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Comedian to represent Miami throughout U.S.

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 00:02

beth

Courtesy of David Muller

Miami alumna ‘07 and standup comedian Beth Stelling.

Comedian and Miami University alumna ‘07 Beth Stelling won Comedy Central’s “@midnight” hosted by Chris Hardwicke on Jan 14. Triumphing over Rory Scovel and Jon Dore, Stelling showed her skill with words while navigating a series of challenges related to events in social media.

“It was really great getting to be up there with people I know and love, standing up there next to people I’ve worked with over the years,” Stelling said.

Having moved to Chicago after graduating from Miami in 2007, Stelling has won a number of awards including being named The Chicago Reader’s Best Stand-up Comedian in Chicago in 2010. She has traveled with her show to cities across the U.S. and in 2011 was invited to take part in the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.

“It was a big honor,” Stelling said. “I was one of the only Chicago comics that went.”

Now based in L.A., Stelling has a weekly show while continuing to take her show around the country. She made her debut on “Conan” this year, and will appear as a guest on “Chelsea Lately” on Feb. 24.

“I’ve been finding my voice over the past seven years. I’ve finally found a voice that I’m comfortable with for my show,” Stelling said. “I’ve found that in L.A. people have similar goals and work ethic. Chicago is a great place to grow, develop, whereas L.A. is where people are finished products.”

Stelling began her Miami career as a pre-med student, but quickly learned that her interests lay in a different direction.

“I got a C in Biology, very generously, and so I ended up auditioning sort of last minute for the theater department,” Stelling said. “I wasn’t shopping around for the best theater program, but I’d done some musicals and speech and debate in high school.”

Stelling’s interest in comedy started in high school, though it was in her first acting class at Miami that she actually performed stand-up.

“In Julia [Guicard]’s acting class we had Fool’s Day where you got to be anything for the class,” Stelling said. “I procrastinated, so I wrote it the morning of, this half-page of stand up. But my classmates were really supportive.”

Through her years at Miami, Stelling was in a number of productions in the theater department.

“I always wanted the funny parts,” Stelling said. “I sort of made it by playing roles that normally were played by men.”

Rosalyn Benson, assistant dean of the College of Creative Arts, remembers Stelling from her time in the theater department, when she took part in an architecture and theater trip to London as a first-year.

“I remember that Beth was very independent, she always did sort of her own thing,” Benson said. “She was very outgoing, confident.”

It was not until her senior year that Stelling performed stand-up again.

“During my senior year I was asked [by a friend] to crash an open mic night at a bar Uptown, and about 75 of my friends turned out to see me,” Stelling said. “So they had these once a month, and I went February, March and April of my senior year.”

After her first theatrical production in Chicago, Stelling became disillusioned with Storefront theatre in Chicago.

“I had interned at Steppenwolf one summer which was a great experience, so I knew how good theatre could be. But I also knew a lot of crappy theater was there. So I said, screw this, I’m going to take things into my own hands,” Stelling said. “With stand-up I felt like I could do whatever I wanted to.”

Find out more about Beth Stelling on her website, www.sweetbeth.com, and on Twitter, @BethStelling.

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