In today’s contentious political climate, it’s understandable that some people turn to comedy in an attempt to seek refuge from the terrible, never-ending news cycle—and the reality that we could all be nuked, quaked, or sliced by a white supremacist on any given day. As much as I can get down with letting comedy shows be blissfully apolitical, now really isn’t the time for storytellers, artists, or comics to hold back. When influential people aren’t spreading messages in line with the resistance—when they’re consistently quiet? It’s unsettling. But when I hear intelligent people speak about culture, social issues, and, yes, politics, with humor, nuance, and some semblance of hope, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
Enter Frangela, the Los Angeles political comedy duo (and best friends) Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton. The two Black comedians met in the ranks of Chicago’s Second City improv troupe, and have appeared on a variety of television shows together, including VH1’s Best Week Ever and a “Best Stand-Ups in America” episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Individually, they’ve acted and done voice work, and if you’re into romcoms, you may have seen their joint “If He’s Not Marrying You...” appearance in 2009’s He’s Just Not That into You.
Just three months after Donald Trump won the 2016 election (while losing the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes), Frangela launched their resistance-focused podcast, The Final Word, in which the two Black comedians hold meaningful discussions of current events and include a segment unpacking the “Idiot of the Week.” The pair’s genuine friendship makes their fiery banter approachable and all the more endearing. Now more than 50 episodes in, the podcast has become an outlet for their politically driven anxiety, with themes that encourage listeners to “Stay Mad, Stay Frosty,” “Stand Up and Be Counted,” and “Don’t Let Them Take Your Joy.”
This Saturday, Kill Rock Stars will host Frangela’s debut album recording at Curious Comedy Theater, with Portland’s Funniest Person Caitlin Weierhauser opening both shows. It’s hard to predict what topics will be covered. During past shows and podcast episodes, the duo has acknowledged all of us regular folks who make up the resistance, and who continue to make calls to our elected representatives, accomplishing things like getting Michael Flynn fired and defeating alleged pedophile Roy Moore. It’s safe to say their set will include well-deserved props for all the results of our previous efforts; now it’s our job to make sure there are new ones to celebrate.