Tracy Morgan says in his classic 2010 stand-up special "Black and Blue" that "if you can take a dick, you can take a joke." I wanted to test that theory, so I tracked down Alia Janine, a former porn star currently trying to break into the stand-up circuit. As the 150 dirty movies she made during her career can attest to, Alia can take a dick just fine, but she's still relatively new to the comedy world.
When I reached out to her to set up this interview Alia told me it just so happened to be the night of her graduation performance from the Manhattan Comedy School at the Gotham Comedy Club, and would my wife and I like to attend? Having suffered through my fair share of painful open mic and new talent nights full of shitty comics with no delivery, I considered declining the invitation. But Alia assured me there were actually a lot of funny people in her class. She was sort of correct: of the 12 or so comedians, six were funny, two were bad, two were depressing, and two were just plain dreadful. Luckily, Alia was one of the funnier ones.
I called her the next day to discuss the transition from porn to comedy, to see what she missed most about her old job, bukake, and living near Jeffrey Dahmer.
VICE: Tracy Morgan once said, "If you can take a dick, you can take a joke." As a former porn star turned comedian, how has taking a dick helped you in comedy?
Alia Janine:Immensely. If it weren't for the dick I wouldn't be here today. But I have taken quite a few dicks and I'm pretty good at the jokes, too. Porn stars and comedians have a shitload in common and I have a joke about it in my act. If you haven't lived in misery or you've lived a perfect life you can't tell a joke or take a joke. Tragedy is comedy.
You started porn late, at age 30. Did you still deal with some doses of on set tragedy?
I've gotten ripped off before where I didn't get paid or the check bounced, but for the most part no. People would try to get me to do extra stuff without getting paid for it and I'd be like, "Why don't you pay me?" There's a reason I did what I did and why people do porn: they really like sex. I enjoyed different types of sexual experiences and different types of threesomes. One of my favorite threesomes was with me, Katie Summers, and Tiffany Star, who is a tranny. It was fun because I love girls but I also love dick, so it was a great combination.
How did the whole comedy thing come about?
The strip club I used to work at in Milwaukee had a comedy club underneath it called Jokers, so I went down there a lot and that's how I got into it. When I retired from porn and moved to Manhattan I started taking a bunch of classes at the Manhattan Comedy School, which hosted my graduation show that you have for this piece.
What's more stressful: doing stand-up in front of a crowd of people or having sex on camera in a room full of people?
Oh, definitely doing stand-up. My first-time porn experience was awkward because it was a solo masturbation scene and the camera guy was this really creepy Cuban dude who looked like he was from a 70s porno. Those masturbation scenes are always awkward because masturbation is something you usually do alone. But my first actual sex scene I didn't mind because someone else was there and I was having sex. Doing comedy is like being mentally naked. It takes some getting used to.
What do you miss most about the porn industry?
Having sex a lot more. I'm very particular, and in porn I'd work with a lot of the same guys, who were really fucking hot, and I'd be getting paid for it. I see some of these other women at bars who dress like strippers and act like whores and then they go around and talk shit about actual porn stars; it's just hilarious to me. It's like, "do you know you could get $300 for what you're doing for that shot?"
I did the simple math and you did 150 scenes in four years, which is roughly three scenes a month. Getting laid every ten days isn't really that impressive.
Well, I was having a lot of sex off camera with the people I was having sex with on camera.
Porn seems to have that sort of mafia quality with girls, where whenever you try to get out it pulls you back in. Do you think you'll ever go back?
A lot of people keep asking me that. They're waiting for a comeback, which is kind of sad and hilarious at the same time. I told them the only way I would come back is if they did a parody of Popeye and I was Olive Oil.
What if they offered to fulfill your other fantasy: a midget threesome.
Oh, comedian Brad Williams has already got that on lockdown! Next time I go to LA we're going to try and find another midget to have a threesome with. I have to do it now! I want it! It'd be fucking awesome. Who hasn't thought of a midget threesome? I would love to bang Peter Dinklage, but he's married.
There was a chance that you almost didn't make it out of Milwaukee. Didn't you tell me that you used to date Jeffrey Dahmer?
No, that's awkward. No, no. I have a vagina so I wasn't his type at all and I was just a little girl in middle school when all that happened. We'd see him in the neighborhood. My mom had spoken to him a couple of times. Dahmer lived in the same neighborhood as my mom's ex-boyfriend. They closed down the chocolate factory that he worked at and tore down the building that he lived in just to pretend like he never existed. It was weird. Milwaukee is a pretty gnarly city; people don't realize that. For a while we had the fourth highest murder rate per capita in the country. So hearing about people dying there isn't all that surprising, but hearing something like this, with a guy who ate people, was definitely a shock to the system. A serial killer is a hard thing for any city to deal with but when they're saving their body parts and eating them and having sex with them it's a little strange.
I'm surprised you don't have a Dahmer bit in your act.
I'm working on one. I have enough jokes for a whole hour but I have to pick and choose which ones I'm going to use for a five minute set. The Dahmer joke is how my mom always used to tell me she was so glad that I was a girl and her reasons were that she didn't have to deal with little boners and that I went to Catholic school and lastly because Dahmer was my neighbor so I was safe.
One of your other jokes is about bukake. Have you ever done that?
No. There are certain things, like bukake and gangbangs, that I wouldn't do no matter how much money I needed. I like to swallow but playing with the cum makes me gag.
What makes me gag is when all that cum mixes with the girls' makeup and turns a blackish/brownish color and then they drink it.
Oh yeah! They're covered in a lot of makeup. Like when I do cum swapping in a video I'm always the first one to take it and then spit it in the other girl's mouth because I would throw up. I've never told anyone this. I'm always like, "Yeah, I'll suck it out, I'm good at that." I totally took control every time I did that or else I'd be sick. I can handle blood and guts and brain matter splattered on a wall, but I can't handle swallowing cum if it doesn't come directly out of the penis.
What would you do if one of your old porn fans came to your comedy show and started beating off?
They'd probably get arrested. I'd be more embarrassed for them than for myself. I've had some of my fans come to my comedy stuff but never cum at my comedy stuff. They're cool guys. They always want to go and smoke a blunt afterward.