January 28, 2020

Jenny Zigrino gets her ‘half hour’ of fame

A decade of stand-up comedy gigs and acting performances has finally paid off for Jenny Zigrino. Comedy Central has scheduled her for a half-hour episode, airing on Sept 22, that will showcase her mix of sharing personal experiences and commenting on current events.

Zigrino’s earning of an episode on “The Half Hour” series of up-and-coming comedic talent recognizes the progress she’s made from her work in clubs, on TV shows and in movies. It also puts her closer to her other dreams — creating and starring in a funny, history-themed television show; moving back to Boston, where she once lived; and buying an old Colonial home.

If you want to see the show, you may want to set your DVR. It’s scheduled to air at 12:30 a.m. Pacific time.

Zigrino, 30, lives in “sweet Echo Park” with her pug-chihuahua mix, Lupe. Comedy Central flew her to New Orleans for the show’s taping.

“It was so fun,” she said. “New Orleans is amazing. It was hard not to stuff my face full of good food and get drunk. I kept the party going pretty light until my show, and then I partied very hard.”

Zigrino started doing stand-up in Boston when she was 21 and in college. She has been busy ever since. She performed on “Conan” and “Adam Devine’s House Party,” and released a web series for IFC called, “The Filling is Mutual.”

Last year, she received a coveted spot on the “New Faces” show at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, and she was in the movies “50 Shades of Black” and “Bad Santa 2.” Earlier this year, she released her first recording, “JZ’s New Album,” on Stand Up! Records.

To prepare for her Comedy Central show, Zigrino said she did “a lot of writing and rewriting and practicing. I did it in 10-minute increments versus doing the whole half hour. I built it from there.” Her show largely draws from material she has honed in her performances around Los Angeles, mostly at the Hollywood Improv on Melrose Avenue.

Zigrino tours frequently, doing stand-up. She recently appeared in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Lake Tahoe, N.Y., and Manchester, N.H. — all in a month. She also visited Minnesota and Boston, the two places where she grew up.

Zigrino said she loves learning about American history and Colonial culture. “I want to dress up in Colonial costumes and live my life that way. My dream is to have everything historically accurate in my house and just hang out there.”

She even has brought her enthusiasm for Americana into her stand-up act. She has a new bit about President Donald Trump’s transgender ban for the military and how women used to dress up like men to go to battle.

“We used to cross-dress to go fight in wars,” she said. “Almost 1,000 women fought in the Civil War and died as guys. I’m a complete coward. I hid during the mile run in high school.”


Zigrino, whose mother is Jewish and father is Italian, was raised in a Reform Jewish household and celebrated the High Holy Days with her family. She brings Jewish material into her act, as she did on “Conan” in talking about her friend with benefits, who happened to be her Chasidic landlord.

“He used to talk dirty to me in Yiddish,” she said on “Conan.” “I loved it. I feel like that girl who just found out she likes to be choked, but it’s by 5,000 years of Jewish culture.” 

Zigrino also has a bit about “trying to harvest my Jewish eggs because they are worth $30,000. But I was too fat,” she said. “You have to be within a certain [Body-Mass-Index range] and, apparently, I’m morbidly obese. Even the $30,000 didn’t convince me to lose weight. I guess I’ll have my fat babies all to myself.”

Zigrino said she is culturally Jewish but is exploring her heritage. She even signed up for JDate recently, but she “will probably delete it in a week.”

And when she turns 32, she said, she is finally going to have a bat mitzvah — 20 years after she was supposed to prepare for one.

Her guests may want to start looking around now for where they’re going to get their petticoats and breeches.

“It’s going to be a Colonial-themed bat mitzvah,” she said. “Everyone has to come dressed period-appropriate.”