On New Year’s Eve, three of the Bay Area’s funniest women will perform their signature brand of stand-up comedy at a benefit for the Brava Theater. Marga Gomez, named SF Weekly‘s “Best Comedian of 2012,” headlines the evening with guests Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, named by the Guardian’s reader polls as the “Best Comedian of 2013,” and Micia Mosley, a nationally touring comedian with a PhD in Education.
Mission Local decided to talk to the three comedians about the past year in their lives, the Bay Area and the country. We got onto topics like sex, race, Google Buses, Miley Cyrus and how hipsters ruin everything.
Mission Local: So, how was your 2013?
Marga Gomez: It could have been worse. 2013 was a bad year for my love life. I didn’t go on one date. All I got was a wink on Match.com but I wasn’t interested. Her screen-name was Sadgirl1. Out of all the screen-names on a dating site she picks Sadgirl1? Which means the original Sadgirl was already taken. That’s why I love playing New Year’s Eve because we all get delusional thinking our problems will be over at midnight, and some people drink too much and I have bathroom sex with them. Brava Theater has beautiful bathrooms. Just saying.
Dhaya Lakshminarayanan: Some highlights for me: I performed in Singapore as part of the launch of Comedy Central Asia, and walked away as the Grand Prize winner after beating out a clown in a boxing ring. I used words. Some low points: My favorite, walkable local coffee shop closed; Congress — for obvious reasons. I want to invent an emoticon for the disgust/sadness/head-shaking I feel for them!
Micia Mosley: Mine was great. I finally started living bi-coastally, splitting my time between Oakland and Harlem. I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1995, but New York is great. New Yorkers are entrepreneurial. They’d be charging those Google buses right away, and setting up food stands by the stops. They’d find a way to make a good profit.
ML: Which brings us to the really important question: What are your thoughts on those Google buses?
DL: Now if someone offered to drive me around for free in a temperature-controlled cushiony bus with Wi-Fi, so I could avoid smelly, nasty, never-on-time, bumpy, diseased, rude-driver, crowded MUNI and BART — damn, I’d do it. Wouldn’t you?
MM: Make them pay. Build the infrastructure for a 24-hour economy and watch life transform.
MG: They look too plush and comfortable and that’s why it makes the rest of us jealous and turns us into angry villagers with torches. Why can’t they use school busses? I mean they’re still kids really.
ML: What about the Batkid?
MG: I wish that little boy all good things. It really showed us that there’s nothing wrong with getting attention. You shouldn’t have to have cancer to involve the entire city in role-playing. Let’s all take turns!
MM: So cute. This is the kind of attention I’d want the city or region to get, it shows we can actually be nice to each other…But maybe, let’s not wait until a kid has a-life-threatening illness to be nice?
DL: We comedians are often sarcastic, loud-mouthed and abrasive. Batkid melted my heart and the hearts of so many San Francisco residents. Everytime I saw Batkid’s photo or the throngs of Bay Area residents around him, I became a little less of a “comedian” and more of a human. I’m totally OK with that.
ML: With all the demographic changes happening in San Francisco right now, I’m curious to know what’s your take on being a woman of color in the Bay Area right now? Have things gotten better or worse?
DL: Thank you, first of all for asking this question! There is so much excitement for brown women across the country. Mindy Kaling has her own TV sitcom now. Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, won the Miss USA Pageant and she is the first Indian-American to do so (even though pageants are gross, she sounds smart and ambitious). Right here in SF, it is exciting to have so many women of color on the Board of Supervisors. And let’s not forget Kamala Harris who has been kicking ass and taking names as CA Attorney General after her A+ job as DA of SF….The Bay has its problems, but there is nowhere else I’d rather be than in SF.
MM: It’s interesting, I definitely feel like there’s a redistribution of face and place. I moved here in the mid-90s, and it’s not your Bay Area from 1995….Our culture has been taken and commodified in such ways. It makes me not want to tell anyone about anything. If you tell anyone about anything, prices go up, rents increase, so you stay in your little pocket. As a woman of color, it is a full-time job to keep hipsters at bay and hold onto the territory….Oh man, now no one is going to come to my shows, I’m going to be done in the Mission.
MG: It’s not as good as being Batkid.
ML: What was your absolute favorite thing that happened in the Bay Area this year?
MG: The biggest collective happiness I have ever seen was in June when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Prop 8. We were all walking on a cloud. I live near the Castro and everyone was smiles….For days after the decision cab drivers, waiters and more strangers were congratulating me on the decision. I had no idea I’m that obviously gay….The best thing that’s happening right now is the anti-eviction movement in the Mission. It’s not trendy or a fad. This is real. Everyone has woken up all of a sudden.
DL: The story of those companies dropping their Facebook advertising over domestic violence content sums it up for me. Activism still happens, and this was a great reminder that humans can still impact Facebook, Twitter and other behemoth social networking companies. Don’t kick a man/corporation (according to the Supreme Court, they are the same) when he is down. Instead kick him in the pocket. But don’t show up outside of Google HQ and do weird air kicks, aiming for the “pocket” because that will just make you seem weird.
ML: What was your least favorite thing? What really sucked and why?
MM: Candlestick closing is such a big deal — it’s cold, don’t get me wrong — not trying to be there when it’s freezing. It’s just a big deal to have stadiums in their actual city. To see Candlestick closed is just so sad. There are people who depend on that seasonal economy….That’s just a big hit. There are folks in the Bayview who need those jobs.
MG: Man, I hate the ugly condos springing up in historic and unofficially historic neighborhoods. They would never have filmed that TV show “Full House” in San Francisco if there had been an ugly condo on that street.
DL: I ate an amazing 100 percent free meal at Twitter. Let me explain. One friend invited me to come to lunch at Twitter. Originally I wanted to walk in, observe and then write an expose on how over-the-top Twitter’s cafeteria is and the gap between the haves and the have-nots nearby. But then I started eating. Free food tastes so good. This event of 2013 sucked because now I kinda want to go back for seconds, and thirds. And as far as demonizing Twitter — damn, they have fresh-brewed Kombucha!
ML: What about in the country at large? What was the most cringe-worthy moment in American culture this year?
DL: The Obamacare rollout. I wanted so badly for folks without health care to be insured and for those living on the edge to have better insurance. But no….Mr. Obama, next time you need help with something software-related, come to California. And better yet, ask me. My mom is a software engineer and my brother has been pirating software since his teens. Indians: we are doctors and software engineers. The best people to help with a health care website.
MM: The George Zimmerman verdict….It just basically said it’s legal to kill a black boy on the street. That makes me cringe at the very least. Miley Cyrus, that’s a runner-up. As a black lesbian who moved to the Bay in the 90s, I really thought we’d be farther along. This is just a hot mess.
ML: Any New Year’s resolutions for yourself?
MM: I need to go to Tahoe and Yosemite. I’ve never been to Yosemite….I think I’m going to get my Bay Area resident card taken away.
DL: Never to use the phrase “put the intention into the universe and really draw in the blessings that you deserve.” I’d rather say “I want to make more money, and dammit I will!”
ML: What about any New Years resolutions that the San Francisco Bay Area should adopt?
DL: If the SF Bay was an individual and I could give her/him/zhe advice, I’d say bathe more frequently. Also, don’t forget your immigrant roots. And everything doesn’t have to be artisan!
MG: Stop looking at your phones and focus on me.
ML: You three are performing at the Brava Theater on New Year’s Eve as part of a benefit to help fund the Brava. What’s so important about this theater?
MM: They do such a great job of being an artist’s space and educational space. And it’s a frickin’ beautiful space, I mean, come on!
MG: The reason Micia, Dhaya and I are doing the New Year’s Eve comedy benefit for Brava is because we are all passionate about preserving the culture of the Mission and Brava’s beautiful art deco building. Its progressive programming couldn’t be a better example of what makes this city exceptional.
The comedians of “Brava’s New Year’s Eve Comedy Fiesta” welcome in the New Year Tuesday, December 31, at 9 p.m. (doors and bar open at 8 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased in advance at Brava’s website.