Feminist comedians take over Reggie’s

Funny women took to the stage Friday night  to talk life, love and get some laughs

Concordia students crowded into Reggie’s as the second annual Feminist Stand-Up Comedy Night kicked off on Sept. 16. Put on by the Centre for Gender Advocacy, the evening’s lineup of comedians featured some newbies as well as a few veterans. The event began with an open mic session and was followed by sets from two renowned feminist comedians, Kalyani Pandya and Ify Chiwetelu.

The packed event kicked off with local comedian Nicole, who is relatively new to the comedy circuit. Last year’s Feminist Stand-Up Comedy Night was one of her first forays into the stand-up world. Originally from Saskatchewan, she started off by welcoming everyone to group therapy, and followed up with some poignant jokes about the cost of therapy and women’s haircuts. “When I do my finances every month, I’m like okay, do I want to be a functioning member of society or do I want to look good,” she said amidst applause. “We can all tell by my hair which one I chose this month.”

Right before the headlining act, Pandya took the stage and treated everyone to her hilarious stand-up, which focused on the fact she is queer and South Asian. She kept the room laughing during her entire set with jokes about her parents and their trip back to India. However, while she impersonated her parents for the skit, she also made it clear that cultural appropriation would not be tolerated.  “Now when I say these stories, I am going to use [my parents] accents, because it is their voices and I couldn’t hear it any other way,” she said. “But it is not okay for you to go and make those accents unless you are related to them or know them.” Branded “Ottawa’s funniest dyke” by Ottawa Xtra!, Pandya was part of the CBC’s Human Library series. She has performed at various venues across Canada, including Yuk Yuk’s, the Palais des congrés, and the Vancouver Queer International Film Festival.

Following Pandya was the night’s headliner, Toronto-based comedian Ify Chiwetelu. Winner of the 2015 Bad Dog Theatre Breakout Performer award, she joked about growing up black in Calgary and modern-day dating and using Tinder. Walking back and forth across the stage, she described what it was like to use the popular hook-up app after a weird or uncomfortable interaction: “You delete the app for like an hour, then look beside you like, oh my bed’s still empty, time to re-download that shit.” Featuring jokes about boobs, boys and life with parents who had escaped a civil war in Nigeria, Chiwetelu provided a set that was also relevant to all kids who grew up in Canadian cities and loved rap music way too much.

This event was part of the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s annual fall event series, Another Word for Gender: An Intro to Feminist Organizing and Action. The fall series runs until Oct. 4. The next event, an ask-and-answer with multi-disciplinary artists Vivek Shraya and Chase Joynt, will take place on Sept. 22.

For a full schedule of the events check out the fall events series page on Facebook.

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