The packed crowd broke into laughter and applause after the woman standing before them asked how many of them had had a one-night stand. Not normally the reaction you’d expect at a synagogue event but entirely fitting for those attending the Humor Me: The Betches of Comedy stand-up comedy showcase at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue last Saturday night.
Sponsored by the sharply satirical minds of BetchesLoveThis.com as a fitting way to promote the website and their recently published book Nice is Just a Place in France: How to Win at Basically Everything, the evening brought together six young comedians (only one of whom was male) to riff on topics near and dear to the hearts of the audience, which was nearly universally composed of young women in their 20s and 30s, much like the creators of the website, the “Betches.”
“We love stand-up comedy,” said Jordana Abraham, who, along with her friends Samantha Fishbein and Aleen Kuperman founded the website. “We’d like to do more comedy shows like this.” Musings on the complexity of text message conversation, drunken adventures and the perils of sexting, the comedians filled the two-hour show with near nonstop giggling and raucous shouts. “We thought they did an awesome job,” said Samantha Fishbein, another founding Betch. “Their material was really fitting for this particular audience.”
Sara Schaefer, of MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, made a surprise guest appearance, teasing members of the audience about their youth and saying she’d hold off on using her divorce jokes since they seemed so full of hope. Schaefer found more in common with the audience, evoking a mass nodding in agreement when she described the perils of shopping at Lululemon for athletic gear and approving applause when she concluded she was going to just work out in full denim.
Despite the venue and the clear appeal or at least recognition of Jewish-related jokes, Betches Love This is not aimed at a Jewish audience in particular.
“We make an effort not to be too biased towards Jewish humor because we definitely think that a major part of the appeal of Betches is that it has nothing to do with religion or race or demographics; it’s a mentality. The three of us happen to be Jewish but we never intended for it to be targeted solely towards Jewish girls,” Fishbein said.
That said, when Sara Armour, lamenting the lack of a Disney princess who was Jewish, suggested that any Disney song lyrics about one would have to mention how she recognizes people from camp, she provoked an explosion of laughter.
The growth of the Betch brand has been rapid, beginning while the three attended Cornell and deliberately hid their identities, a tactic since discarded in order to expand what they could do with their work such as the comedy show, the first of a series they plan to host over the next several months.
“I’d like to try doing it sometime,” Abraham said, suggesting another possible venue for the kind of unapologetic humor the website has become notorious for peddling, sometimes to cries of outrage but to much more frequent bursts of laughter judging from the eagerness of the crowd to purchase the book, shirts, shot glasses and other merchandise on display after the show.
Fishbein acknowledged there is always some indignation at some of the rough satire they write but pointed out that whatever it’s called, the kind of assertive and self-aware confidence at the root of their philosophy will always exist in some women.
“This type of betchy female behavior has some timeless characteristics,” she said.