For O’Leary, the best female comics are “storytelling women who tell the truth with their material” like Margaret Cho, Vicky Shaw, Jessica Kirson and Tracy Ullman. As far as being an out lesbian comic, O’Leary asserted: “My comedy is about ‘how I see the world and how the world sees me,’ so my identity and comedy is a way to tell the truth.”
Yet, O’Leary admitted that sometimes it’s difficult to connect with lesbian audiences: “I think lesbians, we can take ourselves very seriously. We think that it is our job to take care of every minute of the Music Festival or potluck meet up. So it wasn't until I hit Pearl’s and Key West that I found my sistahs! Everyone at Womenfest knows that it is about being together and laughing until you tinkle fun — just no tinkling in the pool please!”
On Friday, September 7, Curiously Strong Comedy 2012 features stand-up performances by Erin Foley, Sandra Valls, and Chantal Carrere.
“I would describe my comedy as hilarious,” deadpanned Foley. “People spit their drinks out, snort, scream out my name during jokes, carry me around the room. I wear a cape on stage. Total insanity.”
Foley’s perspective on being a lesbian in comedy: “I consider myself a stand-up comic, first and foremost. I also happen to be gay. It isn’t the focal point of my act. That being said, if I’m going to be labeled ‘lesbian comic’, it’s a lot better than ‘crappy comic’, ‘super ugly comic’ and/or ‘that comic who has enormous knee caps.’ At the end of the day, funny is funny and that’s my goal.”
When Valls came out as a lesbian comic, she found this brought her more material: “My big, fat lesbian life is comedic.” She admires Bette Midler, Tina Fey, Kat Williams and Dane Cook, particularly for their physical humor and for having “a grasp on silly and smart at the same time.”
Carrere first discovered comedy in a high school talent show: “I was doing something that felt right.” A self-described “unapologetic, fun truth teller,” she promised a “high-energy” performance.
Creator and director of Key West Burlesque, Christa Hunt (aka Tatah Dujour), will present Forbidden Fruit on Saturday night. She discussed how they will appeal to a Womenfest audience: “We have put together a show for women, by women, incorporating female to male drag, along with fun and sexy classic burlesque numbers.”
Hunt shared that “the focus of the show is comedy and performance—not just tearing our clothes off and spinning around a pole.” She also confirmed that women make up a large part of the fan base, and added that “the show incorporates the elegance of classic burlesque while being just risqué enough for today’s audience.”
For Foley, it’s all about the anticipation of Womenfest: “I’m counting down the days until thousands of ladies in Tevas and cargo shorts descend upon Florida and rip it up!”
Valls expressed the same outlook: “I can’t wait to perform! Music, drinks, dancing, comedy, the ocean! What more do you need?”
Womenfest Key West, September 4-9, 2012
Hosted by the Key West Business Guild
For the complete schedule of events and tickets: www.womenfest.com
Comedian Christine O’Leary at Pearl’s
Saturday, Sept. 5-8
Friday, Sept. 7
8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
San Carlos Institute, 516 Duval Street
Womenfest Burlesque 'Forbidden Fruit'
Saturday, Sept. 8
9 p.m. to 10:3o p.m.
Upstairs at Mangoes Restaurant, 700 Duval Street
Tickets at 305-771-0279