D’yan Forest’s decision to collect laughs as a standup comic when most women her age were collecting Social Security was no joke!
At 88, the Boston-born, longtime New Yorker has officially been named the “world’s oldest female comedian,” and may be an anomaly — but she’s nobody’s punchline!
“I’m pleased I can show that as an older person you don’t need to take a back seat in life,” the former cabaret star said of her late-in-life move into comedy.
The geriatric funny lady will be bringing her new act, “Swinging on the Seine,” to the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea on June 12 with material as fresh and unique as seeing a near 90-year-old lady leaving audiences doubled over in laughter.
The funny lady often gets laughs just by walking into the clubs — where many in the audience are still stunned to see her take the stage!
“It’s hard enough to break through as a woman, even harder as someone old enough to be their grandmother,” she says of skeptical audiences. “My first line is, “Hello, everybody. I’m 88 and three‑quarters years old. I’m telling you that in case I don’t make it all the way through the show.
“Then people laugh — and I relax.”
Like many Manhattanites, the devastating attacks on the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center had a profound effect on D’yan, who had already racked up an impressive career as a performer who had graced stages from Boston to Paris before the horrific event motivated her to bring her unique humor to the world.
“I’ve worked as a singer, actor and musician – but all that came to an end after 9/11,” she says. “I live in New York, and we watched the twin towers fall from my apartment building. For a year afterwards, nobody wanted to go out or be entertained.
After getting up some nerve she took a few classes, worked up an act and she’s one of comedy’s rising stars — as she approaches her ninth decade on earth!
With her trademark ukulele, D’yan now takes center stage, alongside other impressive acts including Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan at some of the industry’s top venues from Joe’s Pub, to the New York Comedy Club — and next…Gotham. In recent years she has performed on SNL, Comedy Central, France’s Incredible Talent, The Drew Barrymore Show and written a book of her unique experiences called, I Did it My Ways.
And despite her grandmotherly looks — she can get a bit bawdy — earning the nickname “The Naughty Betty White.”
“I’m more of a puritan in real life, but I have an onstage persona,” she admits. “One thing that has surprised me is the number of young men who hit on me after a show.
“They often ask me out and it’s not my brain they’re after.”
D’yan’s enjoying a bit of a comeback after heart surgery last year, which not surprisingly, didn’t slow her down a bit.
The reason why will certainly bring a smile to your face.
“I was back on stage the day after I came out of hospital. I’ve no intention of stopping comedy. I’m taking all these pills, trying to stay alive, and I hope to still be performing when I’m 100. My goal is to still be up there making people laugh.”
D’yan Forest will appear at The Gotham Comedy Club on June 12