No Laughing Matter

By staff November 1, 2002

After Brenda Ferrari-Etta May-left McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, she-and six other comedians-were invited to participate in a nerve-wracking audition in Los Angeles at the Improv Comedy Club. The audience was composed of network and cable channel bigwigs who were shopping for new comedy sitcom talent.

For the first time in her life, Ferrari went on stage as herself. The material was basically the same, but without the fat suit and funny glasses. "I kicked butt. I really did," she says.

As a result, a major talent agency is trying to sign her up and is willing to produce a show for her, but Ferrari's holding out. "Companies will manage your entire life and that would mean 15 percent of everything I do," she says. "I'm at the time of my life where I don't want that. Most comics aren't like me. They don't run their own business. I built mine from the ground up all by myself."

So, for now, Ferrari is sticking to her routine. She travels one or two weekends of the month to various comedy clubs, performing as Etta May, and spends the rest of her time in Lexington, Kentucky with her big, gray tomcat. She also volunteers for a local hospital and is writing a new comedy show based on Ferrari, not Etta May. "It was liberating going on as myself," she says. "I'll miss Etta May and I think my fans will, too. I have some loyal Etta Heads out there. I haven't heard anything from the networks, yet, but I'm very happy."

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