CafĂ© Con Comedy producer Lisa Geduldig agrees that laughter is definitely cathartic. â€śItâ€™s also an interesting concept for strangers to get together and have that collective experience, usually in the dark.â€ť Leading the audience in a group â€śOy Vey!â€ťÂ Ms. Geduldig got the evening under way at the Dolores Park CafĂ© Con Comedy Friday night. The line-up included an anti-death penalty advocate (Aundre the Wonderwoman), a union rep (Nato Green) and an author from the New York Times bestsellerâ€™s list (Beth Lisick), smart comedy featuring a broad range of comedians not usually represented on the same bill: women, GLBT, and people of color.
Instructing us in the routine of the eveningâ€”I talk/you laughhâ€”Geduldig talked about her own parents who have accepted her choices since she came out 24 years ago. When friends of theirs disowned their daughter for coming out, they assured her, â€śWe would never do that!â€ť â€śI know,â€ť Lisa said, â€śIâ€™ve tried everything!â€ť Her parents are supportive but a little unclear on the concept. â€śWe have friends with a gay son youâ€™d really like!â€ť they offered.
Next on the bill was Nato Green doing road stories from the Mission. Speaking of the CafĂ© Gratitude that serves vegan raw food, he notes three requirements to be a patron there: You have to go to Burning Man, have a degree in Womenâ€™s Studies, and have a positive attitude toward your food. â€śWhen I leave,â€ť he says, â€śIâ€™m hungry, Iâ€™m gassy, and ashamed to be white.â€ť About his experience getting arrested at the first Iraq war protest, Green noted all the numerous â€śAffinity groups,â€ť another name for the activists he came with. They were the â€śanti-imperialist puppetry convergence,â€ť the â€śglobal intifada,â€ť and the â€śfuck-you-pig-cops.â€ť In jail, along with the 3,000 people who got arrested, â€śWe immediately got in arguments about why we opposed the war and partitioned the jail cells according to ideological lines.â€ť
Beth Lisick has taken on the self-help industry and read from her new manuscript describing her S-H experiences, ranging from a midnight drumming circle to improve her finances to a Franklin Covey Symposium that cost $699. She shared her revelations about the definition of business casual dress she encountered: 1,000 people all in khaki pants with a braided leather belt. The greeterâ€™s robotic welcome address reminded her of a champion of diversity: â€śItâ€™s the law of the land, itâ€™s the right thing to do.â€ť Lisick is convinced her own slouching/unkempt style is part of her DNA. Her Everybody into the Pool made not only the NY Times bestseller list, but Entertainment Weeklyâ€™s list of Top 10 non-fiction books of 2005.
Continuing the line-up was Nick Leonard who performed stand-up at Josieâ€™s Juice Joint Cabaret and has appeared nationwide. His comedy graced the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2004, the same year he was voted one of San Franciscoâ€™s top 10 comics by Karma.com. A former Cosmonaut and international bon vivant, Nick produces San Franciscoâ€™s only bi-weekly gay comedy showcase, QComedy. He spoke of the day-job he left, driving a school bus. The screaming, hitting, crying, throwing up! He was such a bad example for the kids. He wonders about those school bus accidents where the bus is on the railroad tracks and the driver is thrown safely three blocks clear into a bush.
Aundre the Wonderwoman is an engaging and clever satirist and has been described as The Queen of Nothing Sacred, taking on everything from animal lovers to presidential politics. Speaking of the idiot in the White House: â€śDonâ€™t you think his eyes are too close together? He single handedly has destroyed the myth of white superiority.â€ť This is one very smart, very funny woman.
The second half of the evening included Gretchen Rootes, Erin Souza, Kenny Yun, Brent Weinbach, and Carla Clayy, all equally funny and unique. Rootes spoke of her mom who is getting to the age where she could easily be pushed down the stairs, and the frustrations she and her partner encountered at the SPCA trying to adopt a dog living in an SF apartment with no yardâ€”she would have settled for aÂ â€ścrackâ€ť puppy. She does â€śthe Lordâ€™s work: telling dirty jokes to drunk peopleâ€ť and did a hilarious bit on men lying about the size of their phallus even when theyâ€™re almost dead. Of one older fellow who came on to her, she noted â€śhe hasnâ€™t administered his Johnson since the Johnson administration.â€ť
Souza was raised by a wild pack of wolves and spoke of MUNI (Moving Unusually Neurotic Individuals) and the newest Bayview to Castro high speed line. Souza has trouble imagining droves of Castro dwellers longing to show off their new chaps in Sunnydale. Quick tongued Kenny Yun did some terrific riffs about his family, speaking in â€śAsian Eubonicsâ€ť about the bad investment he was, â€śworse than Enron, more like a junk bond,â€ť and got to play off and embarrass several of the patrons. He wasnâ€™t the only one, but thatâ€™s the risk you take seated in the front row!
Banned from CBS, Brent Weinbach hopes to be rich someday so he can shop at Safeway, Whole Foods being out of his range entirely. â€śI believe in the Vagina like some people believe in God. The only proof is faith!â€ť He continued, â€śIâ€™m the J.C. of masturbation. I donâ€™t masturbate, so you can!â€ť
Ending the evening was Cobbâ€™s Comedy Club regular Carla Clayy, relating terrific stories about working in the lost and found department at San Francisco Opera, where she hasnâ€™t had to buy a cell phone in three years. â€śIf youâ€™re ass is over 35,â€ť she admonishes, â€śdonâ€™t put shit in the seat pocket of the plane. If you put your laptop on the floor, forget about it. Donâ€™t expect it to be there the next day. You go to sleep, your shit is gone.â€ť And then there was the man who left his prosthetic leg for three days. â€śHe was running late,â€ť she said, â€śI wanted to whup his ass.â€ť One tough, hilarious woman!
Geduldig creates, produces and MCs of a variety of annual comedy shows: Kung Pao Kosher Comedy (now in its 15th year), Funny Girlz, The George Bush Going Away Party, and Charo! She strives to produce â€śintelligent, inclusive comedy that is void of racist, sexist, homophobic stuff that a lot of mainstream comedy seems to be based on.â€ť Her next comedy event is Kung Pao Kosher Comedy presenting The 9th Annual Funny Girlz, a Smorgasboard of Women Comedians, Saturday, May 19 at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., SF. Tickets are $22.50 to $35 advance ($3 more at the door). Buy or reserve your tickets at City Box Office, 180 Redwood St., #100, SF or phone (415) 392-4400, (415) 522-3737 or visit www.cityboxoffice.com or www.koshercomedy.com.