Michele Traina doesn't mind talking about divorce. After all, the name of her show is "Divorce Diaries."
However, the Clifton, New Jersey, native doesn't get too specific with the details, and she's certainly not one to heap verbal abuse on her ex-husband.
"I know he knows I do stand-up, and I know he knows about my show, but I'd just as soon keep him out of the act," said Traina, who will bring her show to the Funny Bone in Crossgates Mall Thursday (Oct. 18) at 7:30 p.m. "Sometimes he's fine, sometimes he's annoying, but we peacefully coexist. We don't have to be friends. He makes me appreciate the other men in my life."
No, divorce isn't a lot of fun, she says, but a lot of people seem to be doing it, so why not try to get a few laughs out of it.
"I've been divorced for four years now, and that's what inspired this show," she said. "People look at it as pretty depressing, but if you have to go through it why not make a little fun out of it. You can laugh about how crazy everyday life is, and it doesn't mean you have to be divorced to enjoy my show. You can be married, you can be a single parent going through transition. Everybody will see things they can relate to in my act."
Traina's entry into the entertainment industry wasn't as a comedian. After going to Adelphi University on Long Island to study theater, she worked in the musical theater world for a few years before returning to school to get a master's in education at New York University.
"I did a bunch of tours with a children's theater company, and I also did some performing at the New England Shakespeare Festival," said Traina. "Then I went back to school to NYU so I could teach, and I'm still doing that full-time. I also started my own theater company for children with special needs. I have kind of a funky schedule, but most mornings I'm driving my 6-year-old Grace to school and then teaching. During the summer I enjoy teaching and performing at a lot of libraries and summer camps."
When did stand-up comedy, you might ask, come into the picture?
"In college I had a one-woman show that I tried to make funny, and then I was also doing improv," she said. "Then I just didn't have the time to do everything I wanted to do, and I think I viewed stand-up as being too difficult. Two years ago I decided to just go for it. I took a class at Caroline's and that kind of got me into the mix."
She has since performed at Caroline's, one of the top comedy clubs in New York, and has also done her stand-up act at the Gotham Comedy Club and the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City. One of the elements of her act that make it unique is that Traina isn't afraid to get the audience involved.
"We might have people write a line on a card about how they feel about their ex, what they might want to say to that person, and then I will act that out with another comic," explained Traina. "I usually do it with another comic who's at the show, or maybe even an audience member. It's my improve experience getting into the show. Everyone could contribute."
Along with being a comedian and a teacher, Traina is also a dancer.
"I was definitely into musicals when I was younger, and dancing was a huge part of what I was doing," she said. "I always wanted to perform, but I think I was pretty shy when I was younger. I always enjoyed watching the choreographer with the dancers. Then when I got older I started creating my own stories and characters, and comedy was usually an element in that."
Traina grew up loving a number of comedians, including Roseanne Barr and the cast of "The Golden Girls," and she's currently a big fan of Dave Chapelle.
"I watch his Netflix show over and over again, and I love his storytelling and how he relates comedy to today's current events," she said. "I was a huge fan of 'The Golden Girls.' The writing on that show was great with those wonderful ladies going back and forth. I was 12 laughing at these middle-aged ladies, and I've tried to model my humor in that way. I also liked Roseanne. I know she's gotten herself in trouble lately, and she needs to kind of get back in the center of things, but I still like her. Her show was about working hard and being a part of the middle class. I liked that."
'Divorce Diaries' with Michele Traina
WHERE: Funny Bone Comedy Club, 1 Crossgates Mall, Albany
WHEN: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $12
MORE INFO: (518) 313-7484, or albany.funnybone.com