The first time Casey Jane Ellison took the stage as a stand-up comedian, things didn't go well.
"I opened with, 'Don't worry, I'll lose the weight,'" she recalls. "And there was silence. It did not feel very good."
That early attempt, at age 19, soured Ellison on comedy for a while. She instead turned her attention to art. (She has a degree in film, video and animation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.)
But even Ellison's art has funny bits. She's known for making eerie 3-D animated videos of herself reciting a litany of comedic lines in a range of voices — from mean girl to desperate...