Indianapolis is perfectly positioned to bloom into an epicenter of comedy: an inexpensive home base with a supportive scene, and a three hour-drive (or less) to get to Chicago, Lexington, Cincinnati, and Louisville. So it makes sense that Indy has so many awesome local women comics working in and around our city. Familiarize yourselves with these local names and buy tickets for both local shows and national tours to help Indy’s comedy scene thrive. These ladies are hustling for your entertainment—and couldn’t we all use a good laugh these days?
LOCAL LADIES OF LOL
Need a bit of hustle inspiration to go with your laughs? Hannah is your girl. She’s become a regional favorite, hitting stages in a healthy 200-mile radius from the Circle City, building a Midwest comedy community that pays off big for Indy’s scene. Red Flag Comedy is the brand under which Roschlein gathers newbies for open mics, helping build up Indy comedy from the ground floor. She’s not just in it to win it for herself, but for everyone who loves a good laugh in the Circle City.
If you’ve been out to any kind of comedy show in the last year, you’ve at least heard Gwen Sunkel’s name. She’s a nurse practitioner by day and an unbelievably funny comic at night. Make a point to go catch her recurring show, “Hot Tub Sex Machine”, at the White Rabbit. It’s part comedy show, part infotainment—with Sunkel hosting a hilarious discussion between two medically-trained pros about the whole panorama of sexuality. It’s as excellent as it is necessary in a post-abstinence-only-sex-ed world.
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The Bourbontown Burlesque Festival was a dreeeeeaaaammm hunny! I encourage burlesque as variety entertainers to apply next year. Thank you @holly.harvest for having me and @theskylardavis for these pics of me making the most glamorous dick jokes. @bourbontownburlesque #wigsday
Ask any Indy comic who their faves are, and Aisha Brown’s name will come up way more than once. She’s put in the work on the mic and has quickly risen to headliner status. Her jokes are wonderfully filthy, as Brown feels so comfortable on the mic, she often sits during her set. Imagine the funniest friend you have who makes you spit your drink at every party, multiply it times 100, and you’re still not even close. Follow her on Facebook to see the dozen or more shows she headlines and hosts each month.
For someone with an exotic name (which Madrid turns into a great joke), Lexy Madrid seems like someone you’ve met before. She’s a Midwestern comic’s comic, with a tight set of self-deprecating humor about her life and her family (“The upside of having young parents is they smoke weed. The downside is they always know when I overcharge them for an eighth.”) done in a bone-dry style. Keep your eyes peeled for her appearances on Rocketship Comedy bills.
Mo’s jokes are so sharp, you might get cut at her shows. She employs a cheeky delivery style for her punchlines in an exaggerated vocal fry, and mines her experiences dating as a 5’11” woman for some of the best material. (PS, don’t tell a tall woman she “looks like the kind of girl who’d help you move.”) She also regularly appears on Rocketship Comedy bills from Black Circle to the White Rabbit and many other clubs.
This Saturday Night Live alum was born in Okinawa, Japan, but spent her youth right here in Indianapolis. A Pike High School grad, Zamata went on to famously portray Rihanna in her SNL debut alongside Drake. She’s been performing with the Upright Citizens Brigade regularly since 2009, and TV and movie appearances have ramped up fast and furiously. Look for her in the new movie Spree, which came out January 24th. You can follow her on Insta @thesheertruth.
After growing up in the Geist area, Gailey returned from Purdue at the height of the 2008 recession and started doing comedy as a way to reroute her jobless boredom. And that turned out to be a great gamble, as Gailey has appeared on Conan, been on a Comedy Central Presents special, and written for the ESPY awards. She has since moved and spends time on an Indy-Chicago-LA-NYC circuit, but you can keep tabs on her by signing up for updates on her website and following her on Twitter where she often talks about our beloved Colts and Pacers.
CATCH ‘EM ON TOUR
Just because they’re not locally born and raised doesn’t mean we don’t want to catch these funny women when they pass through town.
Philly-based Radzinski is one of the hardest working comics on the road. She’s been on the scene for over a decade, and in that time, she’s honed a brutal style of dry comedy (“I saw a bumper sticker that said, ‘All my kids have paws.’ That’s the cutest way to say you’re barren.”) She’s Philly-tough and a strong word of caution goes out to any heckler trying to take her on. One word: don’t.
She’ll be at the Helium comedy club in March.
You must have seen her on Netflix by now, as she just released the follow-up to her wildly popular (and quotable) comedy special, Elder Millennial. (It’s called Unveiled, ICYMI.) She’s got a more aggressive and physical delivery, moving around the stage so much that you get a little tired watching her. It’s that kind of engagement that keeps audiences coming back and buying more tickets. She is truly a teller of uncomfortable truths.
Catch her headlining tour at the Murat in March.
Sarah Murrell is a regular contributor to Indy Maven.