Comedian, writer, and actress Giulia Rozzi (Vh1, Chelsea Lately, Moth Grand Slam Champion) first came to 826NYC in July 2015 for her volunteer orientation. In December of the same year she generously offered to perform at, and put together the line-up for, our annual benefit comedy show, Stand Up for 826NYC (January 31st at the Bell House). She’s brought together a fantastic group of some of New York City’s best and up-and-coming comedians, including Maeve Higgins, Chris Gethard, Naomi Ekperigin, Seaton Smith, Chris Donnelly, and Katina Corrao. She was kind enough to answer some of our questions about volunteering, writing, and storytelling.
1. What made you want to start volunteering at 826NYC?
I was getting sick of complaining about all the awful things in the world and wanted to actually use my time to do something rather than just posting all-caps rants on Facebook. I believe that supporting and educating youth is a huge part of making the future better (cue Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love Of All”).
2. You’ve been a Moth Grand Slam champion and you host one of the longest running storytelling shows, Stripped Stories. How have storytelling skills helped you outside the world of storytelling? In other words, what sorts of skills and advantages do you think a person might gain from learning how to write and tell stories from a young age?
Storytelling can help boost confidence and be a great tool for healing. I also think it strengthens the “detective” part of your brain. It makes you go deep into the why and how of things. Also, any practice a person can get speaking in front of others is great for future jobs and whatnot.
3. You’ve written for magazines such as Esquire online, Playgirl, Glamour, BUST magazine, and more. Were there people who served as mentors to you early on? And how did they help your writing?
In high school I wrote a poem about growing up for our school literary magazine and then the principal read it, unbeknownst to me, at graduation. It was a huge moment for me. It let me know that I have an audience and that my words can affect people. Now, it’s my fellow writers and comedians that are my mentors. I feel comfortable getting feedback on my writing from them and I am inspired by their writing.
4. If you could give a young, aspiring storyteller/writer one thing — whether it be advice, attention, confidence, a comprehensive grasp of grammar, etc — what would it be?
Confidence for sure! Fear destroys, confidence is what creates. When you feel confident your work and art is better and you feel more free to express yourself in a genuine way.
Get your tickets to Stand Up for 826NYC here. 100% of ticket sales will go towards our programming, which gives under-resourced students the audience and confidence they need to become great writers and storytellers.
You can read more about Giulia Rozzi at her website here.