Bethany Van Delft can hardly believe it. The little show she, Deb Farrar-Parkman, and Janet Cormier started with a handful of comics at The Comedy Studio in 2000 marks its eleventh year tonight. ColorStruck: The Women of Color in Comedy show officially enters its second decade when it kicks off its two-night stand at Tommy’s Comedy Lounge this evening.
“That's crazy,” says Van Delft. “I don't think we've taken the time to think about how long it's been. We've just been making sure that the show keeps going year after year. We might have to have an anniversary party.”
More than just an annual show, ColorStruck also books showcases at colleges and festivals, expanding its roster with new comics as others leave the fold. “I'm grateful that we've been able to withstand the tests of time so to speak,” says Farrar-Parkman. “We've lost a few along the way. Most of the originals have left comedy altogether and others who joined the group in later years, have moved to other cities and are actively pursuing careers in those venues.”
Alycia Cooper (BET’s Comic View, Last Comic Standing) is a new face at the show this year. Susan Alexander, founder of the Five Funny Females traveling show, performs in her second ColorStruck this year, as does Iranian comic Asie Mohtarez. “We're getting to bring in established acts we work with on the road from around the country, as well as talented new comics we meet along the way,” says Van Delft.
The show has helped create a community amongst women of color in comedy, but Van Delft says it has been important for audiences, too. “I think it's been more of an important experience for audiences,” she says, “to get to see an entire line-up of women comedians of color, all talented with unique voices and stories to tell. It's not something you really see in Boston or New England very often.”
Farrar-Parkman, an Emmy-winning producer, says ColorStruck has helped her as a stand-up comedian. “The festival has truly helped me to refine my career, hosting abilities, stage presence and ability to perform before truly diverse crowds from old to young and in between,” she says. “I'm doing a show at the Improv in LA on April 22nd and am fully aware that were it not for ColorStruck, I might not be at the performance level to do the LA scene.”
Here’s the line-up for each night. Bethany Van Delft hosts both nights.
Deb Farrar Parkman
Sketch by Sheila Jackson