Pinpoint parodies of ‘weird church ladies and soccer moms’ made the Ohio comic famous during the pandemic – even if progressives mistake her for the real thing

Megan Stalter put a video online recently of a churchgoer from the US midwest distressed to be served by a Starbucks barista wearing Halloween cat ears. (“We’re not allowed to celebrate Jesus’s birthday, but we’re allowed to celebrate Satan’s parade?”) Played with a beautifully straight bat, it was of a piece with the scores of bitesized character sketches Stalter has uploaded throughout the Covid period. But not everyone got the memo. “I get hundreds of mean comments every day thinking it’s real,” Stalter says, on a video call from New York. “But I’m like: it’s a joke! It would take you only two minutes to look at my profile and know that I’m a comedian.”

Not just any comedian, but one of the hottest in the US right now – and in Britain, where her maiden run, at London’s Soho theatre this month, has already sold out. Stalter, 31, is that rare thing, a comic who prospered under lockdown. Her online videos and live broadcasts went stratospheric. A YouTube special, Little Miss Ohio, brought her cringe-comedy portraits to a wider audience. Then she was cast in HBO’s Hacks, which later bagged multiple comedy awards at the 2021 Emmys. “I couldn’t have gotten luckier,” Stalter admits, giggly over Zoom in her signature bright blue eyeshadow.

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