This article contains sexually explicit material.
It’s not unusual for a comedian to bare it all on stage. But in her new webseries, Comic Strips, New York comedian Jaime Alyse Andrews exposes more than her inner musings.
Andrews’ series draws on her real-life experience as both a comedian and a stripper, to give viewers a uniquely humorous and honest look at the very vulnerable worlds of stripping and standup comedy.
Andrews co-created the series with her writing partner Angelica Pasquini, and the duo recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund season 1 of the series. The promising, NSFW first episode is available on Vimeo.
According to Andrews, the idea for the series had been percolating in her mind for some time.
“I’ve always been interested in the things that are outside of what’s considered normal, or what society considers more wrong,” explained Andrews. “I’ve always loved, like, David Lynch ever since I was about 15 and began to get exposed to real movies… because he looks at [what’s considered deviant]… and it’s like, is being a stripper worse than being a finance guy?”
The series went from Lynchian fantasy to tangible reality last fall, when Andrews ditched her bartending gig and began stripping in a New York City club.
“I was so tired of sitting in the same dive bar with the same regulars year after year and it was getting really depressing,” Andrews said.
She quickly found that stripping—though more profitable than bartending—was not without its own challenges. “You have to hustle, you have to put on an act, and it’s emotionally and physically exhausting,” she said. “Everyone thinks stripping is easy money but it’s really a lot of work.”
Andrews would come home from stripping, call Pasquini, and share all the gritty details of her tumultuous new work world. Together, the duo crafted the stories that would make the first season of the series.
Comic Strips juxtaposes the highs and lows of stripping with the unlikely parallel struggle of trying to make it as a standup comedian in New York City. The main character, based on Andrews, is a comedian who strips to pay the bills. But Andrews and Pasquini aren’t making light of strippers or their clientele.
“These women are people and their stories need to be told too,” she said. “And our show isn’t about making fun of the men, either. The most important thing to me is that this will be told in a sensitive, genuine, and respectful way. We’re not mocking anyone.”
While Andrews is aware that she may receive a fair share of criticism for tackling this subject, and for choosing to go nude in her series, she’s not about to let that stop her from taking big risks.
“I’ve been preparing myself for what people will say because I know people will assume things about why I’m doing it or be critical of [onscreen nudity],” she explained. “But I want to do it. I really want to do full-frontal, and I’ve talked about this with Angelica, because it’s like, I loved Forgetting Sarah Marshall but it’s like, how many times have we seen Jason Segel’s dick for comedy? If that can be funny, why can’t my pussy be funny?”
Hey, why not?
The Kickstarter for Comic Strips ends July 22.
Screengrab via House of Nod/Vimeo