Barbolak is from San Diego but was born in Illinois. She was born with pneumonia, and her doctors urged her parents to move her to a warmer climate to help her recover.
“Even at 1 year old, I hated the weather,” Barbolak said in a phone interview.
>> What to know about Dave Chappelle’s free, massive Oregon District Block Party
Her family owned a carpet store, which was connected to a liquor store making for some fun and mischief when she was young. Barbolak was supposed to take over the family business, but she wanted something different.
“I remember thinking, ‘I just blew my life and I thought my life was already determined.’ I would just enjoy watching my daughters grow up,” she said.
But at age 38, she took a comedy class at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles with Sandy Shore, sister to Pauley Shore and daughter to Mitzi Shore. Mitzi was notorious for giving comedians their big break for decades.
“I’ll always remember her [Sandy]. She was the first to tell me I was special,” Barbolak said.
Barbolak has won many awards including “America’s Funniest Mom” show hosted by Roseanne Barr, and she was the first winner of “California’s Funniest Female” contest. Her big break though was her performances on AGT.
The comedian was a top 10 finalist on season 13 of AGT in 2018. She was also featured on the 2019 AGT Champions show.
“Between 15 and 20 million people saw me on the show. It instantly happened. To get to the finals was the best thing that ever happened,” she said.
>> The best spots for casual, late-night eats in the Oregon District
Barbolak was performing stand up for 20 years before hitting it big. She was embraced by the AGT judges and households all over the country. For many female comedians, it can be difficult to break into the business.
“Everyone said I was too old and too fat. There was so much resistance to who I was in the industry for so long, but I didn’t stop because I love it,” she said.
Since hearing about the tough time Dayton has had this year, Barbolak has decided to help out how she can. Part of the ticket sales for the shows will be donated to The Dayton Foundation. She is also going to do a meet-and-greet for kids.
The meet-and-greet will be Aug. 31 from 1-2:15 p.m. in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza at 35 E. Fifth St. She plans to tell the kids some jokes and just bring them a little bit of joy.
“I just want to take people’s minds off their troubles. My heart’s been with them [Dayton]. I am so sorry and I’m sure you are doing all you can. I hope I can be there and give as much comfort as possible,” she said.
>> Dayton United to promote community healing and raise funds through music, shopping, brunch and more
One fact some may not know about Barbolak is that she is an ordained minister and hosts weddings out of a van that is covered in leopard print. Her “current favorite husband” Lou helps her in this endeavor. She enjoys making people’s special day funny and memorable.
“I didn’t know how scary it would be when I first started. If you have a bad set, no one will kill you. If you screw up a wedding, you ruin their lives in a way. I try to make the weddings funny, but also with some romance and tenderness,” she said
She also added that for an additional $29.95, the married couple can enjoy a half-hour honeymoon in the leopard print van.
Barbolak is not slowing down any time soon. She just signed a contract to perform every Tuesday night at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club in Las Vegas. She is also in talks with Simon Cowell’s company to develop a sitcom.
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘wow, just shoot me in the face. Is this real?’ ” she said.
>> Share your love for Dayton at concert or pop-up tattoo parlor
While new opportunities are opening up for Barbolak, she stills loves performing stand-up comedy. The stop in Dayton is a leg of her Trailer Nasty Tour.
“I just love it when the laughter falls down on you. It’s like you are being covered in diamonds and donuts,” she said.
There is a 7:30 and 10 p.m. show on both Friday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Aug. 31. On Sunday, Sept. 1, there is a 7:30 p.m. show. For tickets, visit www.dayton.funnybone.com or all the box office at 937-429-5233.