Sarah Spear: It's Okay If You Fall

September 3, 2023

Photo Credit

Joanna DeGeneres


Valerie Lopez


Richard Goodwin


On my long list of buck­et list items is a trip to Japan; nowhere on that same list is being a mod­el (face, feet, or oth­er­wise). Today’s guest has done both, and all before the age of 10.

Sarah Spear (who refers to her life as a swirling vor­tex of entropy”, as one does), is a Navy kid, who at age 8 found her­self liv­ing in a mil­i­tary base just out­side of Tokyo thanks to her father’s assign­ment. Her moth­er was def­i­nite­ly one of those moms that want­ed her kids to try every­thing at least once”, Spear says, and thus found her­self in a posi­tion she quick­ly real­ized she’d come to love: being in front of a cam­era. (Or audi­ence, natch.)

Hav­ing to devel­op a new set of friends every 6 months as Spear’s mil­i­tary fam­i­ly moved around helped her build some of the key ele­ments for a com­e­dy career. I would get myself into trouble…or at least enough to be lik­able,” Spear jokes, but admits that — giv­en her focus on math and sci­ence nerd schools” — she was nev­er real­ly cool. But being para­chut­ed into new sit­u­a­tions meant learn­ing to read a new room (after new room), and any com­ic will tell you that if you can’t hack that, you’re going to have a very bad time on the stage in that room.

I would get myself into trouble…or at least enough to be likable
Sarah Spear

Giv­en the nomadic past, it’s not sur­pris­ing to see a change in Spear’s land­ing in Austin, where she’s had a con­scious focus on stay­ing in one place for a long time” and putting down roots; she’s almost bro­ken her pre­vi­ous record (cur­rent­ly held by Vir­ginia). Her oth­er roots — in the fun­ny busi­ness — start­ed well before her arrival here.

I remem­ber when I was in high school we had to do in my the­ater class…a very comedic mono­logue,” Spear recalls, and that was the first time that I had ever expe­ri­enced peo­ple laugh­ing at some­thing that I had said”. Despite hav­ing the feel­ing that she could this”, her first time on stage hap­pened at an open mic in a New York bar and, as often hap­pens, was less than a stel­lar suc­cess. She went onstage with a sticky note and three hasti­ly penned ideas, left with no laughs (and being roast­ed by the fol­low­ing com­ic), but imme­di­ate­ly knew she loved it and had to do it again”.

The lack of prepa­ra­tion and bomb­ing turned a light on in Spear’s brain. The more I bombed, the more I real­ized I need­ed the process,” she says of the hard work need­ed ahead of time to appear spon­ta­neous on stage. (She notes the same lessons can be found in roller skat­ing – anoth­er of her pas­sions – pre­sum­ably with more skinned knees.) That ded­i­ca­tion to process shows up con­tin­u­al­ly through her life, with Spear hav­ing earned a degree in mar­ket­ing (in addi­tion to all of the math and sci­ence schooling).

The more I bombed, the more I realized I needed the process
Sarah Spear

Since we’re sit­ting here today, it’s not a spoil­er to say that it isn’t what end­ed up being her life’s work. Hav­ing been told that women go into mar­ket­ing”, she’d duly fol­lowed, but thank­ful­ly real­ized that it wasn’t her life’s goal. That led to a career switch in her mid-30’s, like very well-adjust­ed peo­ple [do],” she jokes, not­ing also her time in art school and how it opened her eyes to the pow­er of cre­ativ­i­ty.

All the lessons learned, each in their own way, have led Spear to the suc­cess she’s expe­ri­enc­ing today. In addi­tion to being a prod­uct UX/​designer by day, she hosts _​Texass Comedy,_ a queer- and non-bina­ry focused show­case, run­ning 2 years strong with no signs of stop­ping. I don’t have plans to end it any time soon,” she says, and wants to get the show­case into fes­ti­vals, with hope­ful­ly a big future” for the show. In a state where inclu­sion has con­tin­ued to be lack­ing (and the future look­ing less than rosy), Spear felt the con­vic­tion to do some­thing to be part of the solu­tion: I wanted…to cre­ate these spaces. I want­ed peo­ple to feel includ­ed.”

Spear also com­pet­ed in Fun­ni­est Per­son in Austin this year, as well as per­form­ing in Lysis­tra­ta Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val, but there’s more in the books. I’m rep­re­sent­ed!” Spear jokes, of hav­ing an agent, who has helped her book nation­al com­mer­cials, among many oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties, some of which she jokes were very sil­ly lit­tle things”. Austin admit­ted­ly isn’t the best berg for movies, but that isn’t stop­ping Spear, who teas­es a big audi­tion” in LA in her near future, while also not­ing the many pos­si­bil­i­ties you can find (like back­ground act­ing) if you keep your eyes open.

It’s okay to fail and be bad at some­thing,” Spear says, evinc­ing her moth­er’s do any­thing” spir­it, you’re allowed to make progress, appre­ci­ate that progress.” She again draws par­al­lels between roller der­by and per­form­ing: Putting wheels on your feet and jump­ing into a con­crete bowl is…insanity. Com­e­dy is not easy. I mean, if all this stuff was easy…everyone would do it.” 

No mat­ter how dark it gets”, Spear is ded­i­cat­ed to mak­ing it con­tin­ue to hap­pen: I can’t imag­ine not being a come­di­an”. If you want a mas­ter class in get­ting back up again after you fall, check out some of Spear’s videos on Insta­gram, includ­ing a series com­posed of gnarly falls called The Dai­ly Splat. The Splats”, as she calls them, tru­ly embody her focus, spir­it, and relent­less for­ward motion when pur­su­ing some­thing you love. When this year’s der­by audi­tions pull to a close, we’re con­fi­dent that we’ll get to see the debut of Lucille Brawl”, Spear’s con­crete-track alter ego. 

Nei­ther com­e­dy nor der­by are for the faint of heart, but Spear’s phi­los­o­phy holds that you should­n’t let that get in your way. It’s okay when you fall,” Spear coun­sels, and we know that no mat­ter what life throws at her, we’re going to see her jump up again every time, ready to make us laugh, and whip­ping past her competition. 

Fol­low Sarah

Sarah can be seen and heard:

  • Tex­Ass Com­e­dy — Twice a month rotat­ing sched­ule at rotat­ing venues (fol­low @texasscomedy on IG for updates)
  • Camp­fire Com­e­dy — Every 3rd Thurs­day, 8pm at Buzz Mill
  • Gold Com­e­dy Team Sketch­es — debut sketch (fol­low Gold Com­e­dy on Youtube for more every 6 weeks)
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Sarah Spear