Reese’s comedy has been getting a lot of traction lately–she’s was featured in the NY Post, where she explained how Shabbat gives her structure to her life, saying, “I could be at clubs all night on Thursday, but by Friday the family will have a home-cooked meal for Shabbat dinner and we’re all at the table, saying a blessing over the challah, channeling my roots.”
Reese, who lives in Great Neck, New York, is the mom of two young daughters and wife to a fellow lawyer. Luckily, I was able to speak with Reese about what surprises her about being a mom, what it’s like being a comedian and Orthodox mom, and what her biggest pet peeve is.
How do you balance your comedy with being an Orthodox mom? Is it hard for you?
In her skinny jeans and t-shirt, Talia Reese looks like any other stand-up delivering a late-night set in a Greenwich Village comedy club.
But while others bemoan their sex lives (or lack thereof), Reese is taking on the dietary rules she and her husband live by: “He wouldn’t be upset if he caught me in bed with another man — unless we were eating a ham sandwich.”
See what the press is saying and take a look at Talia in action!
Reese said, “I’m an Orthodox Jewish mom in Great Neck with two little kids doing stand-up comedy with sex jokes in the city, and then performing at a synagogue fund-raiser with rabbis. Sometimes it feels like a double life.”
Reese has been a comedian for as long as she can remember – directing a popular female comedy troupe at the University of Pennsylvania and landing an assistant position at “Saturday Night Live,” which she declined, since she keeps the Sabbath. She took a break from performing to attend law school and then worked for years in bankruptcy law.
I love Judaism and am committed to an observant lifestyle. But I will also say whatever I think is funny on stage. Of course, if I’m performing at an Orthodox Jewish event or a shul dinner, my act is tailored to please that crowd. And when I’m at a club, no holds barred.
What was/is surprising to you about being a mom?
The whole thing is surprising. First, I was surprised that I was pregnant. Then I was surprised that being a mom completely takes over your life for a few years. Luckily, once the kids turned 5, they started raising themselves. The things that surprise me now that they’re a little older are the ways that I have become a “typical Jewish mother.” Like the most interesting thing to me is what they ate that day. And I overdress them for the weather constantly. I don’t eat or dress myself right, but I’m all over them.
If you could be anyone or anything, just for one day, what would you be?
My husband, so I could finally achieve the satisfaction I deserve in the bedroom.
What was your favorite children’s book or young adult novel growing up?
I admit when I was a preteen I obsessively read Danielle Steele novels. But my favorite children’s book was and still is “The Giving Tree".
What TV show have you binge watched?
There have been more than I’m proud to admit, but my latest solo binge-fest is Netflix’s “The Crown.”
Who are you, in one sentence?
I’m a hip old granny who can hip-hop, bebop, dance ’til ya drop and yo yo, make a wicked cup of cocoa–oh wait that’s Mrs. Doubtfire. Me? I’m a lover of life, family, spirituality and I see jokes everywhere, even in dark situations.
Biggest pet peeve:
Supermarket lines. I always manage to wind up behind someone with a declined credit card. Either that, or I’m the person with the declined card.
If you were a Jewish holiday, which one would you be?
Yom Kippur. Because I’m always apologizing to someone and trying to avoid carbs.
What’s the best thing about yourself? What’s the worst?
I am extremely friendly and outgoing so I’ve always had a diverse range of friendships. My worst quality is probably that I’m not the most patient person, and I’m really hard on myself. Wait that’s two things. Maybe I should get back to you. But I’m a procrastinator, so I probably won’t. Whoops! That’s three.
As a kid, I acted in all the school plays and wanted to be a star on Broadway.
My life doesn’t have a lot of balance. At night, I’m out doing comedy–and in the morning, I’m dragging myself out of bed to get my girls to school on time. I love the contrast, though—going from working with a bunch of foul-mouthed comics at night to serving lunch in my daughter’s school the next day with the other Yeshiva moms.
"Gains fame with over the top humor!"