Tragedy Plus Time: Montréal-based Comedian Monika Schneider

Monika Schneider is a Montreal-based comedian who is also a trained actor with experience in voice acting and as an instructor. A fun fact about her is that she was awarded Outstanding Actress in her graduating class through her degree in Acting at Toronto Metropolitan University. Monika is also actively involved in the improv community in the city and her grounded character-driven comedy style has been featured in past festivals and showcases such as OFF JFL/Zoofest, Ladyfest, MPROV, Hartford, and the Big Pond Improv Festival.

Monika Schneider

How would you describe your comedy style?

I love a good character! Grounded character-driven comedy is what I tend to embrace. I like to create characters who have an element of relatability which will hopefully lead the audience to care about what happens to them through the scene.

Who are some of your influences?

Jan Hooks, Nora Dunn, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy. All of them play quirky and endearing characters that tickle me and make me want to jump up and imitate them immediately.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

The person who absolutely amazed me and to this day his style goes unmatched is Robin Williams. What drew me to him was his quick wit and ability to, in a flash, switch among completely different characters with totally different accents, physicalities, and facial expressions.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

Will Ferrell for his absolute commitment to every single role he plays.

What is your pre-show ritual?

I do a vocal warm-up as I walk to the theatre, this includes saying my favourite tongue twisters as fast as I can: ‘Red leather, yellow leather’ and ‘Will you wait for Winnie and Winnier’. I also recite my personal mantra ‘I decide to manifest an open heart, an open mind, non-judgement, gratitude, joy, and fun.’ At the theatre I like to do some light stretching and yoga poses, then chat with the other performers and see if I can convince them to do another warm-up with me.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

I have a couple. I love Theatre VME for the warm intimate atmosphere and Montreal Improv because it’s where I started performing comedy and it holds a special place in my heart. I also performed a one-woman show at P.S.122 in New York City (now called Performance Space New York). I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to perform at this East Village theatre that helped define “performance art” in the early 1980s.

What is your favourite bit you have written and why were you proud of it?

I was asked to create a character for my friend’s comedy podcast Some Good Friends, and Carla was born from that. Carla is a car saleswoman who treats all her customers as though they are in the mafia even though they aren’t. I thought she was a fun character that could have a longer life, so I developed her further in an L.A.-based sketchwriting class.

What is your favourite medium for listening or finding new comics/comedians?

There is nothing like seeing a live show. What other performers create on stage never ceases to inspire me. The mind of a performer has always intrigued me. Give ten people the same prompt and each outcome will be completely unique. Watching a show is like peeking into the world of someone’s imagination; their characters and worlds that they create. It reminds me that anything is possible on stage.

Tell us a joke about your city.?

It’s not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal. Does that count? We used to say that all the time as kids and thought it was hilarious.

Do you have anything to promote right now?

Films In Focus: A monthly improvised movie review show at Theatre VME, and features an all-star cast: Dimitri Kyres, James McGee, Danielle Davidson, Marc Rowland, Sarah Ellis, Jason Grimmer, and Kyle Allat.

Wassup: A monthly improvised show at Montreal Improv where a cast of talented improvisers turn the audience’s tales into comedy gold!

Where can we follow you?


PAY IT FORWARD: Who is another local comic/comedian we should know about?

Marc Rowland and Brent Skagford are an improv duo that perform their improvised narrative show ‘Easy Action’ monthly at Montreal Improv. They are thoughtful, intuitive performers who play off each other really well. They have the ability to weave a story that will make you laugh out loud, be on the edge of your seat, and touch your heart all at the same time. They are such creative storytellers and they continue to inspire me.