Whether she’s based in L.A. or all the way around the world in New Zealand, Camille Solari is one funny mama. Solari is unstoppable, from being a top female comedian to an actress, producer, and director. But the title she’s most proud of is being mom to her two daughters, Charlie and Blade. We caught up with Camille and her kids back in her childhood home in Boston to talk about her hit TV show, travelling with kids (it can be fun!), and what it’s really like living in New Zealand.
Even though you’re on a top show now, your start was originally in standup comedy, correct?
Right. I’ve been shooting this kid’s television show, Charlie, for 8 years; we’re in Season 8 now. I came from doing stand up comedy. I’ve traveled to dozens of countries, and I’ve always brought my kids. My career started off when I was 8-months-pregnant, and I was on the Arsenio Hall Show. That really put me on the map because it had never been done before.
I would assume that for female comedians, there was a hike to get there. It feels like a male-dominated industry.
Yes, and it’s still that way. I was on a TV show, a pilot, which was about female comedians. It was me, Tiffany Haddish, and a few other comedians you might know now. But I got pregnant, and they told me, “Oh, we recast you.” But they also recast Tiffany, so I don’t feel so badly. I figured something better would come along, and that’s when Arsenio was like, “I’m going to put Camille on; this is awesome. There’s never been a female comedian pregnant doing standup on national television.” I think I was the first, so that was kind of cool. And then I did a pilot for a kids’ TV show when Charlie was 1. That got picked up by Roku and we’ve just been going on and on and on, and now in Season 8.
How would you describe the show?
It’s about a little girl and her dog who solve neighborhood problems with the help of her animal friends while her comedienne mother experiences the perils and pitfalls of being a new mother. But I’m not a new mother because the show has been on for so long! [laughs] It’s on Tubi and it’s also on Amazon Prime. When Covid happened, we switched the production to New Zealand. It went from a very urban setting in the arts district in Los Angeles to –
Hobbitsville.[laughs] Yes, Hobbitsville. We’re going back in a few weeks to do an episode. It’s an homage to The Bad Seed. And I continue to do stand up comedy; I shot my special in New Zealand. I also did a series in New Zealand called “Kiwis Coming Home”. It was right in the middle of Covid, so all these celebrities were coming home to New Zealand. So, I was the host and director of the show.
Do you have a preference of what you like doing?
After eight years, I realized that I’m really a director. I enjoy it, I like it, and I’m starting to branch off to direct other shows.
How would you describe your comedic style?
Well, for the special I shot, these are jokes I’ve been doing for 10 years. I tend to do big characters, or an exaggeration of what people are like. I do observations of people, too. Now is the first time that I’ve started doing stuff about my family, like my husband who is from New Zealand. Charlie is now 8 and she’s been brought into my act a little bit. We do some comedy songs together and she’s great.
I also do a lot of music; I do the music for the show, Charlie. I play the piano and I sing. I write the music with Deedee O’Malley, who is a country singer. We do all the children’s songs. We did a song, “Don’t Pop My Bubble” and it was a really big production. The song is about bullying but a comedic version. So now I do a lot of comedy songs, which I love.
What is it like parenting on two different continents?
We decided to live in the two places because we thought how nice it would be to have the country of New Zealand; you have a lot of space and it’s all green. You think that maybe this is the way that a child should be raised. And then you’re like, “Nah!” [laughs] Charlie will miss L.A. and we’ll be in our loft in L.A. which is very modern. I ask the kids which one they like better and they tell me that they like both. They go to a French school in L.A. and in New Zealand they go to a public school.
How do you find your own balance in all that?
When I’m in New Zealand, I have to make sure that I’m on a project. As soon as the project is done, I’m ready to go. I’m trying to set up a series in New Zealand; it was great to do one there. Also, I’ve been doing stand up for 10 years and got far fast. I’m headlining in Malta in November. My husband travels for work; he has his own company for software for the clothing industry. He’s like a mathematician so we are both very different. I’ll be directing some other television shows and I’m developing a series for New Zealand and a feature film.
Do you ever worry about burnout because comedy is such a creative process?
It really is. As soon as I finished shooting “My Life in Pink” which was the comedy special, I just started from scratch. We went back to L.A., and I wrote an entirely new set. It gave me a new life in comedy because I realized I was tired of the old jokes. I know some comedians stop, but for me, I always felt like you could never stop. You could slow down a little bit, but you have to carry on.
What I love is that you travel with your kids. Do you find it hard?
Now it’s so easy! They’re not allowed to have iPads. They do tons of art but as soon as we go on a flight, they get their iPads. We had the worst flight coming into Boston, but they were all right because they had their iPads. There’s only one stage that’s tricky and that’s the new toddler phase. That’s a little bit harder because they want to get up and run down the aisles. On the flights, though, my kids sleep. Charlie has been to 17 countries, so really, they’re easy breezy travelers. They have a New Zealand and U.S. passport.
What would you recommend about travelling with kids?
If you can, you should. I love that my kids want to go to Africa. They are more aware of people and are more worldly, and it’s good culturally. Where I grew up was a truly diverse background, and that’s so important to have friends from all over the world. It just opens your eyes to life in a new way, and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to give my kids that opportunity, too.