City stories: Karen Batista, 26, in Long Island City, Queens

A sidewalk interview with a New Yorker: “Saying you want to do stand-up in the Dominican Republic is like saying you want to be a magician”

Photograph: Jorge Quinteros

What brings you to the Creek and the Cave?
There's an open mike every day at six. I've been doing comedy for five years. When I started, I couldn't stop laughing at myself—awkward for the audience, but awesome for me.

Where do you feel like you are in your career?
I'm in a good place—not a lot of people know about me, but the right people do. And I think they like what they see.

What do you talk about onstage?
Everything from relationships to weird stuff to the most basic things, like water—how we don't drink it anymore because it's not tasty enough.

Are you from New York?
I'm from the Dominican Republic. Saying you want to do stand-up over there is like saying you want to be a magician. It doesn't exist.

Comics are notorious oddballs. What's weird about you?
I guess I'm weird too. I play this instrument called a dutar, and I like going to cemeteries.