You Should Know… Hedi Sandberg

Photo by Jared Foretek.

Hedi Sandberg is pretty funny. At least she and comedy fans around D.C. seem to think so. On any given night you can find the 28-year-old stand-up working dark rooms throughout the city, talking about life and love (or at least sex).

Why did you get into comedy?

I’ve always been funny. People would tell me, “You should do stand-up, you’re so funny” and I was like, “I can’t. I talk too fast.”

About three years ago, a friend came to visit and said we should go to a comedy show. I’d never been to one before and it was an open mic, so some people were funny, some weren’t. But it inspired me. I was immediately like, “I’m going to do this.” They were just people, doing their thing. That was it.

Is there a process for writing material? Where does it come from?

Basically my everyday life. Something will happen and I’ll say, “Oh, I’ve got to write about this.” And then as I’m doing it, I’ll add bits. It starts with that spark.

I was recently thinking about C-section birth versus vaginal birth and it turned into a bit.

You have a day job right?

I work in hotel sales. I like it enough. My boss is great though, we joke around a lot.

Do you think about the Jewish comedy tradition a lot?

When I’m on stage I don’t really talk about being Jewish. I kind of wear my Judaism on my sleeve — I have a Jewish star tattooed on my right wrist and 99 percent of the time I’m holding the microphone in my right hand, so Judaism is always with me. There are some jokes I make when I mention I’m Jewish. Mainly just playing up Jewish stereotypes like, “Yeah, my dad’s in finance. I went to Jewish day school. LOL. Jews have money.” I’m proud to be Jewish but it’s not my forte.

Why’d you get the tattoo?

I’m proud to be Jewish and I love tattoos. I had a Conservative upbringing, I went to [Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School] in Rockville and I didn’t have non-Jewish friends until I got to college. I never considered myself sheltered, but then I got to college and it’s like, “Oh, you’re not Jewish?”

The first time I went home over break my freshman year, I told my mom I was going to a party on a Friday night. That was unheard of when I was in high school, and I could see her heart break. Now, I’m out all the time, it’s not like, “Oh, forget Shabbat,” that’s just the way my life has taken for me. I still might go to my parents’ for Shabbos dinner, but you know, I got stuff to do! Jokes to do! There are jokes to be told on Friday night, I can’t stay in!

Does it still break your mother’s heart?

Maybe. But she’s used to it at this point.

Are there topics that you get nervous about broaching on stage?

When it comes to my shows, yes I am sort of raunchy. But, it’s funny to hear about those things. It’s my life, this is who I am. You shouldn’t be ashamed of what you do. You should be proud that you can talk about your personal life in a funny way that other people can get a kick out of.

I don’t ever talk about politics or Trump because I think that topic is so tired. What I talk about is my personal life, stories that have happened or situations I’ve been in. I’m trying to turn the mundane into something funny.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t talk about it. If you tell a joke about Trump, that’s awesome. I read the newspaper every day and I’m sick and tired of it.

Comedy is my joy and I’m not going to bring something that burns my soul on stage.

Where do you want to end up?

I want to be successful in comedy. I think it’s what I’m meant to be doing.

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