The show navigated...very complicated relationships and emotions through deceptively simple humourCallie Vandewiele

As it turns out, the name of veteran comedienne Callie Vandewiele’s solo show, Bitch Slapped by my Moon Cup… and Other Ways in Which Adulthood Is Not What I Expected does not refer to an actual incident in which Vandewiele got into an effeminate physical altercation with her menstrual cup. Or at least, I assume so, because she never brought up what would – let’s face it – make excellent stand-up material. Nevertheless, Bitch Slapped by my Moon Cup is a joyous peek into the backstory of an American transplant whose childhood involved Mormonism and goldfish in the freezer, as well as a satisfying end to a Saturday night. I would highly recommend that you go, but it was a one-night affair – so if you weren’t there, you missed out.

Vandewiele’s opening act was Cansu Karabiyik, a relative newcomer to comedy whose style of humor seems to lure you into a false sense of security, before hitting you with a jab of slight discomfort followed by a left hook of gasp-inducing irreverence. Karabiyik began with a fairly innocuous bit about clapping for various professions before asking a member of the audience if they had ever had sex with a prostitute. She continued with gems such as, “I’m a very progressive person. When I meet any woman, I assume she has a penis. And when I meet any guy, I assume he’s gay.” (You had to be there.) Overall, Karabiyik succeeded in taking up her own space while still whetting our comedic appetites for Vandewiele, whom she introduced by asking us to cheer as if she were “a stripper about to take her bra off.”

“The ability to see the humour in the hardships of adulthood is something we can all learn from her”

We obliged, although the cheers quickly dissolved into boos as Vandewiele clarified that she was under no circumstances going to take her bra off. So instead of showing some skin, she got under ours by launching into everybody’s favourite subject: politics. “As you can tell from my accent, I am not Canadian,” she clarified, an admission that practically required her to then take a dig at her beloved president: “It’s like seventeen alien lizards decided to stretch the skin out, painted it orange before climbing in, and proceeded to act like what they thought a human acted like.” Burn. I had to take a sip of my friend’s pint of ice water after that one.

But the show’s greatest strength was how it navigated what are, in fact, very complicated relationships and emotions through deceptively simple humour. Vandewiele really shone when she told us stories about her anarchist Mormon mother, the practical jokes that she and her twin used to play on their younger sister. She also recounted tales of her only living grandfather, who uses Microsoft Paint to annotate articles such as ‘The Seven Women That Christian Men Should Never Marry’ and send them to his feminist granddaughter, and her family’s insistence that Cambridge is just like Hogwarts despite her best efforts to assure them otherwise. This made me think that the show would have been even stronger had it more closely adhered to a tight theme: growing up and being a grown-up, something along those lines.

That said, Vandewiele deftly made stand-up hay out of problems that everybody in the audience could relate to (although maybe not everybody at once): student poverty, living apart from an extremely imperfect family that you love anyway, the pains of growing up. As in, actually growing up — finding an adult in your place one day and having to own up to that, even though you still feel like a kid with a few extra pounds in weight and no extra pounds sterling. But Vandewiele juxtaposes relatable problems with the idiosyncrasies of her own life (“Who knows who Michael Jackson is? I didn’t until he died”), which gives the show its flavour. The ability to see the humour in the hardships of adulthood is something we can all learn from her. Life is a bitch (slap), but often the best we can do is laugh, then live

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