WORDS BY PATRICK STRAIT
Working with your significant other is almost always a bad idea. Whether it’s letting your personal disagreements bleed into the workplace, letting professional jealousy drive a wedge between you, or just making your coworkers uncomfortable by being gross and couple-y, there’s a lot of potential for disaster when you see your partner every single day. But what if your dream job is the same as your significant other? Then what do you do?
Lily Meyer and Max Chapman are two of the funniest up-and-coming comics in the Twin Cities. While they have both been doing comedy for around four years, they’ve also been dating for the past year while navigating their own individual careers.
“We met at open mics probably a year and a half ago,” Chapman shares. “I thought she was really annoying at first.”
“And he was just really mean to me,” Meyer adds.
Despite their early interactions, the two soon became friends, before ultimately deciding to take the next step in their relationship.
“We both have the same disgusting sense of humor,” Meyer continues. “That’s what brought us together.”
While starting any new relationship can be nervewracking on its own, Meyer, who had recently moved from Boston to Minnesota a few months before she started dating Chapman, says she felt extra pressure because of how she might be viewed in the comedy scene.
“People like to make up excuses for women getting on shows,” she explains. “It’ll be like, ‘Oh, they just needed to book a woman’ or ‘She’s dating him so that’s why they booked her.’”
Chapman chimes in, “Lily just kept saying, ‘This is going to end badly.’”
“I did,” she admits. “I’ve seen lots of things end poorly when comedians date. And he was super in love with me, so I was like, this is going to end really badly.”
Though they admit that occasionally they may miss out on the occasional booking if someone believes they need to be booked together, both Chapman and Meyer have found independent success in comedy over the past year.
Chapman was hired at Acme Comedy Company in March of last year and is a regular emcee at the club. Meyer is a frequent opener at Laugh Camp Comedy Club in St. Paul and was selected to be a part of the return of the local 10,000 Laughs Festival this past fall.
You might think that envy or jealousy might show its face in the relationship, especially when it comes to two people involved in the same field. And early on, you would have been right.
“Yeah, I think it was a little tough at first,” admits Chapman. “But if you worry about other people’s shit, it can kill your own.”
“I’ve seen comics get caught up in that whole, ‘Oh why did they get something and I didn’t?’ Or ‘I’m funnier than that person but they’re getting ahead faster than I am.’” Meyer continues. “That will eat away at you and just destroy you from the inside, if you let it.”
Another reason why there may not be a lot of animosity between them when it comes to the stage is that both comics are extremely different in their stage presence and presentation.
“[Max] is very boisterous on stage and I’m a little more like, um, I’ve been called awkward,” Meyer says. “I’ve been called awkward; I’ve been called uncomfortable. Which you know, whatever. But there’s also a definite difference between a dude and a girl doing comedy on stage, and what works and what doesn’t.”
Those differences also carry over to their writing process, as Chapman says he prefers to be more insular when it comes to working on new material.
“I don’t really like writing with anyone,” he says. “We don’t really talk that much about each other’s sets, either. Like we’ll talk about structure of sets, but we don’t really dissect each other’s jokes at all.”
Meyer interjects, “I’ve tried to be like, ‘Hey, as a woman here’s a perspective on that joke that might work.’ And Max will just say, ‘I don’t care.’ So there you go. Max is annoying to write with. Like he’ll tell me that one of my jokes sucks, and it’s my best joke.”
“And Lily will tell me, ‘That joke is never going to work.’ And then it works,” Chapman counters.
Making it work for the children* (*other local comics on the scene)
Despite their independent attitudes towards their own careers, Chapman and Meyer decided to start running their own monthly comedy showcase together this past spring.
On the second Monday of each month, the duo hosts a Monday Comedy Night showcase at Indeed Brewing. Each month, the show spotlights some of the best local comics, from headliners to new faces, while Meyer and Chapman rotate hosting duties.
“Each month one of us hosts, and the other has a seven-minute guest spot,” Chapman explains. “And whoever is the host picks the lineup.”
“We talked about hosting the show together, with both of us up there on stage, but it might just be us arguing and then asking the audience their opinion,” Meyer continues.
The free showcase has been extremely successful, and the next installment just so happens to be the night before Valentine’s Day.
“We should host together,” Meyer says.
“I think it would be fun just to yell at each other for five minutes,” Chapman shoots back.
While they have may have a lovingly biting banter offstage, they both recognize that comedy is a tough business. Especially when it comes to dealing with crowds that are potentially less loving.
“If someone goes after my queen? Shit, I’ll just choke them out,” Chapman jokes (we think?) when asked about defending Meyer from hecklers. “I’ve got a cabin up north and a tarp. I think together we could figure out how to get rid of a body.”
“I mean, what can you honestly do?” says Meyer. “Go fight someone outside?”
“It’s true,” Chapman says and laughs. “You just wait for them to get off stage and just be like, ‘You handled that shit poorly.’”
Though they may be comfortable letting each other fight their own battles, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to throw gas on the fire at each other’s expense.
“Last weekend someone was heckling me in a show because I was making a joke on stage about Max and how he fell asleep during a hand job,” Meyer details. “And someone offstage was saying like, ‘Fuck –’ and then gave him a name. So he was like, ‘Fuck Brian!’ and I was like ‘Well actually his name is Max but if you would like to keep heckling him by his real name, that would be fine.’”
Whether they’re laughing, arguing, committing murder together, or falling asleep during hand jobs, Chapman and Meyer have proven that—despite what others would have you believe—comics are capable of love, and comedy relationships can truly work.
“We’re probably going to break up after this interview,” says Chapman.
For more about Max Chapman and Lily Meyer, including upcoming shows, follow them on Instagram (@meatymaxwell and @lilyymeyyer).