Kevin Scanlon

THE SCATHINGLY HILARIOUS and endearingly goofy Chelsea Peretti is a quadruple threat: writer, actor, podcast host, stand-up comedian. Her career has surged in recent years, with roles on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Kroll Show and a writing gig with Parks & Recreation, but she's no Janet-come-lately: She began paying her dues over a decade ago in New York as an improviser, stand-up, and writer. Peretti's currently touring to work on material that will culminate in the recording of an hour-long comedy special.

MERCURY: I imagine that between writing, acting, stand-up, and podcasting, you're really busy. Yet your Twitter persona seems impossibly bored.

CHELSEA PERETTI: Well, it's funny—I had a tweet, I can't remember exactly how I phrased it, that's kind of like what you're asking. It's like: "If there's one thing Twitter has taught us it's how much downtime celebrities have."

You're working on material for a special. Where are you going with it?

It's a tricky thing.... I've been working on a lot of material that I've never put on TV. There's some stuff that I'm reconfiguring.

For example: I'm now in love, and a lot of my previous material was about not being in love. There's that. And I also got a dog so I have a lot of talk about how people are about dogs. [Laughs]

There's a lot of stuff coming together about social anxiety. But I think that the hour I'm going to record is gonna involve a happier time in my life and I think it'll be interesting.

In researching I came across a bit in your material that went something like: "Relationships are someone watching you and connecting dots on all your flaws..." There was truth there, but it was really sad. Glad to know you're in a happier place.

Here's the thing: In my personal life I try to have a positive attitude and I try to make choices out of trust and love and all these things. But in stand-up, first of all, I don't think those things are as funny. It's not as funny to be like: "I'm in love and I'm happy!"

Sometimes those things can be funny and silly, but I feel like stand-up is a place for discussing your fears or for having catharsis, and other people find relief in that and feel like their dark thoughts are not crazy. It's a reductive thing, that way of talking about relationships, but comedy is reductive.

Obviously you're not just doing stand-up. How do those things stack up for you? Is stand-up the end all, be all?

No. Again, like, I don't feel like I have to choose. I feel like all these things really complement each other. I think that there are going to be people who want to come to my tour because they like my character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. There's definitely a lot of people who come because they listen to my podcast. We live in a time where you can be on four different tracks at once where they all feed each other. It's not, like, one specific path to take anymore.

And all those skills will help each other. Like, doing my podcast has made me more comfortable talking about an idea in my stand-up without feeling that I'm pressured to have an instant joke. I think they all kind of help each other.