Comedian Esther Povitsky taps her Skokie roots for Comedy Central special
Comedian and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" star Esther Povitsky is both quirky and brutal in her standup comedy. No one is safe -- especially when the Skokie native riffs on her family, her fiance and even her own name.
"I don't just sound like a Polish cabbage farmer, I sound like a very old Polish cabbage farmer," jokes Povitsky. "Whatever. I'm hot ... for my name."
"Esther Povitsky: Hot For My Name" is Povitsky's debut hourlong special for Comedy Central, which airs at 10 p.m. Friday, July 17. But Povitsky ensured that it wouldn't be a typical standup show.
"I wanted it to feel like a calling card for my voice in comedy and my point of view," Povitsky said in a phone interview. "Why not -- if possible -- include more than just standup?"
Since Povitsky used to livestream with her no-nonsense parents, Morrie and Mary, she roped them in, too. They're all filmed documentary-style in Povitsky's childhood home and other locations including the Skokie Public Library and the Dairy Star in Lincolnwood. Povitsky's parents also travel to New York to see her headline the Gotham Comedy Club and to meet with Comedy Central executives.
"The one setup thing we did ended up going off the rails," laughed Povitsky about a scripted moment when her parents refused to play along. "They're not actors, they're two senior citizens in Skokie, Illinois. You don't want to set them up, you just want them to be themselves."
As for her standup segments, Povitsky also veered toward reality. Instead of wearing the same outfit to tape multiple standup shows to give the illusion of a single TV performance, Povitsky wore different outfits and hairstyles over the course of four filmed dates at the Dynasty Typewriter in Los Angeles.
"Hot For My Name" also blossoms into the realm of Hollywood fantasy. There's a musical comedy sequence to poke fun at Povitsky's successful acting work in sitcoms.
Along with playing Maya on The CW's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" for four seasons, Povitsky played a version of herself for two seasons on "Alone Together." It was a Freeform sitcom Povitsky co-created and co-starred in alongside Benji Aflalo.
Povitsky currently plays Izzy Levine opposite "2 Broke Girls" star Kat Dennings in "Dollface." The Hulu series was renewed for a second season, but production has stopped because of the coronavirus.
"Everything's really changing," Povitsky said. "I'm not going to sit around to wait for things to get back to normal."
While she's in lockdown, Povitsky has pivoted toward recording podcasts. Also, she has been making tie-dye creations for charity at the site sleepover-by-esther.myshopify.com.
"I'm in absolutely no position to do any live performing -- certainly not for the rest of the calendar year," Povitsky said. "But considering the circumstances, I'm so grateful that (the Comedy Central special) gets to come out."
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"Esther Povitsky: Hot For My Name"
Airs at 10 p.m. Friday, July 17, on Comedy Central