Emerging as a popular form of entertainment in the early 20th century, stand-up comedy has long been a male-dominated field.
With two shows, two lineups and 18 performers, the Lipstick Theater stand-up show on February 28th sought to shatter that tradition, offering underrepresented identities in comedy a platform to tell their ridiculous stories and showcase their talents.
Originally titled “Butt stuff,” an ode to the many mentions of butts in the sets, the show focused on the relationship people have with sex, ranging from tales of hilarious sexual exploits to not-so-quiet self reflection.
“I think sex can be really empowering for women to talk about,” said Ashley Pimlott, one of the two directors of the show. “It’s often a realm in which men dictate what is allowed. I think it’s important for women to have a voice in that sense because traditionally it hasn’t been so.”
For newcomers like Kelsey Phalen, lipstick stand-up is a supportive and accessible environment to try stand-up comedy for the first time, something that Phalen deems to be mandatory when you move to the home of improv comedy, Chicago.
“My act, in a lot of ways, was very identity based,” Phalen said. “It was a lot about my chaotic dating experiences, which are all gay. I didn’t try to make it identity based, but because I was telling stories that were true to me, it ended up so.”