I will admit that my first exposure to my next interview subject’s work came through her time in adult films. Alia Janine is more than her time as a porn star, though. She’s a gifted comedian and the owner of The Misfits Network, a collection of podcasts featuring a variety of talented comedians as well as herself. Ms. Janine has reinvented herself, and I decided to interview her about where she’s been and where she’s going. With the assistance of her press representative, Lainie Speiser, I was able to speak to her on Monday, November 16th. I hope you all enjoy getting to know more about her life and career.
It’s time to Flashback with Alia Janine!
Johnny: Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Alia: No problem. Thanks for asking.
Johnny: What were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies, music and TV?
Alia: Oh, God, so much. I’m kind of an 80s/90s brat, so I was a huge fan of Madonna and Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd, Journey, Heart and Led Zeppelin for music. TV shows? I loved Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Scooby-Doo was definitely my favorite. The Pink Panther. I loved Saved By The Bell, Charles In Charge and Who’s The Boss?. Growing Pains. There were a couple of others. Movies? I definitely have to say The Goonies. Pink Floyd: The Wall was actually one of my favorite movies when I was six, for some odd reason. What other movies? Hackers. I think that’s more 90s, though. That’s what I have off the top of my head.
Johnny: Okay. What were your high school days like?
Alia: You mean the days that I went to high school?
Alia: They were actually alright. High school sucked in general. My parents, my dad and my stepmother had just gotten a divorce. I was living with my mom, and I was in the suburbs. I was originally from Milwaukee, and they shipped me off to the suburbs. It was very weird. It was a very cliquey kind of high school. It was a predominantly white town, and a lot of the people had money. My mom was a single mom, so we didn’t have a lot of money when we lived there. I caused a lot of trouble. I actually got expelled my freshman year in high school for accidentally setting the soccer field on fire. (Laughing) My detentions would turn into days off. I ended up dropping out and getting my diploma through a technical school near the end of my junior year. They said I would have to stay an extra semester because of a math class. God, I fucking hated math so much. They said I could do the technical thing and get out of high school faster, and I said “Yeah, that would be way better”, so I did that. High school in the suburbs sucks (Laughing). I’m still friends with a lot of the people, but it’s an awkward time in people’s lives. I don’t know why they call it the best years of your life.
Johnny: Jumping into the 00s, what drew you to your first career in adult film?
Alia: Well, that wasn’t actually my first career. My first career was I was going to be a cop and work security. For adult, which was my second big career, I was a dancer, and I wanted feature dancing credits. I had just turned 30, and I was really into fucking, and I also really wanted to get back at an ex-boyfriend. It all worked our fairly well.
Johnny: Okay. A lot of the characters you portrayed in your adult career played upon your physique. Did you ever consider taking charge and writing your own ideas for characters to play and their motivations?
Alia: I directed and produced my own stuff. I had my own website for a short time, but most webmasters in the adult film industry are scammers, so I stopped the site, but that was right around the time I was getting ready to retire as well. I’ve done all of that myself.
Johnny: Near the end of your adult film career, you had an uncredited appearance in Spike Jonze’s Her. How did you end up in that movie?
Alia: I had a mainstream manager, mainly like background extra work. I’ve done some other stuff. I don’t know why it’s not on IMDB (laughing).
Johnny: It is on there. It just says your role was uncredited.
Alia: Yeah. You can see my back in it, though, so I don’t know why I was uncredited. (Laughing) Just kidding. I had a manager, and that was right around the time I was planning on moving to New York. I didn’t really pursue that. I have done some stuff here like background work, though. I’ve had some featured roles in stuff, too.
Johnny: In 2012, you and several of your fellow adult film stars did a softcore movie for Showtime called Booty Hunter. As it was a comedic project, did it instill in you the idea that comedy might be the next avenue in your career?
Alia: No, it wasn’t that movie at all. It was actually when I first started in the adult industry. The first publicist I had had suggested I try stand-up comedy because I was very funny. I did sketches, but I never really though about doing stand-up because I was a dancer and in porn, but I loved hanging out with comics and stuff like that. I used to bartend at a comedy club when I lived in Florida, and I used to dance at a club in Milwaukee that had a comedy club underneath it. I would hang out there. It was the first time I ever did stand-up, a long, long time ago, before I even thought of doing this.
Johnny: What has stand-up comedy provided for you that your previous career did not?
Alia: Well, it’s a lot more fun. I mean, porn was fun, but towards the end, it was a lot of work. There’s a lot of girls now. Pretty much anyone with a camera and a pair of tits can be a porn star, so I guess the novelty ran off for me. With stand-up, I have a lot more of a career doing multiple things between movies and sketches and things of that nature. There’s a little bit more stability, which is crazy, but I’ve been doing stand-up for a couple of years. I’ve used my name, and I’ve built a really good company. A lot of my porn fans are now my comedy fans, so that worked out really well for me. I moved to New York, and the city is great. I miss L.A sometimes, though.
Johnny: I imagine you probably miss it especially in the Winter.
Alia: Yes, very much so. I tend to go to either Florida or California for the Winter. I don’t really spend that much time here.
Johnny: Who have been your biggest influences as a comedian?
Alia: Oh, my goodness. Everyone! (Laughing) Growing up, my dad always loved Gilda Radner and Carol Burnett. He loved female comics, but also people like George Carlin. I’m a big fan of Lewis Black as well. I did security for him in 2003, I think, or 2004. Amy Schumer is amazing. She’s really big right now. I like Louis C.K. I’m friends with a lot of other comedians, as well, that are just amazing.
Johnny: As crowdfunding has become a big thing in recent years, have you ever considered going to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo to get a comedy album off the ground?
Alia: No, I’m not ready for a comedy album yet (Laughing). I have a good half hour of material, but that takes a lot of time before you can start popping out albums and things of that nature.
Johnny: Well, I can tell you that if you ever release a comedy album, I’m buying it.
Alia: Oh, well, thank you. I’ll keep that in mind when I do an album.
Johnny: Several stars, both former and current, of adult film have attempted to make a transition to comedy. Some have been successful, like Bree Olsen with her Kickstarter-funded comedy web series.
Alia: Yeah, she doesn’t do that anymore, actually. (Laughing) She did, but yeah…
Johnny: Others, not so much, like Ron Jeremy, whose comedy work has been showcased in several of HIS mainstream projects, and not looked upon so well. What advice would you give to those who are looking to launch a career in comedy after having done something else, be it adult or otherwise?
Alia: That was his career before he started doing porno. Several other girls have started doing comedy before they did porn as well. They only do it because they see the lives of the people I hang out with. I was nominated for Mainstream Star Of The Year for 2015 from AVN because of doing comedy. They see it as a way to get ahead in something. It’s like, there’s a trillion porn star DJs now, and there’s a couple of girls who try to do a fashion line and things like that. They see something and say “Oh, I can do this!”, and then they realize that it’s a lot of work. It’s not easy. There’s people who could be very funny when talking to a group of people or even on Twitter, but you get them onstage and it’s something completely different. It’s a lot of work. Some people are up for it and some people are not. I know a handful of girls who say “I’m going to do stand-up comedy”, and I’m like “Okay”. They want me to put them on one of my shows. I’m like, well, you need to go to open mics. You need to learn how to write jokes and let me see what you got. None of them have ever been able to do it. As for other people in other careers, I know a couple of lawyers. I know a couple of IT guys. There’s a firefighter. There’s a retired cop here in this city and he’s hysterical. It really depends on your writing style. It’s a lot of hard work, and even though you may be funny in your group of friends, you need to be funny to a group of complete strangers who don’t know you, who don’t know your past, who don’t know your stories and stuff like that. That’s what takes a lot of work, and that’s what throws people off because they don’t realize how hard it actually is.
Johnny: Good advice. You also have your own podcast network as well. As there are several out there, what do you have that you feel makes your podcast network stand out?
Alia: I don’t really think my podcast network stands out all that much, to be honest (Laughing), aside from that I own it. I help podcasts that aren’t that popular, but are really good and really funny and informative. I try to build up a following for them, and for my own show as well, the Whormones Podcast. It’s a cool thing. It’s around a year old now, and I have 11 different shows on there, like Kevin Bartini’s Movie Preview Review. He was an opening comic for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, a very, very funny man. I’m getting some bigger name people in there, as well, but I also like to help out smaller guests that I think are really great.
Johnny: Similar to my question about comedy, you’re the youngest talent I’ve spoken to in my nine years of doing interviews. What advice would you give to older performers who are looking to get into podcasting?
Alia: Oh, do it. It’s great if you have a fanbase or if you don’t have a fanbase, but you have an interesting idea or interesting stories, a different concept. A lot of podcasts try to be the same, with a comedic aspect to it, but you can have serious ones. There’s informative ones about health or topics that they’re really passionate about. Talk about that, or talk about things in the news. The great thing about the Internet and podcasting is that anybody can do it. I say, if you want to do it, do it.
Johnny: According to your IMDBPro profile, your voice type is alto. Is that your singing voice as well, and if you were to sing, what kind of music would you perform?
Alia: (Laughing) Singing is one of my greatest fears in the world. I used to be into choir, but I would always hide in the background when they took the pictures. I’m actually a soprano when I sing, according to all the music teachers I’ve ever had. I don’t sing, except here in my shower occasionally (Laughing). I’m not a singer. I would play the drums, though. I think I would rock out on drums.
Johnny: Definitely. If your podcast network became so successful that TCM, Turner Classic Movies, turned to you as their first podcast creator guest programmer, which four classic movies would you choose to showcase that evening?
Alia: Oh, wow, that’s a good one. Well, I actually just watched Flatliners. Remember that one, with Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon? I just watched a bunch of movies over Halloween. The Monster Squad is another great one. My favorite movie of all time is actually The Color Purple. I would definitely have The Color Purple, and then maybe like Dune, the David Lynch movie. Oh, no, maybe I’d choose Mulholland Dr..
Johnny: Okay. Although you’ve been making a name for yourself in mainstream entertainment, where was the most unusual place you were recognized during your time in adult film?
Alia: Like the weirdest place?
Johnny: As an example, I can mention that back in the late 90s, I was at Walt Disney World with my brother. I related this anecdote to Ginger Lynn when I interviewed her last year. Me and my brother were coming off Splash Mountain and we recognized Ron Jeremy in the park. I didn’t think he was the type of person who would visit Walt Disney World, so I’m thinking, have you ever been recognized in a place like Disney World?
Alia: I don’t go to Disney World ever. (Laughing) Weird for me. I watch Disney movies, but I’m not really a Disney person. I think I was recognized once in a nail salon in L.A, a couple of random bars. A lot of times people don’t come up to me. Very rarely they’ll come up to me. They just look at me instead, as like A.) They see me as a hot girl or B.) They’ve seen me naked. It’s interesting to see the different looks. Some people do a look-and-nod thing, which is actually creepy to me. A lot of my fans know that I think a lot of fans are weird. They’ve seen me naked, and they’ve seen me talk, and they have a different perception of reality of who I am as a person, so I tend to stay away, honestly (Laughing). I like meeting some fans, but I’ve had dudes write me 15 page scripts of how they want me to be hypnotized and raped and killed, and I’m like, “Eh, I don’t really need that”.
Johnny: No accounting for taste.
Alia: Yeah! (Laughing)
Johnny: Finally, this is the question I end every interview with, and as mentioned previously, you’re the youngest person I’ve ever asked this of. It’s this: If you could go back to your youth with the knowledge that you have now, would you do anything differently?
Alia: No, not really. I mean, I like my life, and I think that everything, even the mistakes I’ve made, were lessons that needed to be learned. I think that if I were to change things, I wouldn’t be able to meet some of the people that I have met, good or bad. I mean, I would like to win the lottery or something like that (Laughing), but as far as other stuff, no. I wouldn’t really change anything.
Johnny: Well, that about does it for my questions. I would once more like to thank you for taking the time to do this.
Alia: No problem. Thanks for having me.
Johnny: It was an honor to speak to you. I always like speaking to talents who have done work that I admire, and you’ve definitely done that. I wish you the best of luck in your stand-up comedy career.
Alia: Oh, thank you very much.
Johnny: No problem, and I hope you have a good day.
Alia: You, too. Bye, John.
Johnny: See you later.
For more on Ms. Janine’s comedy, visit Hardcore Comedy Entertainment.
Visit The Misfits Network to listen to the podcasts hosted by Ms. Janine and the talents she admires.
Finally, to get a taste of her comedy, visit Alia Janine’s official Facebook fan page.