Born and raised in the south Bronx, Gina Brillon says she grew up surrounded by comedy and knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in the industry.
“I love laughing and making people laugh,” Brillon said. “I fell in love with comedy when I was 14. I watched a lot of stand-up growing up and I was surrounded by a family who turned to humor whenever we were going through something tough. So, growing up in that environment…I just sort of learned to do the same and I have always felt like laughter is really healing.”
According to Brillon, she first began dabbling with her own comedy in highschool and when she was 17, she wrote her first act.
“I remember hanging out with my friends in the halls of my highschool and using my hairbrush as a microphone…that’s really where it all started,” she said laughing. “From watching so much stand-up, I was well versed in the structure of comedy so I was able to kind of dive into the scene head first.”
Brillon, who spent many years working the New York City comedy scene, eventually landed spots on several television shows including “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” “The View,” the CBS sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” and “The Conners” on ABC. In 2012, she became the first Latina winner of NBC’s “Stand up for Diversity Showcase,” which helped her get noticed by comedian Gabriel Iglesias. According to her, Iglesias took her under his wing and she credits him as being her unofficial mentor.
“The first big thing that made an impact on me was the special that I did with Gabriel Iglesies,” she explained. “It was such a learning experience and Gabe sort of stepped in as an unofficial mentor. I feel like I learned a lot from him during that time and he trained me to conquer big stages and to deal with massive amounts of pressure.”
Brillon was also a finalist on season 16 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and she has several stand-up specials under her belt.
In 2020, she released her most recent special, “Gina Brillon: The Floor is Lava,” which won a 2021 Gracie Award and an Imagen Award nomination.
When it comes to her comedy acts, Brillon says she comes up with her material from a variety of sources but feels that her best material comes from her own life stories.
“I do people watch a lot and pay attention to different conversations I hear throughout the city but I also take a lot from my life,” she explained. “I think that’s always the best well to pick from just because it’s uniquely you and the more you pick from that well of stories the more you stand out. Although we all have similar experiences it’s our point of view that really matters and our life informs our point of view.”
Brillon added that because she feels the world has become so divisive now, she likes to present her comedic point of view in a neutral, subjective format.
“For me personally, I look at comedy as this moment of healing…this moment to sort of take a breath from the pressures of life, and have a chance to talk about it in a very neutral, observant sort of way,” she explained.
“Sometimes painting something with a humorous picture can really help somebody see the other side of the argument and I think that’s the beauty of comedy. You can hear the same topics but from a different perspective and eventually, hopefully, the goal is to connect with somebody who is a complete stranger. Someone who just sits there and goes ‘oh my god…I thought I was the only person who felt that way.’”
Brillon, who is currently on tour, will be the first comedian to perform at District Live’s new monthly “Big Comedy Network at District Live,” series.
Her performances will take place on Thurs., Aug 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Aug 6 at 7 p.m and 9:30 p.m. Must be 18 to attend.
To purchase tickets or for more information visit bigcomedy.myeventscenter.com