In recent years stand-up comedy has become cluttered with hackneyed voices and perspectives that grow duller by the day. Lenny Bruce graced New York City stages over sixty years ago. Since then we’ve seen just about every style of comedy. We’ve enjoyed the neuroticism of Woody Allen and the biting counter culture satire of Pryor and Carlin. We’ve witnessed the observational humor of Seinfeld and the anti-humor of Kaufman. Hell, there’s even been a comedian who smashes watermelons on stage. Point being, it is very difficult for new comedians to break through with a fresh point of view. This is the triumph of comedienne Meshelle, who deems herself “The Indie-Mom of Comedy” after her primary role as the loving mother of four. She only has three kids, but she jokingly considers herself the parent of her longtime husband. There has yet to be a stand-up who is happily married with children. Meshelle uses this to her advantage, which we noticed during a recent show at Gotham Comedy Club’s Vintage Lounge.
Up-and-coming comedian Willie Lynch Jr, opened the show. The St. Louis native recently moved to New York City from Chicago, and has enjoyed success within the tough club scene. After ten minutes of solid stage time, Lynch brought up Meshelle. She immediately presented her well-honed perspective, which is often challenging for rising comedians. Many struggle with presenting a definable voice in the first few minutes of stage time, but not Meshelle. Her viewpoint incorporated real-life elements such as her 16-year marriage, three children, and upbringing. These bits were shaped with a remarkably sharp intellect that sets her apart from comedians with similar joke premises. She puts herself in a niche market by focusing on motherly experiences, but there’s a large enough demographic that can relate to provide her great success. In addition to crafted material, she incorporated the right amount of improvisation to make the show fluid. A particularly enjoyable part of her act involved her dividing the room into two groups – the smart side and the stupid side. She playfully lampooned the brainless side for not understanding her sometimes-complex academic references. Any bit that lacked, she made up for with a unique animated delivery. She ended the night by sounding off a creed to any mothers in the room – “Step one: look like the girlfriend. Step two: cook like the grandma.” Over all her act was fresh, but it may fall short to audiences younger than thirty.
Meshelle pursued her passion of comedy three years into earning a Doctorate of Psychology from Temple University. Since then she has become an innovative voice in stand-up. She has appeared on Nickelodeon’s Search for the Funniest Mom in America 3 (Hosted by Roseanne Barr), Martin Lawrence Presents: 1st Amendment Stand Up, and The Blacklist: 20 Most Notable and Notorious Moments of 2009. On October 8, she recorded her debut album Funny As A Mother…, in Baltimore for Comedy Dynamics. In addition, she has an award-winning one woman show called Diary of a MILF, which is directed by Rain Pryor. Meshelle has a unique take on life that is sure to resonate with many. Her fan base is likely to continue growing all over the country, so be sure to see a show or two while she’s on the road.