Who is Stephanie Blum?
My semi-functional family created the perfect backdrop for the development of a career in comedy.
My father was a hypochondriac and my brother was a schizophrenic. My mom was so suppressed she could hold her breath for four hours without turning blue. Dad was so worried about his health he swore he had a cyst on his ovary. So I told him that he had ovaries removed!
My brother Larry hears voices. Fortunately, they don’t tell him what to do – they just make suggestions, “Why don’t you take a sweater? Try the fish. Call Stephanie nine times a day and ask the same questions over and over again until I’m ready to jump out a window.” Oops. That last one was my voices.
After graduating from Midwood High School, I moved upstate to Oneonta, New York where I got my B.A. in Psychology at SUNY. Then, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I moved back into my parents apartment to attend Brooklyn College for an M.A. in Education and School Psychology.
For twelve long years I was the psychologist at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. This was the actual “sweat-hog” school from Welcome Back Kotter. Remember Vinny Barbarino, Arnold Horseshack and Freddie “Boom-Boom” Washington? My students were about as articulate as they were. In the hallways you’d hear things like, “What the f-ck you lookin’ at?” “I’m gonna kick your ass.” “Your mutha’s a ho!” I realize now that I shouldn’t have spoken to the kids like that.
My husband Greg and I met at the bar of a New York restaurant while I was on another date. My date was so drunk he ended up spending most of the time in the bathroom. I told Greg that I liked him better. We exchanged phone numbers and were engaged three months later. It was so romantic when he offered me his mother’s engagement ring. (He would spend hours trying to pry it off.) The next two years we broke up so many times that my ring finger had rug burns. Eventually, we were married on June 16, 1996 in Greenwich, Connecticut.
After driving Greg crazy with years of irreverent behavior, inappropriate language and annoying outbursts, he forced me to take a stand-up comedy class so that, as he would say, “You better put that crap to good use!” The class required me to perform on stage at The Comic Strip in New York. This made me want to vomit because I was so nervous but I did it anyway. Soon after, I was fortunate to win New York’s Funniest Teacher contest. By then I was hooked on making strangers laugh in the dark. Breakout Performer of the Year at the Aspen Comedy Festival was next and I was thrilled when they aired that performance on HBO’s Comedy Minutes. I won on CBS’s Star Search but didn’t take home the $100,000 prize! Greg still bursts into tears periodically over that one.
I did take first prize at New York’s Funniest Female Competition at Madison Square Garden. The New York Times was there and published a neat article about me and because of that I was commissioned to write for Child Magazine and Parents Magazine. I recently appeared on Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen. You can catch the reruns at 2AM in many cities. Keep sending those checks, Byron. I also got a chance to appear on Country Music Television’s Funniest Videos. Why they wanted a Jew from Brooklyn, I have no idea.
I also work with two other mom comics in a show we call Mom’s Night Out! Audiences love us! Especially the women.
Now I’m tired. While I’m napping, I hope you’ll check out our radio show, which I love co-hosting with Greg. Oh…and if you haven’t already done so, sign our email list and I’ll send you my colorfully illustrated article from Parents Magazine: LIFE AFTER KIDS. (Autographed and framed for your enjoyment.) And supposedly you’ll be eligible to win valuable prizes! Thanks!