You sometimes hear about the bizarre career changes of famous people. Brad Pitt drove a limo. Stephen King was a janitor. Pope Francis was a nightclub bouncer. Depending on your perspective, moving from adult films to stand-up comedy makes perfect sense, or it makes none at all. If you choose the latter, you’ll have to explain the very real existence of Alia Janine (ahl-ya, not ah-lee-ah).
She entered adult films at the unusual age of 30 and spent only four years before moving on to a successful and busy comedy career. She’s performing at The Wormhole in August, so Connect wanted to find out why you should go.
Tell me about growing up in Wisconsin. I know you have that Brewers tattoo.
Yeah, I don't ever want to live back there. That’s mostly because of the winter. I'm not a fan of the cold at all, which is why, when I moved out of Wisconsin, I moved to Florida and then to California. So moving back to a colder climate [in NYC] was iffy for me, but the winters aren't that bad here, right? I like the change of the seasons because living in Florida and California. There's none. It makes time stand still, if that makes sense.
You’re in your early 20s, and before you were in adult movies you were stripping and you got an associate degree in police science, and you worked security. How did that all work? And what was that like after dancing?
I danced a little bit because I was going to school because I needed to pay for it. I would dance at clubs outside of the city where I knew no one from town would be, because back then it was more frowned upon, and it could affect being hired as a police officer. I worked concert security, I drove an armored car for a while, I got my PI license and worked loss prevention. I’ve had all of the jobs. I get bored easily.
Speaking of that, what made you decide to give adult movies a try and since you just mentioned it, did you get bored after 4 years and just say, well I'm done with this and move on to something else?
Yeah, basically. (laughs) I was just going to try it and make one movie. But I really liked it, and the money was good, so I thought let me give this a try. And I was a dancer, so that was my main thing for years. I was a dancer longer than I was a pornstar, and I did movies so I would have credits and be a featured dancer.
So they can advertise a dancer that has appeared in adult films?
Yeah. This was before the internet boom. I needed credit. But I learned a lot about myself and healed some childhood trauma, and shit like that. As for dancing, I did well, but I was terrible at customer service.
That’s a big part of that job, isn't it?
(laughs) Yeah, like I make most of my money just sitting at the bar talking to guys. Then I would like to take you to the champagne room and then I basically be their therapist. Some regular customers were really helped. I’d get emails years later just thanking me for listening. But porn fans are more obnoxious.
How did you interact with them? Like in person at events like in Vegas, or was it online and stuff like that?
I've only done a couple conventions because like the first like convention that I ever did was Exotica. The first guy I met handed me a 15-page script where I’d be hypnotized and beaten and much worse. Yeah, so I was like “I never need to meet my fans again.”
That really was the first fan?
Is having a relationship in the real world possible while doing that kind of work?
Well, one of the reasons why I also did porn was to get back at an ex-boyfriend. He found my list of boys, including guys I made out with in high school, and he called me a whore. I said I’ll show you!
So how did you make the decision to leave?
I had no idea how many women were doing porn. I remember nudie mags my father had, and it seemed like the same few girls. But there were so many, and it was getting free, so it was time. If there was OnlyFans back then, I probably would have done that. But when you leave, you don’t really leave.
The internet is forever.
Yeah, I have new fans that don’t know about the movies and some comedy fans that just know the comedy.
What made you go from porn to comedy. I assume you thought you had a sense of humor and in the scenes from the movies that led up to the sex scenes, you tried to inject comedy in there, so you're a bit of a natural?
Yeah, I used to get into a lot of trouble for that.
Oh, you went off script?
Yeah. Some of the scenes were so…like I am trying to teach my “daughter” to do something, how is it not a hilarious situation?
Are there any topics in comedy that you won't go near, or you'll avoid because it's just hard to be funny, even though it could be?
No, absolutely not. I have jokes about abortion, jokes about race, jokes about anything. I don’t GAF. I do jokes about Gen Z sensitivity that are very popular.
You know, for anybody who's considering the show next month of the Wormhole here in Savannah, and sitting on the fence, why should they come out?
Because I’m awesome and you should see me tell some jokes. I do a little bit about my former career here and there, and I’m dark and pretty quick. I also give time for the audience to react. I am better at that now.
See Alia Janine perform at 8 pm, Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Wormhole, 2307 Bull St. Visit wormholebar.com for more information.