The last stand-up comedy show I went to was a performance at the prominent comedy club The Second City in Toronto in eighth grade. I don’t remember much about it, I was still too young to understand a lot of the humor and I was more interested in the musicals on Broadway. So going into She Laughs, a comedy event in Lansing put on by the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I was pleasantly surprised when not only were these local lady comediennes funny, they were all very relatable as well. Emcee Brenda Nelson set the stage for me, introducing the show and performers with her quick quirks and comical accessories. One of her accessories included a large wig which Nelson described as a “wig with its own area code.”
First in the lineup was Wendy Bower. She had never taken on comedy before, but despite feeling a bit nervous, she produced a good lineup of witty stories that had the audience laughing loudly. A friend of hers advised her to bring a laughing dog, which only added to the laughter, especially when Bower told the story about running herself over with her own car.
The lineup got better and better, following with Cynthia Ward, Carmen Hall, City Councilwoman Kathy Dunbar and Karen Williams. It’s safe to say the jokes started out clean and took a fun but dirty turn during the second half of the show. The audience’s sides were splitting.
Many of the jokes focused on embarrassing stories about their mothers or fathers, or how they’ve embarrassed their own children. A couple of the women noted their inability to follow directions to get from point A to point B, or their husbands’ refusal to stop and ask for directions. Dunbar opened with political antics and some great jokes about the beater she drives, teaching us all a lesson about judging a book by its cover.
Aside from the hilarious performances, there was a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, a bar and tables set up with jewelry, soap and knitting for people to peruse and buy if they liked. The auction tables were set up beautifully, adorned with burgundy and white tablecloths and covered with gift baskets, posters and more.
The event took place at the Radisson Hotel, a convenient downtown location that offered a great area to set up the tables outside of the ballroom where the comedy show took place. The Women’s Center was able to sell over 500 tickets to the event. Manuela Kress, co-director of the Women’s Center, joked that their goal next year for the sixth She Laughs performance was to be in the Breslin Center.
Although the event benefited the Women’s Center and focused on women’s lives, men were more than welcome and many came — although they may have been the brunt of many of the jokes.
She Laughs brought more laughs than I’ve heard in a long time. It was refreshing to have such different women stand up and still tell jokes that I, and everyone else, was able to relate to.