Brooke Van Poppelen has some things to say on her new album, Hard Feelings. She humorously assesses herself emotionally and physically. Her range includes weight gain to dating younger men to how to score free drinks with dignity- “Just steal an unattended drink.” She delves into these perceptions and their fit into the larger picture. Her act articulates an awareness for her status in society and the trending latency to settle down.
While Van Poppelen admits she was previously married, she is living the life of a very single, independent woman. This means she is comfortable with spending a Saturday night on a petfinder website, and she is also drinking so much wine that she packs for trips blacked out. She is doing her own thing with only herself to consider. She describes herself as, “a grownup but not an adult.” She is 37 years old, and she makes it clear that, similar her peers, she is still renting. She doesn’t earn enough money to have nice bowls with pine cones in them. The standard she uses to decipher adult behavior is humorous and relatable. Women and young adults in general are waiting longer to have kids and to get married.
Maybe this is why she is able to go deep about her body odor, “emotions come out of my armpits.” It’s not just jab at smelling awful; she is revealing something accessible. She does this with everyday activities, such as expressing the severe anxiety from ordering a salad. When she was trying to lose weight, she opens up about how her food journal became a drunk, hate letter to herself. Van Poppelen teeters between bitter sentiments and frail self revelations. She speaks with sarcasm while expressing a sincere concern. These dualities create a fully fleshed comedian.
The rounded perspective creates an act which examines the current Western World. A lot of heavy words enter into Van Poppelen’s bits: white, privileged, single, woman, Midwestern, feminist – to name a few. She uses all of these concepts to create strong, funny punches. In fact, she blatantly puts blogs and web journalism on blast for having “women” trend as a hot 2015 topic. The bit transitions to an example of how the comic believes ziplining to be a white privilege activity that she enjoys. She picks at the patriarchy while acknowledging she is not without foul. The awareness makes the criticism work. Even when she talks about going after younger guys, she pokes at her need to date “a fix’er upper of a human.” She knows she is part of the problem too.
Brooke Van Poppelen has the ability to address problems and manifest them into something we can all laugh at. Even though some of the material gets personal, such as referring to her lady parts as “the good china” and questioning whether her mother is a sociopath, she is able to pan out and see the larger picture. Hard Feelings is an album about one comedian’s sensitivity becoming a listener’s treasure.
You can pick up your copy of Hard Feelings right now.