Wendy Liebman has been performing her uniquely timed style of stand-up comedy since 1984 and is the only person in her family in show business. “My mother is a ventriloquist-but not professionally. For ten years I thought the dog was telling me to kill my father.” Waiting a beat, she adds, “I got my brother to do it.”
Originally from Long island, Wendy went to college in Boston (a school she refers to as I.O.U.) where she studied psychology and histrionics. Leafing through a catalog for continuing education that she found with some miss-delivered mail, Wendy got her start in stand-up by enrolling in a class called “How to be a Stand-Up Comedian” at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. She started doing open mike nights at Boston clubs including Stitches, The Comedy Connection and Catch a Rising Star and for the next six years performed throughout all of New England. “I kept my secretarial day job, though I would call in sick a lot. I would say I had “female problems.” My boss didn’t know I meant her.”
Wendy’s stock in trade is the one-liner with the subliminal afterthought. The effectiveness of her technique lies largely in the unexpectedness of her timing. The punchline invariably falls after the joke seems to be over. The Los Angeles Times Raves, “she’s a master of the throwaway line, making a perfectly rational observation, then adding almost subliminally the punchline which skews everything she has said before.”
In 1990, Wendy won the Johnnie Walker Red Comedy Competition semi-finals in Boston, and competed in the finals at LA’s famous Hollywood Improv. It was at this performance that she caught the eye of the talent coordinator of the Tonight. Show, who invited her to be one of Johnny Carson’s guests the following week. If that wasn’t thrilling enough, the whole episode was captured on a segment of CBS’ 48 hours.
Since then, Wendy has been a regular on The Late Show with David Letterman, and has appeared on the Tonight.Show with Jay Leno. Wendy has also been seen on Politically Incorrect, Dr Katz Professional Therapist, Louie Andersen’s comedy Showcase, The Daily Show, HBO’s Women of the Night, The RuPaul Show and Comic Relief Vll as well as Comic Strip Live, VH1 Stand-Up Spotlight, Evening at the Improv Caroline’s Comedy Hour and MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour.