In hysterics at feminist comedy night

Comedy collective puts on frosh event

Host Shirley Whalen at the Grad Club on Saturday, Sept. 15th.

In most pop culture, feminist comedy is a punch line.

However, on Saturday night, The Hysterics Collective challenged that belief with their Hopes & Dreams comedy show at The Grad Club.

Part of the Alt Frosh event series, the feminist collective aimed to provide a safe, welcoming space for all attendees to feel comfortable in.

The show was a feminist and LGBTQA2S+ friendly event, meaning the comedians wouldn’t be making offensive jokes about women or people who identify as LGBTQA2S+.

Shirley Whalen hosted the show and performed short sets in between each performer.

Whalen joked many people think feminism means wanting to live in a world without men, but that isn’t true. They would rather have an internet without men.

According to Whalen, she only wants to go on Craigslist to buy a dresser without the fear of being cut up and hid inside of it.

The show’s line-up featured four professional touring comedians. Two of the performers were solo acts and the other two were an improv duo.

Carol Zoccoli, a Brazilian stand-up comedian, shared the difficulties of being an immigrant comedian with an accent trying to relate to her audience.

Being from Brazil, Zoccoli worried that people may not be able to relate to her childhood and her experience coming to Canada.

That was until she saw the movie Home Alone.

Zoccoli recounted being home alone as a young girl in Brazil and having  to defend her house from being robbed.

Her immediate instinct, she told the crowd, was to put on her father’s fedora, place a cigarette between her lips, and shoot a rifle out the living room window while yelling at the robber.

Zoccoli’s story resembled Home Alone so closely, she knew it’d be something audiences could find humour in, even if they couldn’t relate to it from personal experience.

Improv comedy duo, Coko and Daphney, followed Zoccoli. They asked the audience to give different emotions they could use as inspiration for their improv scene.

Someone shouted out “anxious” and immediately the duo started their sketch as if they had rehearsed it several times before. They acted out a scene at a small party and played two young, nervous people trying to navigate their first sexual encounter.

The scene flowed smoothly and the characters’ nerves escalated until they shared a first kiss, but the bit as a whole didn’t generate as much laughter as it did second hand embarrassment.

Headliner Courtney Gilmour—the first female comic in 19 years to win the Montreal Just for Laughs Homegrown Comics Competition—closed the show.

She told the crowd about her experience doing stand-up while naked at a nudist beach. For $20 and a free lunch, Gilmour said it proved how easy she was to book for any show. 

A large portion of her set was spent joking about her life as an amputee. Gilmour said that although she was born without hands or her right leg, she refers to herself as an amputee because it’s a more socially acceptable term in her experience.

She made self-deprecating jokes, but assured the audience it was okay to laugh, as she was confident and comfortable in her own body. 

That sentiment went for most of the show. For the Hysterics collective, feminist comedy isn’t the butt of the joke, but on Saturday night the comedians definitely were.

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