Name Sarah Smallwood Parsons
Birthday November 18th
Where are you originally from? A small town in Connecticut
Where do you currently live? Astoria, Queens
Preferred Art Medium Video and live performance
Hobby or interest aside from art? EATING.
Guilty pleasures? Magicians.
Who are some of your favorite artists? All magicians.
Favorite movie? Fantastic Mr. Fox
Favorite book? I’m reading Harry Potter for the first time. It’s wonderful.
Favorite song/album/band/musician? Anything you can fuck and/or cry to.
What are 3 things you want to achieve? Be a regular on a comedic television series, make all my exes regret losing me, get fucking toned.
What is something you deeply love about yourself? My wit and rack.
What is your definition of art? Making something
Briefly describe the circumstances under which you grew up, and how did these influence your art?
I grew up with parents who could act and sing and a brother that was funnier than me. I was raised with no religion, boys could sleep in my room, and I could go to any party I wanted as long as they knew where I was, but I didn’t drink or have sex until I was seventeen. My parents are alcoholics, so at times art was an escape, but they were also very affectionate and supportive. They have great senses of humor, my brother too, and they never judge my comedy, no matter how risqué. I think they’re the reason I’m so confident and unafraid to try anything for a laugh.
“[In comedy] You do something and people have a physical reaction to it, it’s amazing. I never feel more powerful. A show can erase an entire bad day”
Can you remember a specific experience from your life that has shaped who you are and what you do as an artist today?
A friend of mine in college died in a freak accident. He was a year younger than me. I had been putting off trying stand-up so I Googled ‘open mics’ and drove to the first one I found, all the way in North Hampton. I won funniest comic of the night and a copy of a thrift store picture book called ‘Star Babies.”
Have you had any struggle with mental illness (and/or addiction) and if so, would you like to share your experience with us?
I have depression, which is hard to explain sometimes. It feels less like sadness and more like I’m seeing the world for what it really is. I started taking anti-depressants a few years ago but they took away my ability to orgasm, so I stopped. I went back on them last year after watching an episode of the Chris Gethard show with Maria Bamford about mental illness, and am doing much better. And having orgasms. In case you were worried.
“A friend of mine in college died in a freak accident. I had been putting off trying stand-up, so I Googled ‘open mics’ and drove to the first one I found”
Artists paths are normally non-linear. Can you recall for us what your path has been like?
I always wanted to be an actor. I played Lucy in my high school’s production of You’re A Good Man CB which was maybe the happiest time of my life, but I had trouble focusing on one art form and sort of just went with the flow. I didn’t get into the acting program at my college, so I studied art. I didn’t transfer to a better school because I loved my a cappella group. I’ve studied different forms of art under teachers like Jana Pivacek, John O’Donnell, Brian Urreta, Will Storie, Frank Garcia-Hejl, and a series of UCB all-stars. Adrian Frimpong invited me to join a video team called Terms of Service, which I was honestly hesitant about, not realizing it would be the best thing I did since moving to New York and how I would meet the director of my new web series.
What attracts you to comedy?
You do something and people have a physical reaction to it, it’s amazing. I never feel more powerful. A show can erase an entire bad day, even if I bomb (bombing makes me feel like a “real comedian” for some reason.) I feel high after a show, and incredibly sexy. The comedy community is most of my social life. It’s a place where crying and showing your insides is encouraged, where you can wear big mustaches and get covered in blood. Who wouldn’t love that?
“While I think the media has gotten better about showing what sex is really like for women, I still see one-night-stands shown as a recipe for great sex. I was constantly looking for the hot stranger who fucks your brains out and leaves in the morning, what I got was the guy who leaves his shoes on during sex”
You are the co-star and head writer of Terms of Service, a sketch comedy TV show (airing monthly on BRIC/MNN)— how did you get your start in writing comedy?
I wrote a comic strip called Happy Dance for the Daily Campus newspaper, which I still find cut out and hanging on strangers’ fridges from time to time, and self-published the comedic children’s picture book Playground that screamed “I would rather be doing comedy than this!” I spent three years writing stand-up in Connecticut, which was mostly about my short haircut at the time and is now entirely unusable. I mostly wrote sketches and characters on my own so I’d have something to film for my acting reel. Having a leadership position on a team is new to me. There’s this thing at UCB where you don’t feel like you have anything to offer people until you get on a house team, and it just isn’t true. I’m glad I got over it. I’ve even started directing.
"Winter Sex" Written by Adrien Pellerin, Featuring Sarah Parsons & Adrien Pellerin
You recently premiered your web series “FUCKING” of which you are the creator and star— and it is hilarious! What inspired you to create this show?
Every episode of FUCKING is loosely based on a sexual experience I’ve had. I guess I was trying to take something awkward and negative and make it funny. The idea of creating and starring in a web series that takes place completely during sex was terrifying and ex