Profiles in Comedy

Friday, December 12, 2008


by Linda Morgan

She's not your housewife next door. She may be a Jewish Mother, but this irrepressible estronaut from Jersey City, New Jersey, does not stay at home in suburban Hartford making brownies for PTO meetings. When Linda Belt is at home, she's writing new material, thinking way outside the split level box. Once a licensed massage therapist she's now massaging funny bones across the country. In just a few short years she has graduated from the open mic circuit to headlining sometimes two or three times a week, a grueling schedule of travel that she says is one of the few downsides to the Life. (Such a downside!)

The universe of comedy is a case study in chaos theory. A rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected. Linda has driven hours to discover a show is canceled, gotten paid less than promised, and once found herself rooming in for five nights with a male colleague. "He's a sweetheart," she says, unperturbed, "Good thing we got along!" And although some bookers still exclude females entirely or follow a "one-per" policy, Linda feels that this disadvantage has been offset by venues specifically seeking the mom perspective as well as all-woman shows, which have proven to be rousing successes.

While most comics take much longer to get this far, Linda - with a background in theatre - pretty much hit the ground running. She says if she had it to do over she would not have headlined so soon. Her advice to new comics is to remain true to themselves and to "break away from the pack - become memorable."

Linda's humor is high voltage bawdy, brassy, and bold, replete with act outs, yet relatively low in profanity and audience insult, a perfect storm of qualities that place her in demand from Temple, PTO, and Elks' events to private parties and comedy clubs. Her own tastes in comedy range from the dry to the hydro-powered, dark to light, cerebral to visceral - the one common thread being to "tell it like it is." She cites George Carlin and Joan Rivers as comics who inspired her. What makes her laugh out loud? South Park, Will Ferell as Robert Goulet (SNL), HBO's Extras, Christopher Guest's Best in Show, and yes even Airplane.

Linda claims she was not as a child the class clown. She was, however, told she was "so funny" because of her wisecracking. Turning this trait into a profession was triggered by a desire to "get out of the house and reinvent myself," along with an experience shared by many in the Life: She saw a "truly awful" woman at an open mic and said to herself, "Gawd, I've got to be funnier than this."

I hope it wasn't me!

For more about Linda Belt and what she's up to, go to