The first time I spoke to comic Jennie McNulty, she was disappointed.
"Aw, you don't have a Pittsburgh accent!"
McNulty, who plays Club Café on Feb. 13, has family in the 'Burgh and finds amusement in Pittsburghese and Pittsburgh quirks.
"You people say such funny things, like 'Dahntahn' and 'Gian' Iggle,'" says McNulty, laughing. "And it cracks me up how you just throw a house on the side of a cliff and then you have to like rappel to get the mail."
McNulty -- recently named one of the 10 funniest lesbians in America by Curve magazine -- uses playfully sarcastic humor to engage audiences without being mean. During her show, expect improv, talk about relationships and stories about playing for the California Quake, a professional women's football team.
"Joining the team was a no-brainer," said McNulty. "I've loved football since I was a kid playing it in the streets."
McNulty grew up in Detroit with football fanatics who hailed from Pittsburgh.
"I'm a huge Steelers fan!" said McNulty, who hosted a Steelers-fans-only Super Bowl party at her home, in Los Angeles. "Plus, when you're a Detroit Lions fan, you have to have a realistic team -- the Steelers are my realistic team."
These days, McNulty performs all over the world. But comedy wasn't always the plan. After receiving her master's degree in kinesiology from the University of Michigan, McNulty worked in a research lab.
"I was working with a guy who was about 10 years older than I was, and we had very similar personalities," said McNulty. "He was going through a mid-life crisis, and I was like, 'Whoa, that's gonna be me in 10 or 20 years.'"
The idea of entertaining always enticed her.
"I watched a few open-mic nights, and there were some people who were just awful. I thought, 'I can at least be that good.'"
She was even better. Nearly 15 years later, she has entertained the troops in Bosnia, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq, and appeared on Logo TV's One Night Stand Up. She also hosts her own weekly video blog on AfterEllen.com, "Walking Funny With ..." where she invites fellow comics to take a walk with her and encourages viewers to download and walk along with them.
For one night only, McNulty will make Pittsburgh a little funnier -- or maybe just make fun of Pittsburgh.
Jennie McNulty 7:30 p.m. Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com
- Photo courtesy of Sherry Barnett.
- Comic Jennie McNulty plays (football) well with others.