Few people have the opportunity to hide behind a character that translates their deepest fears, social media–induced jealousies and slothful tendencies — but Mo Welch does.
The comedian and cartoonist utilized her own 20-something existential rut as time well spent, and the product of that despair is Blair, Welch’s misanthropic Instagram comic alter ego, who may as well be a contemporary of Daria and Cathy. She is the reigning poster girl for anti-FOMO; as if she ever really wanted to be a poster girl at all. As Welch describes her, “Blair is a cynical millennial who's honest in a world littered with gratingly positive YouTube personalities.” She's a welcome respite from the “my life is better than yours” ethos that pumps incessantly throughout our cultural bloodstream.
Welch envisaged Blair after a stint home at her mom’s house in Lombard, Illinois. She was stewing over a break-up and having one of those periodic life crises where she questioned what she was really doing out here in La La Land.
“I was hanging out in my mom’s cul-de-sac and I was really depressed. I had the idea to put something visual alongside a joke and my sister had all this art paper downstairs. So I began drawing what would become Blair. I just started out with Sharpies and within six months of posting on Instagram I realized, wow, people really like this.” Within the past two years, Welch has built her following of nearly 37,000 followers — and Blair has only just begun. The comedian hopes to compile her Instagram comics into a Blair comic book and also create an animated series.
Blair spews witty one-liners such as: “I wish you could order motivation on Amazon Prime” and “I need to take a shot before going on Facebook these days.” The character's straight-faced expression is not so much sad as apathetic, as if she is already primed for — and maybe a bit numb to — whatever disappointment awaits her next. Infused with Welch’s dark humor, which she admits is “even darker onstage,” each Blair comic is rendered predominantly in gray and black.
Although Welch has been etching out a name in the stand-up universe for 10 years, people have only recently taken note. “Some people don’t even know that I do stand-up, they think I just make Blair comics,” she says. Attracting attention at a time when everyone — not just stand-ups — requires attention 24/7 is increasingly uncertain, and that’s why Welch encourages comedians to get a gimmick, or harness some sort of latent talent lurking in the shadows. “I never took an art class, but I was the editorial cartoonist at my college and I drew cartoons my entire life. I’m really bad at human figure and color theory or any normal thing any artists would know,” she says. “But with comedy, you do have to have this clickbait sort of commodity, so that someone can associate you with something.” Keep that in mind, comics.