Skip to content

EPISODE #1 | Verna Gillis

Pronouns: She/Her

TMI Project’s co-founder Eva Tenuto met the well-known ethnomusicologist turned comedian and storyteller Verna Gillis ten years ago at TMI Project’s first story slam. Eva was mesmerized by the regal, older woman who stepped up to the mike and brought the house down with a raunchy monologue about sex and aging, but that was only the beginning.

Growing up my father instilled in us the concept that greatness existed and some people embodied it. People like Toscanini, Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, Franklin Roosevelt, these were the culture heroes. My life, my quest in a certain way was to find that greatness.

Episode Notes:

This is Episode 1, Season 1 of The TMI Project Story Hour, Tragedy + Time = Comedy featuring Verna Gillis. It was produced in partnership with Radio Kingson with production assistance from Ida Hakkila, Nate Brogan, Marlan Barry and Manuel Blas.

Dr. Verna Gillis has a storied career recording and producing multicultural albums with famous world musicians like Daneile Ponce. She founded Soundcape, a jazz club in New York City, a musical home to nurture the careers of countless musicians. In this premiere episode of The TMI Project Podcast we take a deep dive into Verna’s life story and discover that through grief Verna found her voice as a writer and “sit down” comedian.


Episode Contributors:

Eva Tenuto (she/her), TMI Project Co-founder, Executive Director, & Podcast Co-host
Micah Blumenthal (he/him), TMI Project Workshop Leader & Podcast Co-host
Hayley Downs (she/her), TMI Project Story Hour Producer, Storyteller
Blake Pfeil (he/him), Operations Manager, TMI Project
Sara DeRose (she/her), External Affairs Director, TMI Project
Verna Gillis (she/her), Storyteller
Bradford Graves
Daniel Ponce
Roswell Rudd
Marian Anderson
Paul Robeson
Franklin Roosevelt


Storytelling Prompt:

Right now we’re all the oldest we’ve ever been. What words of advice would you give your younger self?

Stay in the know.

Join The TMI Project Story Hour mailing list and be among the first to hear about new episode releases, special guests, podcast release parties, and more!

Help create content that matters.

Sign up for our mailing list!