After getting shut out of the Make America Laugh Again showcase at the Siren (it was full when I arrived), I was determined to make it to Herlarious, an all-woman show also featuring Janeane Garofalo and hosted by Kathleen Kanz. This show was a joy to watch, and every comedian on the bill ended up being a gem in her own right.
Portland’s own Amanda Arnold got us off to a great start, with relatable jokes about joining the gym but not going, and the reason girls over a size 14 shouldn’t be wearing Spanx on a date: The unleashing of the fat is apparently like opening a dishwasher?
I got another healthy dose of Pat Brown, who had a great comeback for men who intrusively ask why you don’t have kids. (When the time comes, just tell them you can’t have them because you’re in possession of a “closed vagina.” They’ll be sorry they asked.)
Robby Hoffman (and her thick Brooklyn-esque accent) were up next, and she became one of my favorite comics of the night. She discussed why it’s difficult to fly as a lesbian (getting “batons” past security clearance can be an ordeal), being the seventh sibling, and why her normal appearance is deceptive (she’s the type of person who eats hard-boiled eggs on the bus).
Then it was time for Annie Lederman, who had made a visit to the Adidas Employee Store earlier in the day and was obsessively decked-out in a tracksuit and white Superstars. Right off the bat, I noticed her voice and face reminded me of Scarlett Johansson's (seriously, Google Annie Lederman). Lederman’s comedy was edgy as fuck, sometimes jokingly misandrist, as when she said, “I can’t imagine making a man come after the election,” and telling men “We don’t want to see your dick. We only fuck you so we can hide them inside ourselves.” HA! Lederman’s routine reminded me of the bitter, give-no-fucks attitude I have after breaking up with someone I never should have dated in the first place.
Janeane Garofalo wanted to talk wardrobe, saying that although she’s getting older, she’s not done with Urban Outfitters yet. “Young people, wear your hat indoors now, cause when you get older you can’t do it,” she said. It was funny to hear why brunch bothers her: People ordering incorrectly and not making eye contact with the waiter is just too much to bear. And because of her tendency to go on tangents, Garofalo says she’s “not a good comic, but I’d be great at a filibuster.” After going over her time, Garofalo asked one more thing of the Portland audience: “I plead with you, the next time I come to Portland, if I open an umbrella, don’t look at me like that.” Since I’m a PNW native and use an umbrella as needed, I wanted to yell something reassuring like “It’s not weak!”—but didn’t.
The following comic, Candace Thompson, was also solid. As someone with two parents of Native American and Black descent, Thompson described the benefits of being racially ambiguous: not having to embarrass or be embarrassed by her race, and being a “fair-weather Black person.” From her set I also learned about the terrible concept “negging,” and I’m pretty sure this has happened to me before.
Debra DiGiovanni was an absolute RIOT! From self-deprecating fat jokes to her take on the intricacies of PornHub and how reading romance novels has taught her she’s only a feminist outside the sheets, I was tearing up. Especially when she said it’s hotter to be oppressed in the bedroom (“Fuck me like you make more money than me”). Her jokes were great, but it was her manic delivery that really set the stage on fire.
The last comic of the night was animal-print-loving Dulcé Sloan, who said that President Trump doesn’t scare her because she’s been terrified of America her whole life. She went on to discuss feminism, saying she forgets she’s a woman sometimes because she’s “Black first.” Her bit became a subtle demonstration of intersectionality, and why it can feel too exhausting to be disenfranchised as Black, female, and fat all at once. Her set then evolved into an examination of how horny she’s become now that she’s turned 30 and her internal clock has sped up, detailing how her “body went from snooze to European techno.” I’m not looking forward to that, but am happy for the warning. Check out her appearance on Conan from last year.