By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Photo by James BunoanThe soft bigotry of low expectations rampaged all over the California's Funniest Female Contest semifinals at Martini Blueson Saturday. I mean, all offense to founder Bill Word (who apparently teaches the aspiring Sheckys in his $195 standup-comedy seminar that a monologue is not complete without a reference to "Simonfrom American Idol." How come comics never give a shout out to Paula Abdul, or the grumpy black dude from the made-up record company?), but we really weren't expecting much. We thought his brainchild would include "comediennes" like the lady who once sent us a press release touting her "quip" at a Huntington Beach coffeehouse ("This is the place skin divers stop on their way to the beach") and offering her services as a standup-comedy instructor! It was our most favorite press release ever!
Instead, we were delighted to find that almost all of the females on parade were actually funny, real quotable and mostly cute!
The fun started long before the comedy did, as we sat around, stunned by the efficiency and helpfulness of Martini Blues' manager, who looked like Dave Foley in the brilliant Kids in the HallflickBrain Candy and wore a very cool, high-buttoning suit, and the even more efficient and more helpful Lisa. They should send hosts and managers from other restaurants—I'm talking to you, 55-minutes-to-get-chicken-wings HOOTERS—for training in the hospitality arts by these two, who are shockingly uninept.
So this is what a club for grown-ups is like: nice décor, two fancy stages (one usually for karaoke!), and managers without goatees or bleached-blond hair (on the men). No wonder The Orange County Register's nightlife dude, Barry Koltnow—who has been a grown-up at least since the Eisenhower administration—loves it so much!
Then the comedy started! It was a fabulous rainbow coalition; by my count, there were two women of color, several Jews, two fat chicks, an immigrant and a lesbian—just like Clinton's cabinet! MC Jill-Michele Melean from MAD TV started with an Asian-lady imitation that fell as flat as Ashley Bee's voice. She followed it with a joke about burquas in Iraq that didn't fly either, but she was charming when she recognized it. "That was a new one," she said. "Thank you. I'll work on that." She had very bad transitions (I will give you my impression of her transitions anon!) and a terrible Joan Rivers impression that was an excuse for dated Winona Ryder material, a dreadful Penelope Cruz, and a good, lisping Drew Barrymore that went downhill quickly; adorable, lisping Drew doesn't actually talk like Moon Unit Zappa.
Then Angela Hoover was up. Oops, she had a Penelope Cruz, too, and hers was good. D'oh! Oooh, her Drew Barrymore was spot-on, too! And had jokes in it! Ouch! At least Hoover had the grace to seem embarrassed about upstaging pretty Jill-Michele. Also, she made fun of her mom (to whom every stranger is a potential friend), but in a really nice way; apparently, mom likes to go to hip-hop clubs and bust moves from her jazz class circa 1971. Her mom sounds hot.Gayla Johnson made fun of black men, which is uncomfortable in a mostly white crowd even if she is black herself, but it was okay because they were low-class black men, and she was totally disgusting when she wagged her tongue all over the entire bottom half of her face while rubbing her pretend penis. When she took her white boyfriend to the Black Arts Festival, she said, she "forgot something really important." "I was like, 'Gee,'" she said bemusedly, "'we're the only white people here!'" Then she took out her falsie, recounting for us how she'd screamed at a guy at a club who'd liked her tits, "C'mon, Titman! Take 'em home! Love 'em all night," before she stuffed her falsie entirely into her mouth and chewed it while jerking off ferociously. That's my kinda funny female.
After a lesbian and a woman singing about masturbation, the MC came back to do a black-chick impression that also ate it. When will she learn that educated, well-intentioned, upper-middle-class folk in OC don't like to be fat racists, especially in public? Judging by audience response to jokes by almost every one of the ladies, the only people we're still allowed to make fun of are the Vietnamese women who do our nails.
Though there were only a couple of weak performances and I'd love nothing more than to show off my note-taking skillz by recounting the whole damn thing (it was funny! For reals!), I have karaoke to talk about.
So I'll leave you with the girl who stole my heart: a lovely, corkscrew-curled sixth-grade teacher who's originally from Russia. She was soft-spoken and sweet and talked about her students wearing their babelicious baby-Ts. "If you're 11, and you have a T-shirt that says, 'Nasty Girl,' it better be because you don't wipe your ass!" she shrieked softly and sweetly, before offering new suggestions for baby-T logos, like "Teenage Mom" and "Gonorrhea of the Throat." Then she tackled the weighty sociological question: "What the hell happened to the TOPS OF PANTS? I can SEE YOUR UNBORN CHILDREN!"