Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WICF Spotlight: Beards & Broads Tonight at ImprovBoston

Matt Kona - the "beard"
in "Beards & Broads"
The Women In Comedy Festival kicks off tonight with shows at ImprovBoston and Mottley’s Comedy Club, the beginning of a five-day schedule that includes Jen Kirkman, Kurt and Kristen, and Morgan Murphy at the Brattle and, newly added, Rachael Dratch performing on Friday’s 7PM show at ImprovBoston. Performers are coming from all around the country for stand-up, sketch, storytelling, improv, and musical comedy. I will be spotlighting a few of the shows as the week goes on, including tonight’s Beards & Broads stand-up show.

Not everyone on the bill is a woman. The “Beard” in “Beards & Broads” is Matt Kona, a person of alternate genitalia by the standards of the WICF. It’s an inclusive Festival, which means men were encouraged to submit for acceptance. This will be Kona’s first comedy festival. He says he’s excited to see the shows, the panels, and the workshops, and to hang out with the out-of-towners. “It’s a good vibe, all around,” he says.

Though Kona is hosting, he didn’t put together tonight’s show. “I was kind of amused/flattered when not only was I chosen to be the host, but my facial hair was a part of the name for the night,” he says. “Either that or it's because all the women on the show are married to secretly gay men. I'm pretty sure that's what ‘beard’ means in some circles.”

How does it feel to be one of a handful of men on the bill? “It's cool,” he says. “Last year Josh Gondelman was the only non-female, and he's back this year in addition to a lot of hilarious comics that are blowing up in the scene at the moment like Kyle Ploof, Matt D., Gary Petersen, Rob Crean, Tim Vargulish and more. So it's good company to be in.”

Kona went to last year’s WICF, and says it was a learning experience. “[I] had a blast and met a lot of great people, both those involved in running the shows and performing,” he says. “I definitely benefited from Jackie Kashian's road comedy workshop and the intimate Free Open Mic/Workshop that Maria Bamford put on in particular. I was there at 8AM to make sure I was one of the nine people to get a spot, along with Jenny Zigrino and Matt Donaher who were also braving the cold to be a part of it.”

And now, abruptly, two questions:

Who are you looking forward to seeing, both on your own show and at the festival in general?

I'm excited to see Jessica Brodkin, she's from D.C. and is the only out of town comic on the Beards and Broads show. I've only seen video of her so I'm looking forward to seeing her live and to talk to her about the burgeoning scene down there. I hope to make it over to The Dress Up show the next night (the 10th) at Mottley's. It's a monthly show run by Bethany Van Delft and Erin Judge, and it's consistently great and fun to see people get decked out for comedy. I'm glad that it's a part of the WICF and I'm sure it will be mutually beneficial to the festival audiences, performers and the show going forward in the months. I'm really looking forward "Kurt and Friends" and Kelly MacFarlane at IB 8pm on 3/11 as well as Giulia Rozzi (who killed it earlier this year at Mottley's) doing her famous Stripped Stories show with Margot Leitman later that night on the 11th at 11:30pm at IB. The big show at The Brattle Theater of course goes without saying. People should buy tickets for that now because it will set out soon.

Why should people see your show?

There are a multitude of reasons for people should see my show. For one, it's opening night and that means there will be an undercurrent of excitement that will simply not be there on "night after premiere night." It's fun to see people waltzing around with their newly printed festival lanyards pretending they’re back stage passes for a heavy metal shows and it's the best time to buy a festival t-shirt before they run out of it in your size. Also because the ImprovBoston main stage is a great room, and I may or may not open my set by reaching into a bag of tongue in cheek over the top sexist jokes/phrases to say and then attempt to dig myself out of and win back the audience. Will I be able to pull it off? Will I pussy out? Only one way to find out…

Women In Comedy Festival - Beards & Broads: Stand-up: 8PM, $10. Mainstage. Hosted by Matt Kona with Kristin Seltman, Theresa Condito, Shea Spillane, Tari Fanderclai, Niraj Shah, Erika Kreutzinger, and Jessica Brodkin ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect Street, Cambridge, Ma, 02139. 617-576-1253

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1 comment:

Maria said...

Great interview Matt and Nick!