Sunday night at the Bell House was filled with musical comedy, starting with Camille Harris, a comedian and jazz musician whose charming physical awkwardness meshed in perfectly with the pouty adolescence of the songs she sang, like “Kindergarten is for Communists.” We transitioned into Adira Amram and the Experience, who entered the stage dancing to Backstreet Boys’ “Backstreet’s Back.” The musical act brought the stage to life not only with the aggressively provocative dance moves, but with their brightly colored jumpsuits and makeup. They performed “Finger Blast” amongst other songs, and later engaged the audience in a dance party at the end of their set. My one gripe is that I would have loved to see more of the Experience, dancers Jessi Erian and Maresa D’Amore-Morrison, take the stage.
The always charming Reformed Whores were next, putting their sweet Southern charm on topics like masturbation, being horny, and a ditty for their lesbian fans, “I’m Eating Out.” Capping off the musical comedy for the night were folk comedy quartet Summer and Eve, who tried out some “controversial” moves by only singing songs about men.
There were a plethora of great acts, but surprisingly, the most inspiring part of the conference was the Think Tank session held on Sunday afternoon in collaboration with ?What If! Innovations. It was hard to know what to expect with a description as vague as a “think-tank – to turn our talk into action,” but the session turned out to be personal and emotional. We filled out a questionnaire about comedy and ourselves, listing our goals for the conference, our proudest moments in life, and more. We split into groups to identify our “baby birds,” or the driving forces in our lives, and how to turn our “baby birds” into “dragons,” concrete, attainable goals. It sounds simple. What person isn’t always thinking about their goals and how to achieve them? But speaking out loud and coming to this conclusion by repeatedly asking yourself “Why,” is a different experience.
I put into words why my goals are important. I spend a lot of time instead my own head, and it makes me feel like I know everything there is to know about myself already. But fleshing out the “why” together can really change your perspective. It is truly moving. Bad Assery featured plenty of successful and talented women performers, but it also introduced the attendees to other women who share the same vision.
After three days of amazing content, what Bad Assery proved is what women in comedy already know but what the industry seems to be sadly oblivious to – there is a huge wealth of diverse content in the stories of women that needs to be told. From standup to musical comedy, sketch shows to podcasts, every woman featured in the conference was able to share her story through her own unique vision of comedy.
Reformed Whores – Birth Control
The first Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference, March 28-29 2015, was launched to bring women together to showcase the comedy of women, and talk about defeating sexism in the industry.
Related essays by Diana Chan:
Beating sexism in comedy, thoughts on Bad Assery, NYC
Women and the ownership of comedy, Bad Assery, NYC