Carmen Lynch: Getting Laughs in Two Languages


Every comedian wants to make you laugh. A handful of the better ones, the so-called topical comics, want you to think as well as laugh. The great ones not only want you to laugh and think, but they want to know why you laughed, what made you think and how to get you to laugh louder and think deeper with the next joke in their arsenal.


Carmen Lynch is a great comedian. She’s not cold and clinical about her study of making people laugh – far from it. She’s probably having as much fun up on the stage as you are out in the audience (maybe more…).


“It was a total accident that I even got into comedy,” Lynch said in an interview with Color Magazine. “I was going to be a serious actress, or at least a funny actor who was serious about her craft. Then I went to a comedy club in New York with some friends and they were having an open mic night and…I don’t now…the idea of standing up there and talking to people, trying to get them to laugh, was suddenly very enticing to me.”


For those keeping score, Lynch did OK that night. In the parlance of her new profession, she didn’t ‘kill’ but she also didn’t ‘die’. The hook was set, though. She knew what she wanted to do with her life.


“It’s a great feeling being up there and being in total control,” she explained. “I can say whatever I want to say. They can laugh or they can just sit there. For that time the spotlight is on me, I’m in charge of how the evening will go. It’s almost addictive.”


Since that fateful night, Lynch’s career has been on a steady rise, selling out comedy clubs and doing guest spots on late night talk shows and comedy specials. She made her network debut as one of the top 20 comics on the first season of “Last Comic Standing” on NBC. She’s also performed on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and was featured on HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.


In that time, she’s also done a lot of Spanish shows including SiTV’s “Latino Laugh Festival” and toured as one of the Latinas of Comedy with Paul Rodriguez. The offspring of a Spanish mom and an American dad, Lynch is fluent in Spanish and has almost a second career doing her act in Spanish.


“It goes way beyond just translating a joke from English to Spanish. Humor is very different from culture to culture; some of the jokes and stories I tell to an audience in New York, and get a lot of laughs, too, mean nothing to an audience in Spain,” she explained. “Plus it’s a much more male-dominated culture than you find here; lots of machismo. Luismi, a friend of mine who is a Spanish comedian, invited me to open for him in six different cities, and it was quite challenging. It was also a fantastic experience. Now I can write my mom jokes in Spanish that are just for her.”