Alli That Girl was late calling for a phone interview this week, but she had a good reason: Her 2-year-old had deleted the number from her phone.
But Alli didn't stress. It's just more material for her act. Last month, the popular hip-hop DJ became the newest member of the local improv comedy troupe Got Jokes?.
Alli, a.k.a. Allison Barnett of St. Petersburg, is already known for her antics as a self-described "afternoon HO(st)" weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. on the WLLD-FM 94.1 (formerly 98.7). When she was pregnant with daughter Haidyn, Alli staged an on-air saga to determine the baby's paternity. Haidyn's dad, as Alli knew all along, is her fiance - the station's Drew "DJ Rhinestone" Mueffelman. That's the kind of humor Alli's fans have come to expect from the mother of one, and her shenanigans are even funnier in person, said Got Jokes? emcee Daniel "Motown Pride" Jefferson.
"Everybody knows Alli That Girl's personality from listening to her on the radio for the past several years, but what surprised me was that she really had a gift for physical comedy. That's something that's impossible for people to see when she's on the radio," said Jefferson, who founded the group in 2008. "I felt like she really has the innate ability to lead a scene. She's edgy and she's hip, so she's everything that encompasses Got Jokes?."
After a stint at the now-closed Hip-Hop Soda Shop and three sold-out performances this summer at Tampa Improv, the dozen Got Jokes? cast members perform regular gigs on both sides of the bay. So far, Alli has performed with the group twice. With no acting experience, she looks to Robin Williams and Ellen DeGeneres for inspiration.
Eventually, Alli tracked down tbt*'s phone number and called for a chat.
Besides deleting my number from your phone, what are some other funny things Haidyn has done?
Oh, she's a trip. My mom always says I'm raising myself, because she really does act like me. If you take something from her, she's like, "Aw man, no way!" The things she says. She puts on my highest heels and my purse and walks around here going, "Bye! Work!" like she's going to work, imitating me.
Why did you decide to join Got Jokes? You're a mom, you're a DJ. Doesn't that keep you busy enough?
I've always wanted to do stand-up, but I'm so nervous. It's one of those things where I always had it on my list of things to do. I think I kind of do improv every day on the radio, so this seemed like the baby step into possibly doing stand-up. ... And it's a little "me" time. A little something I can do away from work and away from family.
What's the difference between Alli on the radio, Alli doing improv and Allison at home?
Allison at home is such the antithesis of those other people. I am the go-to-the-grocery-store, clean-the-house, go-to-bed-by-10 mom when I'm at home. But then it's like this whole fun thing I get to do where it's acting. Alli That Girl on the radio is very similar to Alli That Girl in the troupe, which is just the party girl, the slightly more promiscuous appearing-type person.
You made a game out of your daughter's paternity, and I was just watching online a video of you getting your armpit hair removed. Is there anything you won't do in front of an audience? Is there a line with you?
I'm pretty much shameless. I'm not really down for nudity, so I'm probably not going to do that, although I've been known to flash my behind once in a while. ... But as long as it's not truly hurtful to anybody, I really don't have much shame. I make fun of myself the most.
Got Jokes? Improv
Catch Alli That Girl and the rest of the crew at these regular gigs. For more info, see gotjokesimprov.com or call Daniel Jefferson at (813) 393-7725.
The troupe performs live theater at Channelside Cinemas, 8 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month. $10. Tickets will be available at movietickets.com. The first show will be Sept. 24. 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa.
The group hosts the monthly "Big Bang Show" variety talent contest at Nova 535, 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. $10 at gotjokesimprov.com or $15 at the door. 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg.