We talk with the founder of Horror Nerd Comedy, Samantha Hale, about her show that perfectly blends horror with hilarious comedy.
At first glance, the comedy and horror genres appear to be exact opposites. One is meant to bring delight and laughter, while the other is meant to bring terror and screams. Yet, the two can meld together effortlessly.
Horror comedy has become a popular subgenre, with titles such as Tucker and Dale vs Evil and Shaun of the Dead quickly becoming cult classics. So, when a friend invited me to a horror-themed comedy show, I was more than eager to attend and see what it was all about. And Horror Nerd Comedy didn’t disappoint.
The show also featured special guests Billy McCartney (@billymccartney), who came equipped with the ultimate monster-fucking slideshow, Genesis Sol (@thegenesissol), who explored her hilarious and memorable Halloween costumes and the antics they got her into, and Nebuer Styles (@nebuyaystyles), who had the audience screaming and cheering with a killer Michael Myers drag performance.
Each show has its own corresponding theme for the performers to follow. Previous editions included Fright Night, The Witches, and The Haunted Mansion. These themes create a fun challenge for the performers to create new material and succeed in tempting audiences back for every show. Any medium rarely gets to explore these different subgenres freely, let alone have fun with them in a way only a comedic show can allow.
I had a chance to connect with Samantha Hale after her show and ask her a few questions about this unique comedy experience.
Morbidly Beautiful: What inspired you to create Horror Nerd comedy?
Samantha Hale: I was feeling a little stuck when it came to stand-up comedy and was looking for a way to get excited about it all over again. Due to the pandemic, we comics weren’t able to work for a very long time as all the clubs were closed, and I was feeling a little lost. A friend of mine, Sarah Taylor, had a show at the Hollywood Improv previous to the shutdown, and once the club opened back up, she encouraged me to pitch a show to them. She said that they like shows with themes that are outside of the box, and being that I am so passionate about scary movies, I thought, “Well, hey, that’s my angle.” So I pitched them the idea, and the rest is history. I’m so grateful they decided to give me a shot!
MB: What type of impact do you think it had?
SH: My favorite part of Horror Nerd is creating a safe space for all the “weird” kids to come together for an incredible evening of laughter, as well as a space for people who don’t typically enjoy or understand the genre of horror to look at it in a new light. It really feels like a horror-themed party, more than a typical stand-up show. The comics have so much fun, and have really gotten creative with it. We have had people perform as Frankenstein, Mrs. Voorhees, Carrie White, and so many more iconic characters. I think the biggest impact HN has had is bringing people together.
MB: Why do you think the intersection of horror and comedy works so well?
SH: Comedy and horror are really so much alike. We get to explore over-the-top or scary situations, then be safe in our homes or a theater at the end. Comedy and horror are intricately linked. That’s because these feelings are so primal.
MB: What is it that you love most about Horror Nerd?
SH: What I love most about HN is that now I have an excuse to watch horror films nonstop, buy Halloween decorations and props I don’t need but desperately want, and mostly when I get to see just how much of an insanely fun experience it is for people. I love it when people keep coming back or come up to me after saying they didn’t know what to expect when they first heard about it but absolutely loved it.
MB: What do you hope for the future of Horror Nerd?
SH: I one million percent want to tour with this show. We are getting our first taste of the road in October! We are doing Urban Mo’s in San Diego on Friday the 13th (perfection,) The Brea Improv on the 19th, our home club, The Hollywood Improv on the 21st, and AllWays Cabaret Club on Halloween night in New Orleans. I hope to release my one-hour special version of HN next year and get more involved in the horror convention circuit as well. I got to bring the show to Midsummer Scream this year, and it was an absolute dream.
Describing it as more of a party than a stand-up performance is the perfect way to explain what it’s like attending a Horror Nerd Comedy show. It’s a chance to laugh and geek out with others over a shared love of horror, and each of the performers brings an energy that keeps spirits high and laughter echoing all night.
Hopefully, a national tour isn’t too far off, and I know I’ll be looking forward to the release of Samantha Hale’s one-hour special when the time comes.
If you ever find yourself in LA and want to add something fun and different to your itinerary, check out the Hollywood Improv to see if you can catch a Horror Nerd show, and be sure to follow their official Instagram page @HorrorNerdComedy to scope out great new comedians to listen to.