Ashley Ray, 'Ice Cream Money'
Blonde Medicine and Ashley Ray are pleased to announce the Friday, March 1, 2024 release of Ray’s debut full-length comedy album Ice Cream Money, available everywhere streaming audio is enjoyed, as well as on vinyl.
A 2021 HBO Max Queer Comic to Watch and 2023 BET Black Woman Comic to watch, Ashley Ray is dropping her debut album, recorded live at Brooklyn’s legendary Union Hall. Ice Cream Money showcases Ray's easily entertaining and funny style with stories about coming out as bisexual and polyamorous, dealing with conversion therapy as a kid, her family and more.
A true daughter of Northern Illinois, Ray grew up in Rockford and started doing comedy in Chicago. Despite calling Los Angeles home for the last 5 years, Ray claims it hasn’t made her any less “Midwest rude” - she can still say something mean in a really nice way. Ray was a TV and culture critic for The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut and Cosmopolitan before “retiring” to focus on comedy full-time. She created her podcast, TV I Say in 2021 to celebrate her love of all things television. Every week she interviews your favorite writers, actors and comedians like Jason Mantzoukas, Roxane Gay, and Nicole Byer about what they’re watching each week. Now in its third season in partnership with Earwolf/SiriusXM, TV I Say has been featured on Best Of lists in the New York Times, Vogue and Lifehacker. Ray has been a guest on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, Seth Rogen’s Storytime, Scam Goddess, and more of your favorite podcasts. She wrote for Adult Swim’s Alabama Jackson. A true multi-hyphenate, Ray started doing stand-up 8 years ago:
“I always loved comedy, but it never seemed like a realistic thing for a black girl from the midwest to do. In high school, I started going to open mics but people would encourage me to do slam poetry. I did a lot of spoken word and storytelling before I realized I just wanted to be funny. I started going to Cole’s Open Mic in Chicago where Sarah Squirm (now of SNL) encouraged me to give it a shot. Chicago is a great place to come up. You can be weird and find your voice.”
Ice Cream Money serves up plenty of sweet jokes to enjoy, and Ray believes stand-up should be about jokes - that there’s a big difference between real, live stand-up vs. engaging someone online. As a rising stand-up comedian she performed at festivals across the country like Limestone Comedy Festival, Milwaukee Comedy Festival, Black Women in Comedy Festival (NYC), Black Girl Giggles (New Orleans), Pitchfork Music Festival, and SF Sketchfest.
“Albums are what made me fall in love with stand-up because it feels like being in a club. When I’m listening to comedy, I’m more aware of the audience response or one person’s unusual howl. With clips and video sets, it’s easier to ignore that unless the comic calls it out. I’ve been lucky to do stand-up all these years and this album is my appreciation for the craft.”
While people may be familiar with Ray’s online presence or read about her in Bust magazine, The Guardian, and the Observer, now they have the opportunity to get acquainted with her stand-up work. The material on Ice Cream Money was churned over 8 years of touring, festivals, sold out shows, empty bar shows, crushing and bombing into an hour that really made Ray happy:
“I’ve lived a ridiculous life and I wanted to introduce myself to people with Ice Cream Money…Everyone should have ice cream money”.