A week or so ago I went up on stage to do standup for the 4th time. 15 minutes before I went up on stage I looked at my hand as it shook while holding my notes. I’m still very nervous about this whole comedy thing.
It was a little different this time. While before I focused mainly on making people laugh, this time I wanted to raise awareness in people about various things. Mainly, everyday sexism things that I encounter. The reason why I was doing this was because a lot of the time I am very offended by other acts that are in the open mic standup that I take part in, as well as making people understand a little what it’s like being a woman in Frankfurt and having guys stare at my breasts or body as I go past.
As expected, there was a sexist act before me. It was a newcomer, who had been doing standup for a little while on the American bases, a young guy. He got up on stage and plagiarised a Dave Chapelle routine about how girls who dress like “bitches” should get treated like “bitches” (the guy’s set was much more focussed on this point than Mr Chapelle’s), then went on to talk about how he was surprised that a prostitute was a high flying student (a whore with a brain?! who’d have thought!)
By the time I went on stage I was fired up and ready to let all this anger out. Unfortunately, it was a very small crowd of just 30 people, most of whom were my friends and colleagues, and they were all very quiet. I started off with an off topic small story about how I can’t eat olives and so therefore am not an adult, then went into the feminism stuff. The audience were very quiet, and I didn’t get the whoops and cheers I’d hoped I would, but afterwards I did get a lot of compliments, so it must have been well received.
Perhaps a larger audience would have made more noise. Perhaps I am judging the level of noise too much and should focus on those people who said they really enjoyed my set and agreed with everything I said.
It seems that the standup comedy world is a very manly world, though. Every time I go to Youtube to look up comedians to inspire me, videos of female comedians are full of sexist and disgusting comments. Shows like Mock the Week rarely have women, and when they do, they aren’t given as much screentime as their male counterparts.
I want to continue doing standup here in Frankfurt since I really want to show people that you can be funny without insulting anyone. I want for there to be a large variety in what people can see on our stage. And I’d love for women to see little old me go on stage and have a go and want to try it themselves. That would be awesome.
Personally, though, I’d like to maybe try my hand at a few other stages as well. Perhaps take a trip to London or New York and see if the audiences there also like my routines. It’d be interesting to compare how a New York audience would be compared to a half German half expat audience that I have here in Frankfurt.
By the way, if you are in Frankfurt and would like to see myself and the others perform, have a look at the Circus website - the bar where we perform. I don’t do “The Best of Us” shows yet as I don’t have enough routines to be able to repeat yet (I don’t want people to groan when they’ve heard my routine before). Feel free to contact me if you would like to know exactly which events I will be performing at.