Code Red

Comedian Carly Aquilino talks standup, Girl Code and MTV

Carly Aquilino
Carly Aquilino

Carly Aquilino has been doing standup for less than three years and she’s already got a hit show — millennial favorite Girl Code, a comedy series where women in entertainment “weigh in on the sisterhood that all girls share” — and a cult following: In a recent episode, a fan gets Aquilino’s face tattooed on her thigh (another fan shaved her face into his back…). EW caught up with Aquilino over the phone from her New York apartment. She brings her act to Eugene for the first time Dec. 6 at McDonald Theatre.

How did you get into standup?

I used to be a hairdresser. It took me a really long time to get up and do it. I always wanted to do it. I was afraid. I wasn’t even sure how to construct a real joke. I was constantly writing. One day I just got on stage. I always loved comedy. I grew up watching comedy. I loved Bill Burr.

Recently you tweeted “I wish people knew how much internal rage it takes to make one good bit.” Can you break that down?

That’s so true. A joke always comes from a place of anger to begin with, whether it’s how your friends are with you, or with their kids or their husbands. All that stuff is kind of the surface of the joke. To make a joke good and to make it funny takes a lot. There’s no first time you work out a joke that kills.

How did you get involved with Girl Code?

I started on Girl Code because I was doing a show at this place, Caroline’s, a great comedy club in New York City. Ryan Ling, a producer for Girl Code, was in the audience, which was pretty much pure luck. I was only six months into doing standup, and I wasn’t good yet. I don’t think I was where I should have been to be on TV. He called me for an audition the next week. It was totally just like a random awesome thing.

What makes Girl Code resonate with millennials?

It’s very relatable. Girl Code was the first show that was saying, “We’re women, these are our problems; it happens to all of us.” For young people, that’s a really important thing to hear. When I was growing up, I thought I was weird. I think it’s important to have women older than these girls saying, “You’re not weird. You’re not crazy.” It’s so real.

Before Girl Code, did you have a favorite MTV show?

I used to have the biggest crush on Carson Daly, so TRL [Total Request Live] was literally my favorite show. When we were younger, and it wasn’t even that long ago, you couldn’t just go on YouTube and watch a music video. I’d come home from school and watch TRL for hours. It was the most dedicated I’ve been to a TV show.

Who are your favorite comedians and why? 

Bill Burr is still my favorite. And Sebastian Maniscalco, too. And Dane Cook. ν

Carly Aquilino performs 8 pm Saturday, Dec. 6, at McDonald Theatre; $25 adv., $30 door, $50-$55 VIP Meet & Greet. All ages.