Laugh Tracking

Lianna Carrera '07 finds life in comedy on the road

Paula Wallace, associate dean of the College, remembers the day in 2007 when Lianna Carrera ’07 told her she wanted to be a standup comic.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Wallace said laughing. “Lianna has always marched to a different drummer. My biggest concern was how to help her get there.”

Lianna Carrera '07 performs stand-up comedy.For Carrera, whose focus was political science, the dream meant taking a risk and attending The Second City Comedy Studies Program in Chicago, Illinois. Wallace worked with Carrera to find a solution that allowed her to take advantage of the opportunity while still meeting graduation requirements at Randolph.

“I was really nervous about it, but I also knew I had the support I needed,” said Carrera.

Since graduating, Carrera has performed in dozens of states across the United States and toured in South Africa and Ireland. She uses her life experiences as a basis for her act. The gay daughter of a retired Southern Baptist minister and a deaf mother, Carrera has learned to find humor in just about every situation.

“I’m paying my dues right now, and there are times on the road when comedy is quite lonely,” Carrera said from a hotel room in San Francisco, California, as she waited for a flight to Las Vegas.

“But it is hard to feel that way long. I am so grateful for the phone calls and notes of encouragement I receive from our community. I feel very fortunate to have such a great support system even after graduation.”

While it might seem odd for a political science major to pursue comedy, Carrera is appreciative of the breadth of courses she took in college.

“I’m accidentally prepared,” she said. “I didn’t think I would ever be writing scripts for television, but the focus on writing at Randolph has given me a leg up. Even my dance courses ended up helping me with my movements and timing on stage.”

Carrera is determined to follow her dream, even if it means hard work and sacrifice.

“Statistically, the probability is that I’m going to fail at this,” she said. “But it is almost as if that is not an option for me. There’s this spirit inside that pushes me onward and inspires me to be great. I believe that spirit is what we mean by ‘living a life more abundant.’ I feel very much today like I did on my first day of college. I have this cautious excitement and a feeling that this experience will change my life.”