This year, Kuumba will present its first free comedy show in years, Black Like She – Women in Comedy Showcase. Featuring Anne-Marie Woods, Zabrina Chavannes, Keesha Brownie and Coko & Daphney, these comedians take a tongue-in-cheek approach to being a Black woman in Canada.
We had a chance to sit down with the brains behind Black Like She – Women in Comedy Showcase, Anne-Marie Woods. This quirkalicious lady, self-proclaimed, tells us all about her background in comedy, the story behind the show and her fellow funny ladies on stage.
Q. How did you get into comedy?
Honestly, I started out as a funny kid who couldn’t sit still and got in a lot of trouble for distracting other kids. But my first real experience was in 1997 with my one woman show I’m Just Sittin At The Derby Waitin For My Ship To Come In! This show was born out of a silly poem my friend Gordon and I were riffing on one day about a woman who only dates American soldiers. That show ended up being a Fringe Hit in the Atlantic Fringe (meaning I sold out all of my shows) and that led to my other show Waiting to Explode.
Q. Black Like She – Women in Comedy is your brainchild, how did this show come about?
I’m known for producing or performing spoken word or theatre events these days but the last few years I realized I wanted to get back to something I enjoyed. So, I started to attend the Second City Diversity Weekends. Then I took the Yes Yes Y’all Rap improv class which lead to me trying stand-up this year, and performing at a DARE storytelling event and just the other week I did stand-up in Yas Kween.
Through this I started to meet some amazing diverse comics. I was looking for a place to pitch a type of comedic variety show for a while now…and then I remembered Kuumba. I got on the phone with comedians that I met this year, explained the concept of the show and asked them to be a part.
I knew that I did not want it to just be stand-up so getting Coko and Daphney on board is awesome because of their sketch and improv work. I also wanted it to be interactive and fun so that there could be some elements of surprise or unexpected humour.
Q. Who are some comedians you admire?
I actually always admired Whoopi Goldberg because of the one woman show she had on Broadway years ago; that show launched her career. But, locally I admire Kenny Robinson for being in the game this long and hosting his Yuk Yuk’s show that has helped to bring other comedians into the fold. I love Russell Peters and the fact that he’s gone worldwide.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about the other comedians taking part in Black Like She?
Keesha Brownie is funny and sassy and most definitely on her way up, Zabrina Chevannes makes me wonder how she can do all of this and be a mom and a nurse, and Coko and Daphney are humorous bursts of energy personified. I can’t wait to share the stage with these ladies and let loose. And I only ask that people still respect me the next day.
Be sure to catch Black Like She – Women in Comedy Showcase, Kuumba’s free comedy show, February 5 at 9pm.