Images courtesy of Toni Nagy

Culture | 01.28.2022

Herb Elite: Q&A with Toni Nagy

Meet the ecstatic dancing comedian dropping truth bombs across social media.

I can’t remember exactly how I first came across Toni Nagy, but the moment I did, I stopped everything I was doing and paid attention. At first, I was fascinated by her flowy choreography—a mix of squiggly moves, eclectic yoga poses, and athletic ability—but it was her mind-opening shpiel that captured my attention. 

As she performed within a flowy state, Toni spoke about topics deeply relevant to the world today: racial justice, gender equality, taxing billionaires, climate change, and cannabis legalization. What initially seemed to be a ludicrous dance was in fact a powerful act to draw the audience’s attention to matters that we don’t address enough as a society (with a sprinkle of witty comedy and dry humor). 

Herb caught up with Toni in the metaverse and got to know her better via a virtual joint and the following interview:

What planet are you from? And why are you here? (What’s your mission)

Ha! I like to assume I’m from the Pleiadian System… but I’m probably just a cast-away from Atlantis. My mission (should I choose to accept it), is to shake shit the fuck up. I want to tickle the taint of your psyche, massage your spirit with undulations, and fill the existential hole in your soul! I yearn to open minds and hearts to challenge the status quo and deconstruct the capitalist structure that oppresses us all. NBD – I should accomplish this by the New Year.

When did you discover you had a comedic touch?

Humor has always been a way for me to get attention and connect to people. If you can make someone laugh, you can usually disarm them enough to like you. As a co-dependent, I like to be liked. I was also a pretty depressive kid and a child insomniac. I didn’t have the average childhood of thinking the world was a benevolent place and was often very stressed about the horrors of the world like inequality and homelessness. I was sad a lot! Humor became a coping mechanism to deal with the complexity of an adult world that seemed highly flawed. I also had a VERY hard time with authority in school and enjoyed being an unstable molecule in class. I would say shocking things in order to blow the teacher’s metaphoric skirt up and get them flustered. 

Most comedians have to endure bullying/heckling. Have you? 

I’ve for sure been trolled online before. That shit can get very dark, especially when you’re a woman. I think it’s happened for so long, that I’ve learned not to take it personally. I don’t often respond to trolls, or if I do, I try to make myself laugh. I will joke around with them rather than take them too seriously. I am a practicing Buddhist and have been meditating daily for over 12 years, so I use those teachings to let go. I don’t want to waste precious energy focusing on negativity. If I get heckled on stage doing stand-up comedy, I try to play with the person rather than get mad at them. If I need to be stern I will be, but I don’t get angry just because they are. 

Although your videos are highly humorous, they’re also very deep. What’s your intellectual process behind them? How much research do you put into each post?

I was a philosophy major in college so I have been thinking about these meta-issues for many years. My work is rooted in social and political commentary—even when it seems on the surface totally absurd. I have been pontificating about these ideas for a long time, but I will very often research to make videos more current and up to date. It’s crucial to me to add my own take on whatever I am talking about, and not just regurgitate information I’ve heard. I want to add to the conversation, so I will take time with subjects until I feel as if I am bringing something to the table that is worth sharing.

Is social media your full-time job? 

I WISH! That would be the dream. I own a dance studio and teach adults and teens… which I love. I am also a filmmaker, writer, and stand-up comic. Honestly, I work all the time. I’ve been at it for many years, and it has taken a lot of commitment, dedication, and failure. Not to brag, but I’m pretty much a professional failure. I’m nowhere near where I hope to one day be. I am currently trying to prostitute myself and my ideas on a variety of platforms. I’m on the journey of trying to find my place and relevance in this world and do my art full time! 

Let’s talk weed. When did you first come across it?

My brother introduced me to weed when I was in the 8th grade—she’s been a good friend ever since! I’ve had many different phases over the years; I’ve been an everyday smoker, abstained for 7 years, became a casual smoker, alone smoker, sometimes smoker, special occasion smoker. For me, weed has always been about unplugging. I am way more present, and in the moment after I’ve smoked. It’s sacred to me, and something I do when that’s the only thing I am doing. I love to be in nature, smoke and contemplate existence. I enjoy weed as a texture to my life, but it’s not something that I need or feel I must have. I respect and honor her powers deeply, and never want to abuse her kindness!  

What’s missing in the cannabis industry/movement? 

The movement and industry are huge! I am digging the social impact, but I always would like to see more eco-awareness and consciousness. When anything becomes corporate and about money, standards can get destroyed, and nature tends to suffer. 

Share your all-time favorite joke with us 🙂

How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? That’s not funny. 

 

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