New York University, Tisch School of the Arts - Double Major, Drama and Political Science
University of Sydney, Australia - Performance Studies
Alisha Gaddis is that girl who seems to have it all — wit, a do-it-all spirit, the kind of brain you want to pick, and a personality that really is genuinely nice. As a stand-up comedian, actress, writer, founder and CEO of Say Something Funny…B*tch and co founder and performer in Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, there is no goal Alisha is too shy to chase or challenge that seems too grand to overcome. Because when you have focus and passion like Alisha, your dreams can come true.
If her lengthy résumé above isn't enough, then maybe this is. Alisha has performed all over the globe — from the Broadway theatres of New York City to Australia's Sydney Opera House. She also appears regularly on Comedy Talk network, MTV, AMC and the Comedy Central Stage. You can currently spot her on stage at the Improv Olympic West, the World Famous Comedy Store on Sunset, Stand-up new York, Gotham Comedy Club, among others. She has opened for everyone from Drew Carey to Sarah Silverman, and recently received a Producers Guild of America Nomination for the hit comedy series she stars in, "Consultants."
Alisha also takes the stage as a performer in the hit kindie group, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. The band, which she started with her fiancé, is currently No. 1 on Sirius XM radio and was listed as USA Today's Best New Artist of 2010.
Alisha created Say Something Funny…B*tch first as a stand-up comedy show in Hollywood featuring the best female talent around. It has since evolved to an online magazine featuring some of the freshest (and funniest) content on the Web.
When not working one of her five jobs, Alisha enjoys spending time with her soon-to-be-husband, soon-to-be-stepdaughter, and family and friends. She also loves traveling, adventure and a robust glass of Cabernet.
Action provokes action. Creativity breeds creation.
How did you discover your current job?
I made up each and every job I have!
actSay Something Funny...B*tch started because I knew a gazillion female comics busting their booties around town getting stage time. I was one of them; we were working the stand-up circuit like Macy’s Santa on Christmas Eve! The women were genius, hilarious and smart. I knew we needed a bigger platform to be seen and heard. I wanted to create a synergy around this concept. Women everywhere need a site that is just for them. SSFB covers reality TV, politics, movies, parenting tips, relationship advice, funny recipes and much, much more. It is sassy, funny, fresh -- and for a woman who deserves it all.
My fiancé and I made up Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band together! He already was a tremendous session musician and singer, and I was coming from a performance background (performing on Broadway, at the Sydney Opera House and on multiple television shows). We wondered, "How can we do what we love -- together? How can we travel, perform and create -- as a unit?" Our band was built out of love for each other and from a love of wanting to make music for kids that didn’t suck.
My writing, solo performance career and entrepreneurial endeavors follow the same formula. My daddy always says, “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself." I know this to be true, and I also know you must surround yourself with other creative, hard-working, tremendous people. Action provokes action. Creativity breeds creation. And I never let anyone tell me no! (And if they do, I don’t believe them!)
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
Well, I am currently typing this in a bathrobe in my living room at 3:17 p.m. on a Tuesday. I just flew in last night from Reno; we had a Family Jam Band show at the Lake Tahoe Family Festival. It was beautiful and sheer delight! We are on the road a lot; I love it!
9 a.m. this morning: I woke up and immediately started editing and posting articles for Say Something Funny…B*tch. (I fielded phone calls while I worked). Then I moved on to check voice mails, multiple email accounts and update different Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.
12:37 p.m.: I did some rewrites for my literary agent for one of my children’s books. We are waiting on a contract negotiation to go through for a different book. I am always writing something!
1:15 p.m.: I had a short phone call with the director of the new film I have been cast in. It's going to be hilarious!
1:30 p.m.-ish: Remembered to eat some lunch. During my meal, I sent several emails to different vendors for my wedding that is approaching in eight months (eek!). This is probably one of the biggest projects I have ever worked on -- who knew?!
2:00 p.m.: Sent out a reminder deadline email to some of the segment writers for a pilot that I am co-producing.
2:34 p.m.: Worked on sides for an audition I have tomorrow.
2:54 p.m.: Filled out two contracts for upcoming Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band shows. We are headed up to San Francisco soon to play a show sponsored by the Smithsonian and then down to play with the Marine Corp Band for the USO troop’s kids. What an honor!
3:00 p.m.: Hopped in the shower.
3:07 p.m.: Started this article.
I feel as if my day is just kicking off! And there is HEAPS more on my self-made to-do list. Every day is different, an adventure, a delight. I couldn’t be more thankful!
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
Most Rewarding: The satisfaction of knowing that I am living my dream. My personal dream. I am an artist. I create, write, sing, dream, do, challenge, dare, laugh, work, hope. I ultimately control my own "career" destiny. If I stopped tonight most of my projects would be over. For good. There is a freedom and a fear in that.
Most Challenging: See "Most Rewarding."
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
This is a tough one. It ebbs and flows a bit, too. For quite some time, I had to sacrifice financial security, but that wasn’t forever (thank goodness). I also have sacrificed location, family and "giving in." Sometimes I think, "Wouldn’t it just be easier to have a 9 to 5 life?" Then, I look at myself (currently in my bathrobe at 3:43 p.m.), shake my head and know the answer.
And let me say this as well -- I have never once sacrificed Self. I have had to do things: take any part-time job I could get (sometimes a few at a time), live off white rice and soy sauce packets, miss a best friend’s wedding -- all of it -- in order to be where I am now. Even when I did not know how ... I knew I could, and that I would.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
My dad is a football coach and growing up, he would forever chant mottos to us: "Work Wins," "There is No 'I' in Team," and my personal favorite, "Practice Like a Champion -- Today." And I do. Every day I try to be my best self. Whatever that means today.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
There was an amazing push for women’s equality in the '70s. Now in 2011, there is a push for not only equality in the workplace -- but to be beautiful doing it. Women see and feel the pressure of how the media presents them: You should be the CEO of your own company, but do it while being fit, fabulous, a mother of two and a strong, caring partner. There are huge expectations placed upon what being a women means in today’s society. There is the push to be strong, but not too strong. Feminine, but not too feminine. The dynamics have shifted and it is confusing. I think we don’t talk about it enough.
Currently, I am reading the book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" by Peggy Orenstein. It's about raising girls in a media-saturated world and how we have been affected by the Disney princess culture. As women, I think it is important we know what message we are sending to our children.
Yes, I think you can be fit, fabulous, a mother, wife, entrepreneur, CEO and head of the PTA -- all while wearing sexy, red pumps; we just need to know why we are doing it. Are we doing these things because we want to, or because we think we are supposed to? There is power in that that will translate to any career path.
Who are your role models?
Lucille Ball, Amy Sedaris, Hillary Carlip, Bette Midler, Maya Angelou, Picasso, Thomas Edison (I still cannot get over how many times the light bulb failed!), my friends, my family and my fiancé. There are many.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Live with reckless abandon.
Open their mouths with laughter -- for then, it is wide enough to pour the castor oil down.
Kill ‘em with kindness.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Your path is never what you thought it would be. I started off doing theatre, then moved to television, then stand-up, back to theatre, then writing, then performing in a band, then working in media and fashion, then performance art, then started producing shows and hosting, then worked as an online content provider, then back to performing, and now I run a company, perform in a kid’s band, do stand-up and write books … and it keeps going and changing!
Keep an open mind. And say YES! If you ask the Universe, it will provide. It may not be in the form that you thought it would; instead it may be the gate into the secret garden that you never even knew existed!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Oh I am just fabulous! Our band has already won a Grammy. Many of my books have been published and are best-sellers! My book tours have worked perfectly in tandem with our band’s international tour. We now live part-time in the United States and part-time in Europe (I LOVE our little villa in Tuscany!). Say Something Funny…B*tch has exploded and the staff has doubled in size. I am thrilled that all the girls working on and for it can make their living doing what they love. (I also am thrilled that they have full health care and we have an awesome nursery in our rad offices -- just in case!) The Card Company (under the SSFB umbrella) is now being carried in multiple boutiques and has a massive following. All the acting endeavors I am working on are with the most wonderful, creative people! Plus, they are extremely successful artistically and fiscally. I also am very happily married (thank you), and have a beautiful, bouncing baby (or two)! I am so thankful that all the goals I have worked on manifesting have come into fruition! I am living a succulent, juicy, happy life!
(See! It is so important to think BIG, and don’t let anyone look down upon it!)
Is there anything else you would like to add?
After running errands, fielding more emails, making time to exercise and then slightly tidying the house -- this article was finished at 7:23 p.m. Tuesday night.
I still have 18 million things that I WANT to do. That inspire me. That make me feel alive.
Joseph Campbell was right: We must follow our bliss!