Female/non-binary comedy troupe Mom’s Girls talks inclusivity, chemistry, and the art of being a natural-born goofer in this candid Herald sit-down
Lord knows we’re all due for a laugh. That could be the epitaph of many a Newfoundlander and Labradorian, but in the pandemic era, that rule of thumb has grown exponentially.
Enter Mom’s Girls, a female/non-binary sketch comedy troupe based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, whose main goal is to flip the script on the stereotype of females and inclusivity in comedy. Sound like a time and a half? Well, that’s because it is all that and your canteen full of chips.
Mom’s Girls make their long-awaited return this May at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s for Mom’s Girls Gone Wild (May 13-15), with the team of Elizabeth Hicks, Stef Curran, Allison Kelly, and Andie Bulman ready to serve up gut-busting laughs in an inclusive and safe environment.
“I think that’s totally our mandate, which is probably not surprising for a comedy troupe, but that at our core is what we want to do. Have people come to our shows and have them have an excellent time with their friends, with their family, with us,” shared Hicks in a sit-down with The Herald.
“A lot of the time we are just totally silly because everything is so hard right now, so let’s have a laugh about, like a sheep farmer, you know? But then other times we really like to write and perform satire about the situation, and Newfoundlanders maybe more than anyone love that kind of thing. We love laughing about our tough situation.”
GENDER BE DAMNED
With all featured performers, writers and director Mallory Fisher making up an evening fully produced, written, built and performed by female and non-binary artists, Mom’s Girls bucks common trends and misconceptions about ladies havin’ a laugh, as it were. But in truth, the comedic cogs in the Mom’s Girls machine just want to make you, and each other, crack up. Gender be damned.
“We don’t write sketches thinking this is funny for a girl. We write sketches that we think are funny, and I don’t feel like it has anything to do with our gender,” explains Kelly. “I mean, everything in the world, unfortunately, tends to have something from the outside telling you about yourself and your gender. It happens to be that we are four female people in a sketch comedy group, but that is not what shapes the writing process for us.”
“We are very fortunate to be constantly lifted up by our community and supported and have great attendance at our shows and lots of people following us. It’s all great, but it really is a reality that exists in some public spaces, a conception that women aren’t funny,” adds Hicks.
“We all heard growing up that girls aren’t funny. So it’s like a feeling in the air that you have to fight against sometimes. There are just so many examples of female comedians that have done amazing things, and continue to do amazing things. So it doesn’t make any sense when people think women aren’t funny. Really, we’re not doing anything totally out of the ordinary. We think that we have something as an individual troupe to bring as Newfoundlanders, as women, as young people. There are lots of different reasons, or factors that shape our material.”
Aside from a knockdown, drag-out evening of comedians at the height of their powers, Mom’s Girls has always strived to nurture an inclusive environment, aiming for laughs and that ever-rare ‘punch-up’ mentality in an industry that often thrives on cheap-shots and low-brow laughs.
“I think that if anybody left one of our shows with hurt feelings, that would be a nightmare,” says Kelly. “So that’s kind of a guiding principle, and at the core of what we’re doing is we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Anybody’s, because then that’s not comedy, that’s bullying. And there are so many comedians who are great at making you laugh without ever actually alienating a group or an individual.”
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MOM’S GIRLS’ FLAIR
And while the much-hyped and anticipated return to the stage for the Mom’s Girls comedy troupe has fans here and far buzzing, that’s not the only movement in the camp of an ever-growing group of immensely talented artists.
The Mom’s Girls team has been hard at work on an all-new children’s television series for Bell Fibe TV, Tales From the Floordrobe, and were kind enough to offer a sneak peek of sorts.
“The four of us wrote all the episodes and we were the ones acting in it, so it has been quite a long process,” shared Hicks. “Some of us were producers on the show as well, so it was really difficult, I won’t lie. But the idea was basically that we were going to put a spin on literature and history and put the Mom’s Girls flair on things like that.”
“The idea came from something we already had, but then we molded it to fit children and it actually worked really well for kids,” explained Kelly, sharing that the series has a rough late 2021, early 2022 release date.
“I think that actually is the strength of them, that they are really funny and they also really encourage self-realization for children. That’s what our goal was, and I think that we did it.”
“We made sure that every single episode had a problem of the day and then the story helps you realize the answer to the problem,” adds Hicks. “Now we’re back with all of our friends. What did you learn? And I think it was successful. We’ll see. We’ll have to poll the audience of children when the show airs.”
PUNS & PUNCHLINES
With a television series on deck and a much-hyped string of shows around the corner, the future is bright for a troupe whose intentions and heart are as sharp and pinpoint accurate as their puns and punchlines.
“It’s so important to me that everybody learns that it’s cool to be silly. Like it’s cool to be a natural-born goofer,” shares Kelly with a laugh, ending on a bizarrely poignant story that perfectly bookends our conversation.
“When I was young I wanted to be funny, but I also wanted to be attractive and I didn’t really, like, know that you could be both. And I remember this story of this girl in my grade and all the boys in my class were farting. And they were like farting and then laughing, farting and then laughing. And then this girl in my class, she farted. And then it was like silence. They were like ewww man, or whatever, and I remember just being like in grade three and knocked with the hypocrisy of it all. I can’t believe it’s funny when you do it and it’s not funny when she does it. For me, a huge part of this is like we want it to be funny when we do it too.”
And so it is. Go wild b’ys!