In her new special Look at You, Taylor Tomlinson assures the audience that they can laugh about jokes regarding her mom’s death. Few would joke about a parent’s death before their friends, let alone on the stage of a Netflix special. However, for six minutes, Taylor draws laughs with carefully crafted jokes about a tragedy that shaped her life. 

If it were up to Taylor’s father, she would be a comedian, but her jokes wouldn’t revolve around her sex life or mental illness. Tomlinson’s confident that her father, who probably hasn’t watched the riveting special, would disapprove of it. 

Taylor’s comedy career started after signing up to comedy classes in church alongside her dad

Taylor Tomlinson

Taylor Tomlinson was born on 4th November 1993 in Orange County, California. She grew up alongside three younger sisters in a devout Christian family. 

Tomlinson was sixteen when her dad introduced her to comedy through a church-based comedy class. Taylor’s father gave up comedy while she made it her career. “So we did that and he went back to making money in a real job and I decided to become a comedian and drop out of college — so, you know, very weird story,” Tomlinson told Bust. “I definitely fell into it.”

For six years, Taylor performed comedy conforming with her evangelical Christian upbringing. “And then about six years ago I was like: I don’t want to be boxed into this anymore,” Taylor told The Los Angeles Times.

Taylor’s friend and comedy partner Dustin Nickerson told the publication that he predicted Taylor’s divorce from church-friendly content. “I was like: They’re going to break up soon,” Nickerson said. “This doesn’t have a long-term trajectory.”

Tomlinson’s success as an unfiltered comedian eliminates the chances of her returning to her comedy roots. It’s been years since she let go of clean content, but she still feels that her upbringing holds her back. She explained:

“Growing up that way, you do become such a people pleaser because all of your self-worth is derived from being, like, a good kid, and being somebody God’s going to be proud of. I am still uncomfortable with it, and I am so, so scared of disappointing people, and I’m so scared of people disapproving of me. I’m working on it.”

Tomlinson has fallen out with her father due to comedy

Taylor Tomlinson
Allyson Riggs/Netflix

After Tomlinson diverted from clean comedy, she began warning her family about the contents of her shows before they consumed it. Therefore, if they decided to watch it, they couldn’t blame Taylor. 

Before Quarter Life Crisis aired, Taylor warned her father that some of the jokes were about him, a gesture he appreciated. Tomlinson told UPI:

“There are some jokes about him in the new special that I told him about before we filmed it. I was like, ‘Just so you know, these are the jokes,’ and he’s like, ‘Thank you for running it by me. I appreciate it.’”

Now, however, Taylor’s relationship with her father has deteriorated completely. “My dad, as far as I know, did not watch it. And we, at this point in our lives, do not really have a relationship. It’s something that makes me very sad,” Tomlinson told The Los Angeles Times

She remains close to her siblings and would love to reconnect with her dad. However, her current brand of comedy doesn’t allow it, a fact that somewhat pleases comedian Pete Holmes. Pete said:

“I want there to be reconciliation with her and her father, but while there isn’t and she’s in those gritty, prodigal son years, we’re going to benefit from that, and there’s going to be a lot more healing and more love from that than there is from this two-person conflict.”

The effects of Taylor’s mother’s death will feature in an upcoming film about her

Taylor was eight years old and eating a bagel when she learned her mother had died from cancer. Tomlinson’s father remarried, and she started emotional eating. 

The death was tough to take, but she coped and turned out fine. “Do you think I’d be this successful at my age if I had a live mom?” Tomlinson asks, on her latest special. “She’s in heaven, I’m on Netflix — it all worked out. That is a real thing I said in therapy.”

Tomlinson’s life, including the effects of her mom’s death, will feature in a semi-biopic she’s developing alongside Depth of Field.