Whiskey Bear Comedy Festival: Lisa Berry

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After Lisa Berry got robbed, she was already making jokes about the incident when the officer showed up to take the report.

"It was a traumatic event; it really was," Berry said. But her particular coping mechanism is something she learned from her family.

"We just process everything through that kind of dry sense of humor," the 33-year-old said.

Berry's brand of humor has been on display in a variety of ways around Columbus, from sketch comedies to standup. She's also taken her talent beyond Ohio as part of a standup trio. Her work has even been featured on the national level, via funnyordie.com and whohaha.com, Elizabeth Banks' website for promoting female comedians.

While Berry performs on the stage now, initially her passions were for something more behind-the-scenes.

"I really more wanted to be a writer," she said.

At a loss for how to get into the comedy writing industry, Berry started performing standup at open mic nights. Eventually, she had a sketch idea and approached a girl who was a member of the Monday Night Live sketch comedy group that Berry would go on to join.

"That's sort of how I worked my way into it," she said.

Berry now writes and performs for Monday Night Live, held the second Monday of every month at Mikey's Late Night Slice on Fourth Street.

She's also half of the group Berry Sanders, with fellow comedian Laura Sanders. Inspired by reality show "Mars One," the team produced a two-lady show set in the future on Mars. In December 2014 they performed their show at the Garden, later taking it to Shadowbox Live in April 2015.

"We put a lot of time into the Mars show," Berry said, saying she hopes to bring it to another city.

Two years ago, Berry embarked on the "I'm So Excited Tour" with Sanders and Laura Bencaz, traveling through North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Berry said she embraces a storytelling style for her standup, working through life's issues and turning them into jokes.

"It's about my life," she said.

To that end, she has worked serious life experiences, including the robbery and a cancer scare, into her material. Personal stories - true ones - work the best in connecting with her audience, Berry said. Whenever she tried out stories that didn't actually happen to her, they just didn't connect well.

Originally from the Cleveland area, Berry moved to Columbus at 18 to attend college at Ohio State University. Her mother, father and younger brother, she said, all favor the dry type of humor she uses as part of her craft.

"That is the way all of us are," she said. "We're all just kind of assholes to each other."