Stand-Up Comedian & Writer
Beth Stelling hails from Oakwood, Ohio, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Miami with a B.A. in theatre. After graduating in 2007, she moved to Chicago, where she honed her craft and was named "Best Stand-up Comedian in Chicago" by The Chicago Reader in 2010. Beth relocated to Los Angeles, where she made her late-night debut on “Conan” with host Conan O’Brien. She has since appeared on “Stand-up in Stilettos,” Comedy Central's “@midnight” series, “Chelsea Lately” as a roundtable guest and “The Pete Holmes Show.” In addition to performing this year, Beth also wrote on the No. 2 cable television show, "Ridiculousness" on MTV.
Oakwood High School
Freshman Residence Hall:
Favorite place to eat on campus?
Scott Hall, the hot side
Favorite place to eat Uptown?
Bagel and Deli
Student Org. Involvement?
Lambda Sigma Honors Society, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority for a little while (lots of the wonderful AOPi women still come out to my shows!), Miami Theatre, the Walking Theatre Project, R.A. at Collins Hall (Celebrate the Arts!), Freedom Summer tour guide (briefly), Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Urban Leadership Internship Program and Club Field Hockey team.
I also performed in “The Vagina Monologues” on Western Campus and was a Bagel and Deli employee/secret society member.
Did you study abroad? If so, where?
I went to London my freshman year with the architecture and theatre students over spring break. I remember seeing a play by Martin McDonagh called "The Pillowman" at the Royal National Theater. That will go down in history as the only time I've been genuinely frightened during live theatre.
Did you live off campus? House name (if applicable)?
Yes; Tequila Mockingbird
How would you summarize your Miami Broomball career?
Favorite place to study?
Presser Hall, usually right before class!
Have Miami alumni opened any doors for you? If so, who?
I've enjoyed keeping in touch as well as meeting new Miami alumni over the years—we are everywhere! I've had the pleasure of having many of them in audiences when I perform, and there is a handful I've met along the way who also are pursuing stand-up comedy.
Two people, specifically, come to mind in terms of “opening doors,” though:
Rachel Rudwall ’08 was kind enough to let me know she nominated me for this year’s 18 Of the Last 9 honor. I'm thankful for her support, and I am very proud of all she has accomplished here in Los Angeles as a producer, traveler and host. She is inspiring.
Darren Bailey ’07 is another Miami grad I hold near and dear to my heart. We performed together in college, and we remain in touch here in L.A. He often supports me at live shows, and he's been able to hone his skills in stage combat and stunt work here.
What Miami moment most influenced or continues to influence your life today, and how/why?
I would say my relationship with Katie Egart and the Urban Leadership Internship Program. It was an unbelievable opportunity that continues to give back almost 10 years later.
Living in Chicago and managing my own apartment, money, job and volunteer work helped me understand what it would be like to be on my own in a big city. I got to intern for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, one of the best in the country, and what I learned that summer in its acting school stays with me today. I even collaborate with some of the students I met attending their school that summer (most recently, a sketch for “Funny or Die” called, “The Best of Craigslist with John Pick”).
"Say who you are. Really say it in your life and your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won't be born for 500 years. Your writing will be a record of your time, it can't help but be. But more importantly, if you're honest about who you are, you'll help that person be less lonely in their world, because that person will recognize him or herself in you, and that will give them hope. And it's done so for me, and I have to keep rediscovering it; it's profound importance in my life. Give that to the world rather than selling something to the world. Don't allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work and that in the end, selling is what everyone must do. Try not to." Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter, director and patron of the coffee shop I worked at my first year in Los Angeles)
Attend any memorable Miami concerts, guest lectures, etc.?
Dave Brubeck. My mom and I went together (she is a pianist and music teacher), and it was very special for us to go see him together. I also got to see Dave Chapelle as a freshman, but honestly, I hadn't started stand-up at that time in my life; I sort of knew it was cool to be there rather than really getting it.
Favorite Miami tradition?
I think it's the Upham Arch. I NEVER would've guessed I would be a Miami Merger, but I am currently dating someone I met at Miami and have been for three years. We may have to go smooch under the arch while I'm back visiting campus!
One thing you'd change about your college experience?
Go out dancing Uptown instead of staying in, eating ice cream and marshmallows.
What do you miss most about Miami?
I miss the consistent, laborious rehearsal process of putting on a play or musical. And the accountability that came with that.
Advice for the first-year students in the Class of 2018?