Giulia Rozzi Explores ‘True Love’

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When we last spoke, Giulia Rozzi and I talked about her predilection for deeply personal topics and how she feels the most at home when she’s being the most open. On her latest album True Love (available February 12th, just in time for Valentine’s Day), she explores some of her less well-informed decisions in the world of dating and beyond. Rozzi has also recently taken to the podcasting world alongside fellow comedian and boyfriend Will Miles with Hopefully We Don’t Break Up, a podcast that explores the relationships of various comedians and friends, exploring what makes them bloom or bust.

Rozzi and I chatted over the phone about the difficulties and pleasures of recording the album, the unique perspective her new podcast, and the constant slew of new faces that New York has to offer.

I heard you had a few recordings of the album — why was that?

The first recording wasn’t bad, the venue is great and I love New York Comedy Club. But I learned why people do multiple shows. Because the first time I did it, I just did the one show, and was like, “Yeah, I want it to be like fresh, and natural, and blah, blah, blah.” That was pretty silly of me to think, so I ended up redoing it. At that first recording I had a couple of hecklers interrupt me because there were some Irish tourists there. I recovered, and they actually released that clip of the heckler because it’s pretty funny. It definitely just changed the energy a little bit, and I didn’t recover the way I wanted to. I redid it in Boston a few months later, and did two shows.

If I had to do it again, I would maybe do three or four shows. I understand why it’s good to do multiple shows now because with the two shows that I did in Boston, the first one I thought turned out really great. I was really happy with it, which allowed me to mess around on the second one, and improvise a little bit, and do some stories that I wasn’t even planning on doing on the album that actually I’m now putting on the album.

Yeah, and I assume it helps you feel looser and more in the moment.

Oh, yeah. And also, by the time this whole process was over… I’ve now listened to so many recordings; it’s just the sound of my own voice. You hit a certain point, I think, where because they’re your jokes, you’re like, “Oh shit, well, I know what the punch line is.” It’s like, well of course you do. You forget that someone who’s listening to it for the first time isn’t going to know.

Absolutely, you’ve just been through that joke so many times that you feel like everybody should be on that same page.

Yeah, as if everyone’s going to be listening to it, and be like, “Now she’s going to do that weird voice thing,” but really nobody knows but me.

When you’re on stage, do you have any particular way that you kind of keep yourself grounded to help make it seem more organic?

I try to just have fun. I mean, whenever I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to make something perfect, it comes out inauthentic, so I try to just trust that if I’m having fun, then it’s going to sound fun, and the audience is having fun. That was part of it too, I felt like on the first recording in New York, I wasn’t having as much fun as I usually do. I just wasn’t in the right head space. But at the Boston one, I was having a blast.

Right, and so is it kind of a compilation between the three different performances, weaved together?

No, no, I couldn’t do that; it would have sounded too different to use anything from the first. The tone of the room and the laughs were different. We only used the ones from Boston, which was kind of a bummer because there was one story from the New York one that came out a lot better than it did in Boston, so I ended up just cutting it completely from the album, but that’s okay.

Was the crowd in Boston composed more of people who just know of you or was it a more personal crowd?

Yeah, I mean, that was the other kind of nice energy difference, I think. In Boston it was a really nice mix of some friends, but also just fans, people in Boston who had heard about me, just some random people who just showed up. I mean, it was a really good mix of an audience going out to see comedy. Whereas in New York, a lot of my audience, it was kind of a mix of… Comedy clubs in New York tend to attract tourists. That’s kind of a known thing, so there was a mix of that, and then a mix of comedian friends who I was so grateful to have come to the shows, of course. It’s different, because it’s your friends who’ve seen you work on the material, and it’s just a little different than an audience of people who are like, “Oh, great. This person’s coming to town, we should go see her.”

Right, and we talked last time about how you were drawing the focus back onto more personal stories. You also have a new podcast out along those lines, Hopefully We Don’t Break Up, which you’re producing with Will Miles. What inspired that podcast?

I’ve always done a lot of stuff that has to do with relationships. It tends to be a topic of a lot of conversations that I have off stage with people, whether they’re single or dating, they’re married or whatever. It just tends to be where a lot of my conversations go. I also feel like people open up to me a lot about relationship stuff, probably because of the fact that I am so open about it both on- and off-stage. Will and I both talk about this stuff a lot, too. He’s really into romcoms and romance and whatnot, so we just thought it’d be really fun to have this show in which we just talked to other couples and find out what works for them, what they define as a relationship, as love, and all that sort of stuff.

Really the vibe of the podcast is that there is advice, but under the notion that advice is bullshit because it’s really about sort of individual exchanges. Whatever works for you as long as you’re happy and healthy, then awesome, we want to hear about it.

And you don’t see very many podcasts or shows hosted by a couple.

Yeah. I had the idea to do something like this when I was single. I just thought it was kind of a more unique perspective, instead of being like, “I’m a single girl that doesn’t understand love!” It’s neat to kind of go into it with, “We’re a couple, and we know what works for us. What works for you?” I just think it’s a different approach that hasn’t really been done.

Definitely. And it’s a refreshing thing to see. A lot of time in comedy when you hear material about dating it’s about being single or just unhappy in a relationship. You don’t get a lot of stuff where people talk about their personal approach to a functional relationship.

Yeah, I mean, I wish that I had a better education in functional relationships when I was younger, because there were a lot decisions I’ve made in the past that were fear-based, and low self-esteem-based as far as dating and relationships went. It’s taken me a really long time to kind of understand there really aren’t any shoulds. You don’t have to be in a relationship. You should only want to be in a relationship with that specific person.

And we don’t want to exclude people who aren’t in relationships. It’s not a humble brag of like, “Look how in love we are!” It’s definitely the good and bad of relationships, and what it takes to get into something that feels right, and also even when you think you do meet a couple that seems happy and perfect, they’re not. That’s another thing; we talk about all the shitty things that go on just with ourselves. So, I really like how it’s going.

It’s not necessarily just optimistic or pessimistic, it’s just sort of realistic and more, I guess, about the complications of a relationship.

Yeah, and also it also includes people’s origin stories, which I just think from an entertainment perspective, I love hearing about people, how people met. Different things bring people together. So yeah, it’s definitely a realistic look at relationships, both the beautiful and the ugly sides of it. Also just a look at how people get drawn together. What makes people decide, “Oh, well this one feels like the one,” and all that kind of stuff.

I think down the line I would like to have couples on that have broken up. I think that could be an interesting direction to go, just to kind of see the other side of it.

Yeah, for sure. You’d be starting from a place of sensitivity immediately, which is always where the most interesting stuff comes from. What are you looking forward for the rest of 2016?

Well, I hope more stuff happens with the podcast. I would love to develop that into something beyond a podcast, because I really like working with Will, and we have some ideas, both scripted and non-scripted, based off of our dynamic.

Do you see yourself ever moving out to LA?

Oh, yes. I have been threatening to every year for the past five years, and then something always makes me stay. I guess one of the things for 2016 that I plan to do is really try to be as bi-coastal as I can be. I’m going out in a couple weeks, and I’m going back in March, and I think I’m going back in April. I want to be acting and writing for television more, and there’s leaps and bounds more opportunities out there.

So I’m open to it. I just had a whole slew of friends abandon me, so yeah. I definitely feel the tumbleweeds rolling by in the snow being like, “Bye.” It’s hard. It’s hard when people from the crew that you grew up with here start to leave, and then you kind of almost feel like… It’s interesting to go to shows and there are just all these new faces. It’s wonderful, and everyone’s great, but… Yeah, it does make you consider what the next step is.

Right. At a certain point it’s just hard to keep meeting people.

Yeah, I’m not as social as I used to be. When I first started doing comedy, the social aspect of it was very attractive. It was like I was interested in comedy, but I also loved that I had this excuse to be out at night, meeting new people, and again, I still love meeting new people, but I also want to work.

Phil Stamato lives and writes in New York, where he may also be seen standing up and telling jokes.

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