Sunday, March 12, 2017

Women comics being BAAD!

Javon Egyptt presides over Women Laugh Back,
a comedy night at BAAD!
(photo: Charles Rice-Gonzalez)

You'll rarely find me in a comedy club. It's not that I don't like to laugh. I do. I love, love, love good comedy as well as humorous elements in any of the arts I enjoy. But with everything else I cover as a critic or attend as a fan, comedy clubs are just not something I make time for.

So, I don't have hard evidence on this, but I doubt your usual comedy club features straight, queer and trans women--particularly, women of color--all gracing the same evening. No, for that, you have to hop the #6 up to the Bronx and visit BAAD!

Left to right: Elizabeth "Macha" Marrero, Robbyne Kaamil,
Javon Egyptt, Lisa Harmon and Katrina Goodlett
(photo: Charles Rice-Gonzalez)

It's Women's History Month and, while we all pray Ben Carson has nothing to say about that, BAAD! has launched its annual BAAD!ASS Women Festival. Friday night's stand-up comedy show, Women Laugh Back--MC'ed by the ebullient Javon Egyptt and her many wigs and costumes--showcased the talents of Robbyne KaamilLisa Harmon, Katrina Goodlett and award-winning performance artist and BAAD! favorite, Elizabeth "Macha" Marrero in a brisk-paced if sometimes uneven lineup.

Kaamil, above all others, won me over by the very act of scraping my last good nerve. She opened her set--unexpectedly, inexplicably--by belting and emoting her high-pitched way through "Tomorrow." Yes, that "Tomorrow." The one in which "the sun will come out." And then her irritating persona just took off, never letting us catch her catching a breath while, for instance, she pressed home the shaky argument that Annie was "a little bitch from Bed-Stuy," and check that hair if you have doubts. A curious preoccupation with Black women's first names ended in the bright idea that the National Weather Service should give Black women's names to weather threats. Do that, and you won't have all these fools thinking they'll just stay put and ride out the storm! I had to bow to Kaamil's way of putting herself--and it all--together, coherent and unrelenting. Later, in an aside about our toxic politics, she counseled, "Don't be quiet, because when you're quiet, nobody pays you no fucking mind." Kaamil will never have this problem. And if she ever did, she will never have it again. "If they don't do right, kick them the fuck out."

You GO, Kaamil!

BAAD!ASS Women Festival 2017 runs through April 8 with a variety of programs showcasing the creative work and activism of "fierce women and transwomen artists." For schedule and ticketing details, click here.

The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance
2474 Westchester Avenue (Westchester Square), Bronx

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