Every other Friday, we’ll explore one of comedy’s underrepresented — but thriving! — genres: musical comedy. From artists who cut their teeth in comedy clubs with a guitar and a dream, to artists who make funny with full bands backing them; from going behind the scenes of classics like from the Dr. Demento show, to uncovering the deepest corners of YouTube, we’ll highlight a hilarious musical comedian who’s out there making the world laugh with expertly crafted tunes.
This week we’re turning our focus on the bawdy and hilarious Reformed Whores, the Southern-bred (but currently NYC-based) duo of Katy Frame and Marie Cecile Anderson that has been described as the love-child result of a drunken tryst between Dolly Parton and Tenacious D. Reformed Whores both skewers and celebrates county music with their ribald and toe-tapping tunes and clever turns of phrase.
Forming in 2010 after meeting at a mutual friend’s party in Brooklyn, New York, the two actresses-turned-comedy musicians began writing songs almost immediately after meeting each other, and haven’t slowed down since. Basing their tunes on relationships, dating, love, and loss was a natural fit for the country music style, and pulling their material from their own love lives seemed to work so well with the genre. Calling themselves Reformed Whores also seemed fortuitous, as it reflected so much of how they felt about what they were writing, and the name itself apparently dictated so much of what their act would become.
And what an act it is, too. Right off the bat, Frame and Anderson stunned fans with their beautiful harmonies and raunchy tunes, warning of the mishaps of Drunk Dial-ing, the need for some “Southern Cumfort”, the importance of remembering to take their Birth Control, and the fact that yes, “Girls Poop Too.”
These tracks and more can be found on their first album, Ladies Don’t Spit, released in 2012. Now while the majority of their tracks are of a sexual nature, clearly that’s not all they sing about — as the above video showcases. In fact, Frame and Anderson have gone on to use their musical prowess as a platform to help promote more civic-minded discourse through lyrics that include riffs on women’s rights and empowerment, such as with their response to Rush Limbaugh from 2012 when he called a female Georgetown law student a slut, or in 2015 when the Redskins sited the Reformed Whores as a trademarked name that was (in the estimation of the Redskins anyway) more offensive than their own name.
But whether singing about topics that resonate within the current climate or just opining about sexuality and dating, one thing seems to shine throughout each song – the music itself. With Anderson on ukulele and Frame joining her on either guitar, washboard, or accordion while both lay down the sweetest harmonies around, one finds themselves lost in the gorgeous melodies while laughing along with songs about how much their Mamas disapprove of their tunes, or the cadre of Douchebags one has to deal with being a modern woman.
It’s no surprise then, that their second and most recent album Don’t Beat Around The Bush (which debuted in the iTunes Top 20 Comedy Chart in 2016) featured some of Nashville’s most talented studio musicians, including Dave Roe Rorick (Johnny Cash’s bass player from 1992 to 2003), Jeff King (Reba McEntire’s guitar player), Mike Johnson (ACM Steel Guitar Player of the Year), and Ken Lewis (Lana Del Rey and The Civil Wars) on an album that creates a throwback to country radio shows featuring a variety of skits and songs full of the Reformed Whores’ unique blend of raunchy, humorous lyrics coupled with down-home, country-centric musicality. Between tracks with titles like “Online Dating,” “Eating Out,” “Willy For A Day,” and “Hump-A-Lot Bear” it’s clear that Frame and Anderson have a hold on what makes audiences love what they do.
Nowadays, you can’t escape the Reformed Whores. With gigs all over the country at venues like Zanies Comedy Club, Carolines on Broadway, Birdland, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, The Meltdown, and more, and featured appearances on IFC, PBS, CBS, SiriusXM, Gotham Comedy Live on AXS tv, as well as opening on tours for the likes of Dweezil Zappa, Les Claypool, and even “Weird Al” Yankovic, Frame and Anderson look to bring their humor and harmonies to anyone who’ll lend an ear. In fact, next month the Reformed Whores’ “Grand Ole Cuntry” tour hits Scotland at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with more tour dates available here in the states the following month.