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Make ’em laugh! Mascio exploring career in comedy

Apr 21, 2023
3 min Read
Cindy Murphy McMahon
Brittany Mascio

Who knew that being the class clown in high school might signal a calling? Brittany Mascio, BA’11, graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in journalism and immediately began a successful, creative career.

She worked in Omaha for eight years with Just Jump Films, an award-winning production company funded by the Sherwood Foundation that specializes in stories about public schools. Eventually becoming director of impact and marketing, she wrote more than 100 digital shorts, participated in more than 400 interviews, and co-produced eight documentary features, many of which were selected for U.S. and Canadian film festivals.

She also developed impact campaigns and orchestrated screening tours for films addressing such issues as poverty, English language learners and mental health.
One project she is especially proud of is the widely acclaimed I Love Public Schools campaign, which included I Love Public Schools Day, a celebration nationally recognized by some 3 million people.

“Every time I spotted someone in an airport wearing an I Love Public Schools T-shirt or heard my voice on our commercials, I beamed with pride knowing our team had made a significant impact on support for public education,” Mascio says.

I’d watched standup forever and I liked the idea of gifting someone a genuine belly laugh, and that became a cool thing to strive for.
— Brittany Mascio, BA’11

She then began working with BrightFocus Foundation, which funds research to defeat Alzheimer’s and other diseases. One of her projects is helping produce a live talk show series, Brain Info Live, that blends entertainment and cutting-edge research.

But there was another creative outlet that kept whispering in her ear, “Hey, you’re pretty funny.”

She says, “Being funny and telling stories have been a part of me since I was little,” adding that she comes from a “big and loud Italian family,” and usually found herself gravitating to the adult table.

“Whenever we had family, friends or neighbors over, my mom used to say, ‘Brittany, tell everybody that story,’ and I would immediately start storytelling.
“I come alive a little bit more when I share a story.”

One day her brother, Nick Mascio, BA’14, reminded her that comedy was something inside her all along. After all, she had been the class clown in high school. She had to agree that was true.

She began letting the idea ruminate. It felt good. She was funny. She liked making people laugh.

“I’d watched standup forever,” she says, “and I liked the idea of gifting someone a genuine belly laugh, and that became a cool thing to strive for.”

She became involved with Omaha’s comedy scene and helped plan last summer’s Omaha Comedy Fest, which drew more than 70 acts at multiple venues, including Amber Ruffin, head writer of Late Night with Seth Meyers. Mascio made her own debut, taking the stage for her first official performance. This year, in addition to performing, she will be the festival communications director.

Brittany Mascio
Brittany Mascio, BA'11, at the the Backline Comedy Theatre in Omaha.

She did something else in 2022. She decided to make a big move — from Omaha to Los Angeles — to explore a career in comedy.

“Moving to L.A. feels like the right step in the right direction,” she says. She’s continuing other creative work, but she’s diving head first into the comedy scene.

She took classes at the renowned Westside Comedy Theater, performs almost weekly at open mic nights, and has been accepted into a six-month intensive program that involves creating a one-hour comedy show.

She describes her humor as “effervescent and goofy,” and favorite topics include life in transition, mental health and family ties.

A recent show opener that brought a big laugh was, “Hi, I’m Brittany, and thank you so much for letting me out tonight — the #FreeBritney movement worked! When you free one of us, you free all of us!”

Most of her storytelling is “offbeat and observational, and often includes a silly story” from her life. Her college days often make the cut, including amusing anecdotes about being a member of Blue Crew.

Does she ever get performance anxiety? Sure, but she talks about it as part of her act, and the more she learns about the “sport” of comedy, “the more I remember I’m putting my reps in. Every set is just another rep. It helps me remember to try my best and not be so hard on myself.”