This Saturday, stand-up comic Rachel Fogletto brings Comedy-Gasm back to The Irish Pol for another round of comedy from “the city’s edgiest and unashamed performers and comedians.” Read on for more about Rachel and the show.
WitOut: How long have you been doing stand-up? What got you started?
Rachel Fogletto: I’ve been doing stand-up for about 7-8 months. I had been doing other forms of open mics like spoken word and storytelling for some time, and I had recently been branching out to other types of performance and was in a Fringe show. I had numerous people tell me that I made them laugh when I would tell sex stories that were often uncomfortable and emotional situations. One woman I worked with in a show said, “You remind me of a comedian.” I thought that was funny for some reason, and I had always wanted to do stand-up but never really felt that I had the balls. So I finally tried it and realized that I had it all wrong. It took balls to get up there, yes, but I had actually had to grow a dick to stay up there, and keep coming back.
Stand-up was the most challenging form of performance I had ever done, and I feel like anything you do that you love should challenge you. Once I started I knew I couldn’t stop.
WO: When and how did you decide to start Comedy-gasm?
RF: I started to notice that as with anything else in life, there seemed to be a “majority” voice even within comedy, which always seemed to me, to typically be an art form of struggle. There are not a lot of women, most obviously. But I also wanted to see more comedy that was pushing boundaries from other perspectives. Not to get all affirmative-action, but I wanted to see more comedy from females, or people of color or from a queer perspective or even from a place that was not typical or already “acceptable edgy” comedy, like porn or jerk-off jokes. Not that I don’t love a good dick joke. I love a good dick…………joke.
WO: Can you explain the theme for the show? What do you mean when you describe it as comedy “by the unashamed, for the unashamed”?
RF: Following up on my last answer, I noticed there were actually a good amount of comedians that had a generally rogue sense of humor, or who were coming from a totally different walk of life that weren’t as present at the more crowded open mics. Different perspectives allow for different voices, different authenticity and ultimately, jokes no one has heard before. I felt myself gravitating toward comics who tended to make themselves vulnerable onstage even if their jokes were risky. I feel like the best art comes from the ability to be unapologetic even if it riles people. And of course, it has to be good. It has to be especially good when you’re ruffling feathers.
WO: How do you choose the line-up for these shows? Are you looking for a specific type of comic, or a comic with a certain type of material?
RF: Thank you for asking! Everyone’s biggest question is “Do all the jokes have to be about sex” Um, definitely not. The format thus far has been one “non-intentional” comedian, which is someone outside of stand-up performance but still is 90% comedic. Then follows 4 stand-up comedians. For the show’s debut, this created exactly what I wanted, which was a cross audience from different scenes like The Erotic Literary Salon, so the performers were able to actually tell jokes to a fresh audience. I also arrange the lineup according to joke style and tempo, rather than experience to create a cohesive “set of sets” I guess you could call it. It could be in my head, but it seemed to work well the last time. Everyone had a blast.
Because I personally tell a lot of sex jokes, I have a way of looking at the world through sex. I think that art and comedy and the relationship between the performer and the audience is a power struggle, like sex. We go up…we try to make people laugh. We do this in different ways. Sometimes we get emotional, sometimes we try to relate, sometimes we just try to entertain. Everyone is turned on by different things. But after a while, crowds, like people, get used to the same type of “foreplay” …they are desensitized to things that used to make them aroused, surprised, offended….and most importantly, impressed. I think that when you can craft a joke, especially a risky joke, in an unconventional way and make people piss themselves laughing, it’s like you gave them an orgasm. Ta-da!
WO: If you had to narrow it down to one thing, what would you say is the funniest thing about sex?
RF: I feel like I’m supposed to make a joke here. Sex is always funny…if you can’t laugh at yourself as a sexual being, you’re doing it wrong. I work out a lot of my sex life on stage, because I owe it to people to talk about something that means a lot to me.
The funniest thing? Colored condoms.
The next ‘Comedy-Gasm’ is this Saturday, May 18th at The Irish Pol (45 S. 3rd Street). Admission is $5.