laughter best medicine

We’ve ALL been there: Frustrations at work, your family not understanding you, kids with attitude, the boss yelling at you, miscommunications, and rude strangers treating people badly. There are a lot of valid reasons to be depressed and sad in this crazy world but I believe I have found the right antidote: comedy! Sometimes the solution is not in the form of a pill and many comics say it is free therapy for them to perform. Watching comedy is also free therapy; you can forget your troubles for a little while and laugh!

In November 2011, I started a group called, The Female Comics of Hawaii, inspired by the fact that as far as any comedians knew no one had ever started an all-female comedy group in Hawaii before. I wanted to be able to pay my comics well and to give them more chances to perform. Earlier that year I had started performing comedy myself regularly and I looked around – women weren’t getting booked for gigs as much as men were, there weren’t many female comics, they definitely weren’t making much money and there were NO female comedy promoters anywhere.

Andy Bumatai jumpstarted comedy on Oahu in May 2011 with his showcase of comics at the Dragon Upstairs and when that ended at the end of that summer, there was a small comedy boom here on Oahu that has continued to spiral and expand to this day. Today there are four open mics a week and three showcases on Oahu! One of the most popular open mics is every Thursday at Station Bar in Honolulu at 8 pm (across from the convention center).

I host 2nd and 4th Thursdays and Aaron Pughes hosts 1st and 3rd Thursdays, it is weekly and free. I encourage moms especially to get involved in comedy not only as audience but also as performers. On Maui there is a weekly Tuesday night comedy open mic at Three’s in Kihei, hosted by Power Up Comedy.

I am always looking for new female comics to perform in my shows. What could be an easier way to make people less depressed than telling jokes and making them laugh?

The big crowds started coming out for our very first show at the Dragon Upstairs in April 2012 and my Female Comics group so far has performed at Downbeat Diner, Hawaiian Brian’s showroom and our own 3-course meal dinner comedy show at the former Adega restaurant! We are a very diverse group of ladies: retired women, several moms, grad students, office workers, accountants and mainland guest comics. We have now done 20 successful shows and over 20 female comics from age 25-65 have performed.

My next goal is to create a network of outer-island comedy venues to do Female Comics tours. We had our first outer-island show at the Volcano Art Center on the Big Island in October 2013 and more are being planned. I hope to do a show in Kapaa, Kauai in summer 2014.

We are SO very excited about our very first Maui show coming up on Valentine’s Day 2/14/15. We are coming to Kihei, Maui for one special show, 8-10 pm at Mulligan’s restaurant. $10 cover at the door. Don’t miss this great show! – Eight female comics will perform (7 comics from Oahu: Patrice Scott, Porscha, Brandi Morgan, Mary Jane, Erika Swartzkopf, Mindy Lipton, Maura Sateriale and Corky Gardner from Maui. They will perform original comedy about their families, their lives and the hilarious places they have been and ridiculous people they have met along the way.

A great date night to bring your sweetie for Valentine’s Day or a fun venue to meet someone new! Please support women in comedy because…women really are just as funny as men!

Image Credit: Kara Jensen

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Erika Swartzkopf is a watercolor artist, musician, comedian, comedy promoter and head of the –Female Comics of Hawaii” group. She is originally from Harrisburg, PA and has lived on Oahu for 25 years with husband, Joe. Aloha! After our sold-out Maui show at Mulligan's in Feb., the female Comics sold out the Downbeat Diner here in Honolulu. We are planning the First Annual Wahine Comedy Festival Sept 6th at Eleven44 Bethel~ 2 fabulous shows, 15+ female comics plus two mainland headliners, Cate Gary & Robin Tran! Our intention is to do another comedy show in Maui, hopefully early next year so stay tuned. email: eswartzkopf@gmail.com