From international performances to television shows, acting gigs, writing shows, and more, comedian Poppy Champlin’s career has been a thrilling ride. Now settled back in Rhode Island – the state where her comedy dreams were born – Champlin was recently inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame.
Before she was a comedian, Champlin was a theater major at the University of Rhode Island. “I was really into musical theater and musical comedy, and that was where I flourished,” she recalls. She once asked her director if she could do a monologue in a show, and after filling the speech with puns, it became a smash hit at her performances. “I felt that power, and that glee, and that unbelievable-ness you get from a whole room laughing,” she reflects. Knowing that stand-up comedy was burgeoning at the time, she decided to give it a try.
After graduating, Champlin embarked on her first comedy tour in Canada before taking improv classes at Chicago’s Second City Training Center. While studying, she performed in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, and then began racking up the miles on road tours. Eventually, she landed in Los Angeles, where she dove into the competitive Hollywood scene and studied acting at Larry Moss Studios. While the challenges were plenty, Champlin says, “When you nail something, it’s so rewarding.”
With the help of friends, she landed a spot on a Showtime special and became a writer for Show Me the Funny on Fox. But her career-spanning achievements don’t end there. She’s opened for big names like Ray Romano, Bill Maher, and Rosie O’Donnell, and performed at an extensive list of premiere comedy clubs such as The Comedy Cellar in New York City and Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. Her television appearances include The Oprah Winfrey Show, Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, LOGO, and The Joan Rivers Show, where she earned the title of America’s Funniest Real Woman by the comedian she considers a mentor. The designation landed her a feature on Entertainment Tonight. After coming out as a lesbian on stage in 2001, Champlin also created her own tour called The Queer Queens of Qomedy.
Since she’s been back in the Ocean State, Champlin has headlined a show at Theatre by the Sea and performed in Titanic the Musical at the Courthouse Center for the Arts. She continues to appear with The Queer Queens of Qomedy and perform at various spots, including Wakefield’s Pump House Music Works, where she also teaches eager students, putting aspiring talent on “the fast track” – and some of them are already making money doing stand-up.
On May 20, Champlin was inducted into the RI Comedy Hall of Fame, an award created by comic Joe Hebert. “As soon as I left URI, the goal was to make a living doing stand-up comedy, and here I am, living in RI and making a living off of stand-up comedy,” Champlin reflects, adding, “Yeah, it really is a good feeling.” Find upcoming appearances at PoppyChamplin.com
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