenty to entertain "non-breeders," too.

No joking about it: She's built a serious career of out silliness. "But I still have dreams of throwing it all away and becoming a dancer," she adds.

I came to Phoenix with a Ford Taurus packed to the gills with all my possessions and a heap of uninitiated enthusiasm for moving to a desert in the middle of May.

I make art because I honestly don’t know what I would do without comedy in my life. Most likely, it would be something terrible like crime or marketing. Seriously, nothing has been more of a positive influence on my life than comedy. I’ve grown so much more confident and content, and it’s all due to silly jokes about raccoons and Pretty Woman.

I'm most productive when I have to be. I’ve found I’ve been most prolific when I allot enough time specifically to work on jokes and other projects and for relaxing and recharging. Ideas come to me so much more when I feel rested and prepared.

My inspiration wall is full of oddities. I’m pregnant, and there’s an old wives’ tale that if you want a beautiful child, you should only look at beautiful things. The things I seek out are a mélange of abandoned buildings, true crime, raccoons, and other things I found intriguing. My sincerest apologies to my future kid.

I've learned most from just continuing to do it. The only way to grow as a comedian is to write and perform as much as possible. Also, say yes to gigs that might be viewed as an odd fit. Sometimes they end horribly, but a lot of times, you’ll learn something you wouldn’t normally from performing in front of audiences who aren’t already tuned in to what you are doing.

Good work should always be lauded but with the knowledge you can’t stop there. With anything, but particularly comedy, there’s a danger in resting too much on your laurels instead of thinking meaningfully about what’s next.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more people who are going out of their comfort zones to discover and experience art in the Valley. We don’t live in New York or LA where everyone knows there’s a thriving arts and entertaining scene, and I think a lot of people here don’t even know to seek it out. I meet people all the time who have never been to a comedy show, mostly because they didn’t even know where to look for that sort of thing. We have a city full of very talented comedians, storytellers, improvisers, dancers, singers, musicians, artists, and much more. It’s my opinion that they are missing out.

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina
59. Myrlin Hepworth
58. Amy Ettinger
57. Sheila Grinell
56. Forrest Solis
55. Mary Meyer
54. Robert Hoekman Jr.
53. Joan Waters
52. Gabriela Muñoz
51. ColorOrgy
50. Liz Magura
49. Anita and Sam Means
48. Liz Ann Hewett
47. Tiffany Fairall
46. Vanessa Davidson
45. Michelle Dock
44. Nia Witherspoon
43. Monique Sandoval
42. Nayon Iovino
41. Daniel Davisson
40. Andrew King
39. Michelle Moyer
38. Jimmy Nguyen
37. Tiffany Lopez
36. Kristin Bauer
35. Donna Isaac
34. Douglas Miles
33. Sierra Joy
32. Francisco Flores
31. Amy Robinson
30. Julio Cesar Morales
29. Duane Daniels
28. Kelsey Pinckney
27. Ben Smith
26. Rembrandt Quiballo
25. Corinne Geertsen
24. Tess Mosko Scherer
23. Slawomir Wozniak
22. Elly Finzer
21. Josh Brizuela
20. Amy K. Nichols
19. Angela Johnson
18. Grant Vetter
17. Michelle and Melanie Craven
16. Erick Biez
15. Leah Marche
14. Lisa Von Hoffner
13. Amada Cruz
12. Amber Robins
11. Xandriss
10. Steven Tepper
9. Bentley Calverley
8. Lisa Olson
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski