As the host of the MTV and Snapchap show “Girl Code,” Carly Aquilino is one of comedy’s fastest rising stars, jumping from first-timer to headliner in five years. She returns to Helium Comedy Club for three nights of stand-up comedy Oct. 19-21. During a recent phone interview, Aquilino talked about her inspirations, transitioning “Girl Code” from cable TV to social media, and her experiences as a female in the entertainment industry.
Question: What kinds of things inspired your sense of humor when you were younger?
Answer: My family always watched stand-up comedy. My parents were always huge fans. Even when they were dating, they always went to comedy clubs in New York City and Long Island, where they’re from. I came from a household who were fans of comedy. My parents really loved Kevin James before he was on “King of Queens,” and they would go to see Gallagher, who’s very old school. I always liked stand-up and was always a huge fan of it. I didn’t start writing jokes until I was in high school, and I would just write about my daily problems, whether I was having boy problems or friend problems. Which is kind of ironic, because that hasn’t necessarily changed since I was a teenager (Laughs).
Q: When did you first get on stage?
A: I was 21 when I first started doing stand-up, so it’s been about five years. I’ve wanted to do it for so long but never had the nerve to. Getting up on stage for the first time is the scariest part, and then it was like, “Alright, at least I know what I’m getting myself into.”
Q: How do you work to expose “Girl Code” to a bigger audience, especially now when there’s so much content and entertainment that wants our attention?
A: “Girl Code” was on MTV for a few years, and now it’s on Snapchat. We did film the last season just for (that). I do think social platforms are taking off in a different way. People are watching things on their phones more often now. Especially with the Snapchat series; they’re interesting because they’re very quick videos, but you can do a whole show on Snapchat. You can get it out to a lot more people who may not have cable. That’s just something that’s changed over the past few years. It’s cool, and I always like to do “Girl Code.” It’s something that gave women and female comedians a nice platform and voice we can send out. We hope that it would resonate with people, and I think it really did.
Q: In the last few weeks, the news has been dominated by Harvey Weinstein and how women are treated in the entertainment industry. Do you have any perspective to share about your own experiences?
A: Being a female in the comedy industry is definitely difficult, but I’ve worked with such a great group of people in my career that I’ve been very fortunate with that. I’ve always felt very well respected and heard. I’m really lucky and fortunate that I’ve never been a situation where somebody’s tried to take advantage of me in some way. I really feel for the women going through these things, because they’ve been silenced in a way because they’re scared they’ll be blocked out of the industry. It’s really disheartening to see how many people are speaking out about it, but it’s also empowering that women are coming out and are not afraid. They feel they are now able to talk about these things that have happened to them.
8 p.m. Oct. 19 and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Oct. 20-21 at Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St.). Tickets are $18-$24. Info: buffalo.heliumcomedy.com