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Abigail Bruley is a writer, performer and director with a penchant for exploring the hefty things with a light touch, with a grin, with an elbow nudge. Her affinity for the human psyche, the world of the metaphysical, the surreal life of the cognitively disabled, and the dark humor of it all informs her style at every turn.


She credits her innate sense of humor with finding the funny in the harrowing experience of building a new life from scratch after acquiring a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2013 (an incredible experience detailed on the Repeller website).


The idea for a dark-comedy Limited Series, Main Remains, came to her after she had come back online from a coma (an unbelievable, yet true story). The brush with death igniting a drive to live in the world of the series, she wrote, directed and performed in two supporting short films, Main Blessings(starring indie-rock legend Ted Leo) and 2019’s Main Absolves, winner of Best Dark Comedy in the 2023 LA Film Awards. 


During this time she also created a comedic narrative web series, The Rub, and began exploring auto-biographical work by making the short film, On the Dot, about a funny and relatable brain-injured patient, a project she fleshed out during her time as a fellow in the 2023 Respectability Entertainment Lab Fellowship.

She got her chops writing and performing comedy at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and The People’s Improv theater under teachers like Michael Showalter and James Murray, and creating the cult web series Down the Show, a sketch comedy series that attracted special guests like Janeane Garofalo, Kevin McDonald and Eddie Pepitone and earning Bruley a Writer’s Guild Nomination for best writing in a New Media series.

Her illustrations have appeared in publications all over the world and her paintings and 3-D art have exhibited in galleries across the nation.

She’s Ivy League-trained in the life of the mind, having received certification to teach Mindfulness from both University of Penn and Brown University, and holding her own course, the Begin Again class, for a population that has been through great challenges and is ready to start life over again.


"I think in pictures, so I felt really drawn to the art form of film as a way to make my point-of-view into a tangible thing. I had the chance to discover what kind of stories I wanted to film in college and they always had a comedic bent to them. I think this probably stemmed from the fact that I was using my friends to fill out the cast and crew and I just liked laughing with people. As I got older, I realized that I liked writing comedy into my films because of its pureness, I guess you could say, it's closeness to the truth of the thing. So from there, I started studying it more closely."

She’s accepting of her wavering energy, doesn’t apologize, asks for what she needs. It’s around the one-hour mark, nestled into her vintage furniture, that I realize that there is a lot to learn from Bruley. That her modus operandi may be one of medical necessity, but broken down for parts, it isn’t so different from self-respect.

Consider her relationship with consumption. Due to her processing limitations, Bruley must be hypervigilant about what she takes in. Whereas most people budget time regardless of their energy, she does the opposite, safeguarding her energy like a precious resource. This means looking forward instead of back, committing only to things in which she finds purpose, dropping lines of thought that don’t serve her. Anything less is a threat to her wellbeing.

“Events that specifically celebrate the female voice give the motivation, support and community we all need on our climb to be seen,” Bruley says. “WilmFFilm Fest is revolutionary, [and] their work is beyond the scope of a film fest; it is a radical push for change.”

" I wanted to write something about reentering the world after having your identity completely obliterated. Each character is a little piece of the experience I went through. The experience was completely absurd and, for the right sense of humor, pretty funny."

"There is this balance between sticking to your vision and surrendering to the circumstances

that comes with any collaborative project,” says Abigail Bruley, who wrote, directed, and starred

in short comedy On the Dot."

Ted Leo is playing a priest in the new short film Main Blessings

Indie rock legend Ted Leo has taken up acting, and will appear in a forthcoming short film by Philly filmmaker Abigail Bruley. 

Words With Nerds Podcast interview with Artist and Filmmaker Abigail Bruley

Abigail Bruley is an artist and filmmaker. Her upcoming film “Main Blessings” starring Ted Leo is coming soon. You can contribute and preview her film at You can follow her on Twitter @unbruley, Instagram @Brulesey & @Femme_flash_films and Facebook @AbigailBruley & @Femme Flash Films.

This week, Josh talks to Abigail Bruley (Down the Show) about Buster Keaton, recovering from a major car accident in Central America, and why Iowa shouldn’t be so picky. Follow Abigail’s all-female filmmaking group and their upcoming projects at or on Instagram at @femme_flash_films.


"For my latest Coffee With Comedians, or CWC if you prefer abbr.’s, I sat down with Abigail Bruley, who is a member of improv group Nielsen and the creator and head writer of Down The Show."


Sketchblock  founder KL Thomas  interviews Abigail Bruley for the latest podcast episode!

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