Can Taylor Tomlinson Have It All and a Life, Too?

Can Taylor Tomlinson Have It All and a Life, Too?

When her mother died, her father remarried 10 months later. At the time, Tomlinson didn’t think that was too soon, but as she got older, her mind-set shifted. “I’ve said to him as an adult: I wished you waited longer for us. He did not agree with me.”

She described her childhood relationship with her father as rocky but felt on more solid ground after doing stand-up. “When I could do this trick, when I was a good performer, he was interested. And he was impressed. And I was somebody worth paying attention to.”

In her telling, her father was a performer, a singer, who chose having a family and stable career as a teacher over pursuing his dreams. She was on the same path, she said, explaining that her entire family got married between the ages of 18 and 22. That was her plan, too. In college, she imagined marrying her religious boyfriend, having children and doing standup on the side. When her future husband broke up with her, he told her that she should keep doing comedy. It’s a conversation she describes as formative, but not as much as her next boyfriend, a comic, saying she was funny but didn’t work hard enough. “He’s very funny and talented and I have a lot of jokes about him,” she said. “Got a lot of closers out of that guy.”

Her career took off soon after she left school for the college stand-up circuit, which led to a stint on “Last Comic Standing.” At 23, she was booked on “Conan” and received a network development deal. Tensions between her past and future emerged. She lost a church gig over this tweet: “I’m a wild animal in bed, way more afraid of you than you of me.” She eventually quit Twitter and stopped doing church gigs.

Her first exposure on Netflix, a 15-minute set in the 2018 series “The Comedy Lineup,” was a turning point for her career and her relationship with her father and stepmother. “They liked the success but they didn’t like what I was saying,” she said. “They loved when I was clean. And when I did the 15 minutes, they were disappointed.”

Over the past year, she’s examined this part of her life in therapy and locates a lot of her trouble here. “There were times when I felt my self-worth is so tied up in this job and what I could do and why is that?” she said, then added, referring to her father, “A big part of it is I felt it impressed.”

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