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Funny female: Linwood comedienne diversifying to get more laughs

Friday, March 20, 2015 12pm
Written by: S. Tracey

Michelle Tomko's love of comedy began when she couldn't sleep.

She watched Johnny Carson at night with her mother, claiming she was a light sleeper growing up near Cleveland. But what she really wanted to see was Joan Rivers filling in for Carson. It was Tomko's must-watch program.

Rivers and Kathy Griffin are among Tomko's comedic idols, along with Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K.

These days, Tomko, of Linwood, is striving for that same level of stardom. As an up-and-coming comedian, she is trying to make it in a field that is often indifferent to her efforts.

"I can go on Netflix and watch Jay Black for free. Live entertainment is, you know, struggling a little bit," said Tomko, 43. "Not for the big stars, though. I've just been trying to find alternative things to get myself out there."

Atlantic City has seen its share of famous females with comedic chops in the past months. Chelsea Handler performed in November, the "Queen of Mean" Lisa Lampanelli was here in February, and Griffin performed a comedic set at the Borgata Events Center earlier this month.

Those women have national and international fame for their in-your-face brand of comedy. Tomko has worked for several years trying to make her own brand, although she and others in the local comedy scene say it's tough for area acts, particularly women, to get a lot of stage time.

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