Welcome to “Who the Folk?!” Every week on Monday we feature a new member of the community as our “Person of the Week.” Last week we got to know Zach Sussman. This week meet Laura Thorne. Know someone we should feature? Nominate them by sending an email to [email protected].
TC Jewfolk: Are you from the Twin Cities?
Laura: Yes! I grew up in St. Louis Park and still live very close by. Don’t want to stray too far- it seems to help people’s chance of succeeding in show business.
TCJ: You’re taking the Minneapolis comedy scene by storm, including headlining Jewbilee this past year. What’s your secret to success?
Laura: This question feels like it’s out of the “Two Truths and a Lie” game, but I am deeply flattered! My main goal has been “not to quit” and honestly that’s been hard enough to maintain. I appreciate when people tell me after shows that they could never tell jokes in front of strangers. After doing this for seven years, I still get nervous going on stage. Perseverance so far has helped me get better.
TCJ: What’s your favorite joke?
Laura: This is one of my favorite jokes that my dad told me “A woman walks into her doctor’s office complaining of silent gas. ‘Oh doctor, it’s awful. It’s so unpredictable and it’s embarrassing. I’ve tried everything—isn’t there something you can do?’ The doctor thinks for a minute and says ‘hang on.’ He leaves the room and returns with a long metal pole with a sharp hook at the end. The woman’s eyes widen in fear “Oh doctor, what are you going to do to me???” The doctor says “I’m opening the window. It stinks in here!”
TCJ: If there was a showdown between all the Jewish summer camps, who would you want to win?
Laura: I tried Camp Ramah and Camp Teko when I was younger but just wasn’t cut out for camp. There were fun moments too but I focused on the negative. Most kids forget about the bad times and go back summer and after summer, but I was religious about keeping a diary where I wrote about stifling my tears with my pillow at night so the other girls couldn’t hear. I vowed I would never come back no matter what.
TCJ: What’s your favorite way to celebrate Shabbat?
Laura: I love Friday night dinner with good food and good company and no cell phones. Unless people start talking about their gluten intolerances in which case it’s nice to dip out and check your Facebook. When I have Friday night dinner at my dad’s he always prepares a dvar Torah from the week’s Torah portion and ties it into something relevant to today’s world, which I appreciate.
TCJ: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Laura: Brisket, kugel, challah—you just feel so full and connected to the Jewish community afterwards that you have to take a nap. I am also a big fan of bris/shiva foods: bagels, lox, blintzes. You could still use a nap after that too.
TCJ: Who is the coolest Jew?
Laura: So many cool Jews to choose from. My bubbe, is a remarkable Jew. She survived the Holocaust in Lithuania, got married in Germany after the war and moved to Brooklyn with no surviving family. She started a new life but has always remained extremely committed to Judaism. Every time I see her she has three or four clipped newspaper articles about Jews. Her memory is starting to go but she can always tell you the very last thing Ali Khameni said about Israel. Sheryl Sandberg is quite cool for starting a new movement of successful, assertive women in the work force. As a comic I am a huge fan of Jerry Seinfeld for his tremendous writing discipline and Sarah Silverman for being so gutsy to commit to edgy material.
TCJ: Have you been to Israel? What’s your favorite memory?
Laura: I have been to Israel twice. I spent a Shabbat in Alon Shvut, a settlement Southwest of Jerusalem. Everyone in that community is shomer shabbat so for 25 hours there were no cars, no phones ringing, no one going to work. It was incredibly relaxing. Also everyone left their doors open so neighbors would pop in to say hello, eat some of your food and then leave. It was like an Orthodox Seinfeld.
TCJ: What’s your favorite thing to do in the Cities?
Laura: There is so much great comedy to see in the Twin Cities. You name the night of the week, your budget and how many f-bombs you can handle, and I will find you a stand up or improv show. I go to a lot of open mics to try new material and watch other comics work on their stuff. There are so many national headliners that come through Minneapolis, so I try to go to those shows too.
TCJ: Give us one more reason why you’re folking awesome!
Laura: I will attend anyone’s event if they offer free food. Just include what your serving on your FB invite, so I can plan accordingly and I will be there!Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!