When Ellie McElvain SC ’14 won “most likely to be a comedian” in her high school senior superlatives, she had no idea how quickly that prediction would come true.
As of now, the Scripps College junior has interned for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, has written for the website Hello Giggles and was awarded a spot on the list “Best Tweets: What Women Said on Twitter This Week ” by The Huffington Post.
McElvain is also co-President of the 5C Late Night Stand-Up Comedy Club, which performs small shows every Friday as well as two larger, produced shows a month.
McElvain’s interest in stand-up comedy started while she was in high school, with her involvement in the speech team and some limited experience in an improv group. As a first-year at Scripps, she auditioned for Without A Box, the 5C improv group. While McElvain said it is important to note that she got called back, ultimately she was not chosen, something she joked she is now “totally fine with.”
McElvain admitted that she was “bummed out” by the decision, because she had “always been an attention-loving, goofy person” and she felt the need to express that. Soon after, she found a fledgling stand-up club, and she realized it was her only option since they were the only people “willing to put up with her.”
This young stand-up group soon became what is now the 5C Late Night Stand-Up Comedy Club. McElvain admitted that the club started out with performances taking place in a Pitzer College dorm, filled with friends who were either nice enough, or just drunk enough, to listen. The group has expanded in the past three years to form a legitimate stand-up comedy scene at the 5Cs.
Also during her first year at Scripps, McElvain met a friend who was using his Twitter account only for jokes.
“This was a radical idea for me,” McElvain said, “but it made so much sense and so I slowly started phasing out uninteresting parts of my life from my Twitter account and started to replace them with jokes.”
Over time, she gained a large following and became an integral part of the huge community on Twitter that uses the social networking site as a platform for comedy. McElvain has over 4,700 followers on Twitter who await her next 140-character joke. She tweets at least once a day, but based on her “boredom” she may tweet more.
When asked why she enjoys tweeting so much, McElvain said, “it is incredible instant gratification. You are not able to get attention 24 hours a day in real life, yet on Twitter I am able to tweet something and then instantly see people liking it, retweeting it, and commenting on it. It’s perfect for someone like me who loves attention.”
In May 2012, McElvain was chosen as one of the Best Female Tweeters according to The Huffington Post, a title she said made her feel “super flattered.”
“I think Twitter is an incredible place for budding comedians,” she said, “because it has been an equal place for both female and male writers. In the past, comedy has been dominated by males, but Twitter is starting to change that.”
Through the connections she made through her Twitter account, this summer McElvain had the opportunity to intern for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in New York City.
“It was the coolest thing ever,” she said. “It gave me the chance to see people who are actually able to make a living for comedy. There they were right next to me, and it made my dreams seem a little bit more possible.”