How do you know when you’ve “made it” in the Boston comedy scene? For Waltham native Tricia Auld, it’s when you start to receive photos of male genitalia from comedians more established than you. At least that’s what she’s hanging on to as she navigates the complex and difficult-to-penetrate world of comedy.
Auld, who has been trying to crack the comedy nut in the Hub for more than two years, knows she has a long road to endure. Though Boston is eclipsed by entertainment meccas like Los Angeles and Manhattan, the deep wellsprings of talent within our own city create a competitive landscape for aspiring comedians. In short: It’s no easier to find success here. And in some ways, it may be even harder.
The 30-year-old admits that she “foolishly thought that success would be based on skill alone,” and that a great open mic appearance could rocket a person to fame. She quickly realized her mistake once she began to network with the many talented veterans who monopolize setlists in the Greater Boston area. Now she laughs about, recalling a letter she once wrote to Chelsea Handler: “I assumed that she would immediately identify my talents and I would rise to fame shortly thereafter. I actually remember feeling slighted when she didn’t dignify my well-crafted note with a response.”
Though she acknowledges her current place on Boston’s comedy totem pole, Auld has performed at several popular venues, such as Dick’s Comedy Den, The Middle East, Phoenix Landing, and Davis Square Theater.
Today, Auld continues to make her mark with honest and often raunchy accounts of “tormented, self-inflicted, and excruciating heartbreak.” Her open-book approach makes her relatable, despite the frequency with which she claims to give blowjobs. She strikes an impossible balance of self-deprecation and over-the-top confidence with an unapologetic, feminist bent. Her sets are stacked with sex jokes that would—and do—make her parents blush. You can always find them in the front row of her shows.
As a vivacious blonde with a racy sense of humor, it is impossible to deny the parallels between Auld and female comedians like Chelsea Handler and Amy Schumer, both of which she admits influence her style. But she’s also a unique individual following her own inspiration: Comedy has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember, whether it was making her four sisters laugh growing up, or using humor to secure her high school softball team a two-page spread in the paper, she has, in a sense, been preparing for the stage her whole life.
Auld vividly remembers the day she “came out” as a comedian. “It was something that I held very close to me and was protective of for a long time,” she explains of her quiet desire to trade in a desk job for a microphone and a stage. She took her first plunge toward a career in comedy when she launched her blog Never Been More Single under the pseudonym Peaches Wyola.
“I used it as a creative outlet but wasn’t fully ready to take on the responsibility of owning the content,” says Auld, which mostly featured sexually explicit material and descriptive tales of the Tinder world. It wasn’t until a post titled “Reasons I’m Crying in my 20’s” went viral that she decided to go public with her dream.
Success in comedy rarely follows a clear path, and while she no longer feels the need to be Comedy Central famous, Auld says she wants to enjoy the ride and connect with people.
“What fuels and fulfills me is when I put the most raw, honest, and pure form of myself on display and another human being identifies with that,” she says. “It can be challenging and scary to put yourself out there in that way, but I do it because I know that it might turn someone’s day around, or make someone in a similar situation feel like they aren’t alone.”
Auld’s fanbase is still growing, and she is proud of—and freaked out by—her “creepy” followers. She laughs, “Does it ever occur to people that before they acquire fans, they just have crazy stalkers? Well, it has occurred to me.”