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Esther Povitsky on Hulu’s Dollface, Her New Standup Set, and Where She Finds Creative Inspiration

The comedian to watch also shares the joy and importance of working in female-dominated spaces

Esther Povitsky Interview
Esther Povitsky, photo courtesy of New York Comedy Festival
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    “I went to Whitney Cummings’ Halloween party last night,” Esther Povitsky is saying over Zoom from Los Angeles. She’s referring to the leftover braids loosely tied in her hair. “I ate way too much popcorn… I have a hangover from eating popcorn.”

    Popcorn hangovers aside, the very busy Povitsky is killing it. She might prefer to go by Little Esther, but her recent presence across projects has been anything but. She took off as a scene-stealer on the beloved CW series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend before launching a Freeform show based on her short film Alone Together.

    These days, she can be found in Hulu’s wonderfully surreal Dollface and co-hosting the podcast Trash Tuesday — and, in her free time, she’s consulting for the iCarly reboot on Paramount Plus.

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    Still, the actress, writer, and comedian isn’t letting her first love — standup — fall to the wayside amid these many projects. Ahead of a headlining show at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on Sunday, November 14th as part of the New York Comedy Festival, Povitsky joined Consequence to discuss sharpening her new material, along with a peek into Season 2 of Dollface.

    She explains that she sees her skillsets cross-pollinating right now, and that while her work on Dollface (scripted) is vastly different from honing a standup set, the two keep each other sharp in a way. “They’re two completely different jobs, but getting on stage and testing out material helps me keep my comedy beats and my timing in tune,” she says. “Then, just being on the show has given me new life experience to draw from.”

    For anyone that has yet to jump into Dollface, now is the perfect time to catch up while filming for the second season is underway. Povitsky appears alongside Kat Dennings, a sterling Brenda Song, and Shay Mitchell, who portray a friend group in a time of reconciliation shot through a chaotic, absurdist lens. Executive produced by Margot Robbie, Dollface feels like a necessary exploration of female friendship, a tender but honest peek into the complicated highs and lows of existing in your twenties.

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    According to Povitsky, the friendships seen on screen on Dollface aren’t a big reach. “I feel like they cast us as a real-life friend group,” she says. “This season, in particular, we were just all so comfortable with each other.”

    She emphasizes, more than once, the joy of working in multiple female-heavy spaces. In addition to Dollface, she hosts Trash Tuesday with two other women, Annie Lederman and Khalyla Kuhn. Povitsky is big on manifesting, and she feels like this era of her life is something she’s wanted for a very long time.

    It’s no secret that standup tends to be a very male-dominated space, and she’s thrilled to look around and see herself surrounded by other witty, talented women. “Standup was so many men, and so many older men, and that was my peer group for a few years… which just felt so weird and wrong,” she says. “This is playtime. It’s just so much more fun for me.”

    While Povitsky is fairly tight-lipped about the details of her upcoming set as part of the New York Comedy Festival, a festival she’s performed in many times over the past decade, she does reveal that her current work breaks new ground for her. She says she found herself digging into things she wasn’t quite ready to discuss, but wanted to explore through comedy. “​​It might need a trigger warning,” she says, referring to her decision to unpack a traumatic experience from the past year of her life in this new set.

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    A self-described “inspiration addict,” Povitsky says she can feel creatively impacted by even the smallest things (“an outfit, a color, an oat milk latte”) but, most of all, loves soaking up other people’s creative energy. “I love being around a person that makes me not want to be more like them, but makes me want to be more like my true self.”

    Tickets for the New York Comedy Festival can be found on Ticketmaster.

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