Lucy Bonino Brings The Jokes at Happy Hour

by | Feb 18, 2024 | COMEDY

Gabriel and Lucy Bonino caught up after a hot minute, chatting about everything from Argentina’s epic World Cup win to the hilarious fallout of Messi fan tattoos gone wrong. Their convo drifted to the comedy scene, highlighting Lucy’s gig at Buskey Cider, where the last Friday of each month turns into a comedy haven in Richmond. Lucy’s at the helm, serving up laughs with a mix of local and visiting comics. They touched on the struggle of self-promotion in a digital world, but it’s clear Lucy’s more about cracking jokes than her follower count. It’s all about good vibes, great cider, and even better laughs.

Gabriel Santamaria: OK, I think I got it now. Hey, what’s up? How are you doing?

Lucy Bonino: I’m good. How’s the fam?

GS: Oh, they’re great. He’s really mad because I went into my bedroom without him. Yeah, so it’s been a while since the last time we talked. A lot’s happened. You working more? Argentina won the World Cup. It’s been a big year.

LB: Argentina winning the World Cup was unbelievable. I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. I was crying at Home Sweet Home where I was watching it.

GS: Really? Were you OK?

LB: Yeah, there were other Argentinians there, and we were all screaming. It was an emotional situation for sure. The World Cup is like the Super Bowl for the rest of the world, and even in the US, people love it.

GS: It was huge. And Messi is like the premier short king of the world. He’s awesome.

LB: Absolutely. My favorite was seeing all the botched tattoos in Argentina of people getting Messi’s face tattooed on them. It was awful but hilarious.

GS: Around that time, my algorithm showed me a movie with Pelé and Sylvester Stallone. It was my dad’s favorite movie. It’s about them playing against the Nazis in a game of soccer.

LB: That sounds like Rocky but with soccer and Nazis. I’ll have to ask my dad about it.

GS: Yeah, it’s like Rocky but with soccer. Anyway, let’s talk about comedy. Tell me about the show you’re doing.

LB: It’s a booked showcase, not an open mic, at Busky Cider the last Friday of every month. We do a 6:30 PM show and an 8:30 PM show with the same lineup. I host every time, and we always have quality comics, some local and some from out of town.

GS: How long has it been going on?

LB:: For years. Carlton started it, and then Paige Campbell took over before moving to Philly. I’ve been running it for a little over two years now.

GS: Any goals for the upcoming year?

LB: I love hosting the show and have plenty of material. I’ve been focusing on refining my material and possibly doing more feature sets.

GS: The first time I saw you, you really stood out. Every time, you’re really confident on stage, and we love going to see you.Did you do a short film or a sketch last year?

LB: I did a sketch with Mike Shea. He plays this insane, drunk clown who’s addicted to Robotussin, I think. He also does other characters. He wrote this script—it’s stupid, but to be fair, he would call it stupid too; I’m not just being mean. He wanted to record it and got a whole film crew, all the actors, despite the sketch’s silliness. The production value was so impressive. It was shot beautifully, but the subject matter was so dumb. It created a really nice juxtaposition of how stupid it all was. Everyone dressed up too. So, yeah, I was in that as well.

GS: Awesome, yeah. You know, do you have plans to do any more stuff like that? Like any writing or acting, or anything like that? The sketches or whatever?

LB: Yeah, I want to do more sketch work for sure this year. Like writing sketches and just doing more on social media, I guess, like reels for comedy. But that’s the only thing that seems to matter these days. Obviously, being funny is number one, and then marketing yourself is number two, which I really neglect. I’ll finish a set and won’t plug my social media in any capacity. Then people will tell me they’ve been looking for me for weeks. They saw me perform two months ago and are so happy they found me. I’m like, “Oh, what, Lucy, come on.” So, I need to be better about that.

GS: It can be tough to remember to promote yourself on stage.

LB: It just feels so lame in the moment to be like, “Alright, that’s my time. And by the way, follow me on social media.” I just want to—I hate it. It’s so cringe. I just, yeah, I don’t—I know, I know. I just don’t like doing it. It doesn’t feel good.

GS: I mean, one of the hardest things about art, especially when doing it professionally, is marketing, you know? Some people are really good at it, and it’s really hard. I don’t see how they can sit there and do that all day, but there it is. Apparently, it’s a real job now, just marketing on social media.

LB: If I had the funds, I’d pay someone to handle it for me.

GS: Heck yeah. Well, I think I got basically everything you want to do. Is there anything else? Oh yeah, do you have any shows coming up that you’d like to plug? Who have you worked with or opened for in the past year or so that stands out? I know you’ve done it several times.

LB: Oh yeah, I mean, Attell is so funny. All of his shows were different too, like every single one, from the early show to the late show. He’s just one of those people that you watch, and it’s just… yeah, you can’t… I don’t know, he’s just been in the game for so long, and he breathes comedy.

Even in the green room, he would be chain-smoking, looking at these printed pages where he’s written jokes, and he’s crossing stuff out. Just changing punch lines to be like, “What’s going to work better here?” And you could see him working stuff out. It’s really impressive to watch. Also, him on stage, when he’s just thinking on his feet, it’s crazy. And nothing rattles him either. It’s really, really impressive.

He’s probably my favorite. I’m always intimidated. I’m intimidated by everybody, I think. Yeah, absolutely. Oh, my gosh. I mean, maybe intimidated isn’t the right word because I don’t feel like I’m scared to talk to anybody, but I am always in awe of how funny people can be.

And in any showcase that I’m on, there are always people that I’m like, “Oh, wow. This person is so funny,” and I never would have taken these two ideas and put them together. It’s almost like I’m jealous that they thought of a joke that I would never think of. Does that make sense?

GS: Yeah, no, totally. Is there a style of comedy that you’re not particularly good at, but it’s not really your thing, yet you admire it?

LB: I admire people who do tight one-liners over and over again, those with a really solid foundation in crafting succinct, punchy jokes. Additionally, I admire those who are very good at crowd work. Crowd work is something I’ve been slowly getting better at, but it’s challenging because it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s a skill I’ve had to consciously work on.

There are some comedians who excel at crowd work even more than they do at writing material. It’s just two different styles of comedy, and I’m not knocking one over the other. However, I’m always impressed by really good crowd work, and I find myself jealous of those for whom it seems to come supernaturally.

GS: Well, you’re super funny. I worry about it, but yeah, the crowd work is like a flex now, but it’s, it’s a…

LB: … t’s like a muscle, yeah. You just have to keep working on it, you know. It’s always something that, like Winston Hodges, he’s a bit… I mean, he’s so good. I’m always just dumbfounded at how good his crowd work is. Winston is another local comic, and now he lives in DC. But he was telling me that crowd work is a great thing to have because sometimes a crowd isn’t responding to a certain joke, or it’s very much joke, reset, joke, reset. You don’t get a rolling laugh; it’s just like you tell a joke, the crowd laughs, and then they’re just waiting for another joke.

Crowd work is always a good thing to have in your pocket for that, just to kind of loosen up the room or maybe if a joke doesn’t go as well as you wanted it to. So, you can always kind of win back the room if you have a decent foundation of crowd work to work with.

Lucy Bonino, Richmond comedian, interview by Gabriel Santamaria 2024

GS: Can’t wait to see more from you. So, Busky Cider, last Friday of every month?

LB:Yes, Buskey Cider. The last Friday of every month. Mark your calendars: 6:30 PM, 8:30 PM shows. The 8:30 PM show is a little bit more fun just because people are a bit more loose. But if you like happy hour comedy and dick jokes right after work, come to the 6:30 show.

GS: You heard it here. If you like happy hour comedy and dick jokes right after work, check out the 6:30 show. Thanks for talking with me.

LB: Thanks, Gabe. Have a good day.

GS: You too. 

Give Lucy Bonino a follow HERE

Gabriel Santamaria

Gabriel Santamaria

Band leader of The Flavor Project, Co Owner at La Cocina Studios, Cast Member on The Hustle Season podcast.

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