Jenna Kim Jones performing in a comedy show.
Jenna Kim Jones will perform in Newnan on July 1.

Jenna Kim Jones finds humor in her personal life. But even if you don’t have much in common with her, she’s confident you’ll find something to relate to in her stand-up.

The comedian, who resides in Peachtree City after a stint in New York and Los Angeles, has an upcoming show entitled “Jenna Kim Jones: Who Is She?!” at the Charles Wadsworth Auditorium in Newnan on July 1. Jones will be recording her new comedy album at the show, so come ready to laugh.

Ahead of the show, Rough Draft Atlanta got the chance to speak with Jones about her interesting upbringing, the differences between the New York and LA comedy scenes, and what she finds funny about her everyday life. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

I read that you were born in South Korea and then moved to the United States when you were a kid. I would love to hear about that experience. I imagine it was quite the shock. 

Jenna Kim Jones: Yeah, it was. I moved from South Korea – I was born in Seoul, and my family lived there and then I moved to Utah and did school in Utah. It was a jarring change. I went from being the odd one out to suddenly being like, oh hey – everyone here kind of looks like me, and I’m not as dumb as I thought I was! [Laughs] No, I loved it. And I love Korea. I still have family that lives there, I’m very connected to the country. 

I lived in Utah, and then moved from Utah to New York City when I was 18, and have lived all over since then. I’ve been in Georgia for six years. 

What prompted the move to Georgia?

Jones: My husband and I were in Los Angeles, and I had always kind of wanted to see what LA was like, see what the industry was like – the entertainment industry. I had started doing stand-up in New York and worked in TV in New York, and loved it. 

We met, we got married, and we thought, let’s just blow up our lives and move across the country. So we did. We were like, whatever! We just moved to LA with no connections, and my husband ended up getting a job out there, thank goodness. We really enjoyed it. We were there for five years, and I got to kind of see what the entertainment world was like. I got to do a little bit of writing and some performing. That’s really when my stand-up started to take off a little bit more. And then we found that I was really not in LA all that much anymore, just basically having to go to LAX a lot – which was a big pain for all of us. I also got pregnant, and we had our first baby. And then we got pregnant again, and we kind of went like okay – where can we find a place that’s sort of entertainment adjacent? [A place that] has a great airport, a place where my husband can work because his job was very flexible with location? And we found Georgia. We’re in Peachtree City. We were like, this is amazing! So we just took off – we decided we only do cross-country moves. We went New York, LA, LA back here to Atlanta. We keep it real simple [Laughs]. 

Going back to your journey with stand-up, was that something you were always interested in as a kid? Were you the class clown, or the funny kid? 

Jones: I did always love comedy. I didn’t think I was that funny. I was a pretty classic teenage girl, I would say as far as like, lots of feelings. My journals are horrific – I have a box of them in my closet, and I’m like, we should burn these. These should not be seen [laughs]. 

So I don’t think I was that funny, but I always loved comedy, so that is definitely something that was in my peripheral. I didn’t really know what opportunities were in comedy. I was not introduced to stand-up until I went to college in New York. And even then, I looked at it and went like, oh – that seems fun. But I didn’t ever connect the dots that I could do it. 

But when I was a teenager, I was obsessed with David Letterman, Jay Leno, all the late night talk shows that were really popular at the time. When I say their names, I feel old because they’ve all retired. But those were the guys that were doing late night when I was a kid. I actually got a bunch of silly jobs when I was in middle school and beginning of high school – like cleaning people’s houses – and I saved enough money so I could buy my own television, because my parents were like, we’re not buying your TV for your bedroom. And I was like, but I really want one, so I saved enough money to buy a TV so that I could watch late night comedy every night. It was in my mind. 

When I finally moved to New York, I went to college. I thought I would do performing – you know, go to New York, maybe Broadway. But I never really connected with it. I’m not really much of an actor, and I enjoy singing, but I wasn’t that good. So I didn’t do Broadway, and I decided, I’m just going to work in TV. I’ll major in producing and writing for TV. I did that, and I enjoyed it. I started working in TV, and then that’s when I saw tons of people I worked with – I worked at “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” – I saw tons of those people doing stand-up. It finally clicked in my dumb little brain, hey! You can do this! Then I started doing stand up there, and I immediately went like yes! This is exactly what I’m looking for! 

I know that you do clean comedy. Why was that important to you, or why did you lean that way?

Jones: Sure! So I’m LDS – I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. I don’t curse a lot. Not because I’m against it, I just am not good at it  [Laughs]. I sort of grew up this naive – and I mean that in a nice way … people would tease me, you’re just kind of a happy, nice person! That’s just who I am. So when I started doing comedy, it just didn’t fit me at all. I see a lot of my female counterparts, and they say stuff and I’m like, oh my goodness! I would never judge anybody, everybody gets to pick their own thing. It just fits my personality way better. I relate to it, I’m able to write so much more in my own voice that way. A lot of people call me the female Jim Gaffigan. 

Yeah, I saw that. 

Jones: I get that quite a bit, because I do a lot about food and family and kids and being a woman – well, he doesn’t do that, but you know – my perspective. But yeah, a lot of people will tease me, oh you’re kind of like the female Jim.

YouTube video

I noticed that in watching a lot of your stand-up. You talk a lot about your kids, and it felt very down to earth, in a sense. And I wondered, what is it that you find funny? What makes you laugh?  

Jones: I pretty much am constantly looking around. I’m very self deprecating, so I look at myself a lot and go like, hey – you’re kind of ridiculous. So I like to make fun of myself a lot [laughs]. 

I’m always looking. I’m always looking at like, what’s funny about this moment right here? What’s funny about the fact that I’m exhausted, and my kids are crazy, and I’m working like crazy? What can I find here that’s that little nugget of, oh yeah, we all feel that way sometimes, you know? I’m just always looking. I’m always piecing through my life. I take millions of notes. I used to have binders, but then once I got this iPhone however many years ago, I switched to Notes. I just always have a massive Note, and I will scroll through and be like, oh I remember that – that was a funny thing! And then I’ll try to write based on what weird stuff I see. 

You mentioned this earlier, the cross-country move from New York to LA. They both have pretty big comedy scenes. What are the sort of differences that you noticed in those two scenes, or did you enjoy one over the other?

Jones: Well, New York will always have my heart because that’s where I started. I feel like moving there at age 18, doing school, and then finding my first big job – I’m very sentimental about New York. So I will say, it will be my one true city love. But I did like moving to LA, because it did give a glimpse of the mechanics of the business a little bit more. I heard and saw a lot more about the behind the scenes of the entertainment industry, which I didn’t know a lot about. All my experience is in late night TV, so I knew about that, but I didn’t know a lot about sitcoms and agents and managers, and all these different things. I’ve always been independent, and so it was a really good learning experience for me. But I will say that I am definitely an East Coast, in my heart, gal. 

I feel the same way. You mentioned that when you were in LA, you weren’t really in LA. Does that mean you were always on the road, and is that still the case now or are you more at home?

Jones: I had just started working a lot more, so I was leaving LA regularly to go to stand-up all over the place. Now, I do travel quite a bit. I have three kids, [and] I’m pregnant. I’m having my fourth at the end of August. I am a very pregnant lady, and when I do the show on July 1, I will be huge. But you know, whatever [laughs]. I am excited about that.

With all my kids and the work that I do,  I try not to do, you know, full time stand-up. So I’m gone maybe two weekends a month – sometimes a little bit more if there’s a lot going on. But I’m definitely slowing down. This is my fourth child, and my pregnancy is a little like, you know – I’m past the 35 year mark, so when you go in, they make it very clear that you are an old pregnant lady [laughs]. 

I know you started a podcast in 2021. I would love to hear a little bit about that and what prompted the decision to get into podcasting? 

Jones: Well, we had actually done a podcast – we had one previously as well. So I’ve done a few podcasts. But the one my husband and I do right now is called Couple Friends. It’s basically he and I doing our relatable, down to earth thing, where we talk about whatever we want. We basically are your new favorite couple friends that you don’t actually have to hang out with, you know? You can turn us on when you’re doing the laundry, you can have it on in the car and your kids aren’t going to hear anything too shocking, I don’t think. We like to advertise ourselves as your new friends that you don’t have to hang out with regularly, just once a week. And we’re never going to ask you to babysit our kids, so it’s a win-win for you. 

Our show is really fun. We talk about all kinds of unusual news, we talk about what’s going on in our lives. We have a lot of topics that come in from our listeners – voicemails and text messages that people will call in or leave for us so that we can talk about things they want to hear about. It’s a really fun show, and it’s available everywhere podcasts are. 

I know you’ve worked in TV, but have you ever thought about extending into the sitcom world?

Jones: That’s definitely on the list someday. I love sitcoms. I’ve watched many, many of them, I love them. So a sitcom would be a big dream. I host a small cable TV show called “Random Acts.” It’s on BYU TV. It’s a really fun show where we do nice things for people. We prank people, but in a fun, happy kind way [laughs]. And that’s really fun. 

I love TV. I will always have my eye on television for sure. But stand-up for me is so much fun because I get to write whatever I want. I’m very much in control of it. When I stand on stage, I go like, hey – we’re going to talk about all this fun stuff that I want to talk about! There’s something about that that’s very addicting, and very fulfilling. 

Speaking of stand-up, what can you share with us about this upcoming show? 

Jones: Oh man, it’s gonna be great. We are going to be recording a new album at the show. So the show might be a little mix of some of my real classic stuff, and then it’s gonna be a ton of new stuff. I’ve been writing like crazy and practicing, and I’ve got all kinds of material from getting older, having kids, to family life, to friendships, to the world around us. It’s going to be a fun show. I’m excited about it. I’m excited that I get this opportunity. I’m excited that I’m doing it local. I’m going to be super out of breath, so everybody just needs to get over it now. [Laughs] I’m going to have a stomach out to wherever. I don’t know what I’m going to wear yet. I haven’t even started that journey. 

When you’re putting a show together, how do you pick and choose what goes where?

Jones: For me, it’s a months-long process really. I’ve been testing out new material in my shows that I’ve done these last six or so months – even longer, really. I’m always writing, so when I do a show I’ll pop in some new material, throw in a couple of new jokes, see how they do. And then I just build from there. 

A lot of this material is just from my personal life of observing what it’s like to be a woman these days, what it’s like to be a pregnant lady, what it’s like to have kids, and so much more. Regardless of who you are, and what you’re doing in your life, I believe you will find something in my show that you’ll go – I get that. I stand by that. There’s something for everybody. 

Tickets for Jenna Kim Jones’ show can be purchased online.

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.