By Erin McCalla
Brooke Cartus, and she’s recording a comedy CD.
(True, that wasn’t funny, but we’re not the ones with a CD coming out.)
“I work out six days a week, and I’m still a size large. … I’m really passionate about women lifting up other women, and I feel like the best way to do that is talk about the ridiculousness of how your pants don’t fit after you put them in the wash.”
But that doesn’t mean Cartus’s humor is exclusively for women, and she admits she was nervous about choosing the name of her CD. She didn’t want to pigeonhole herself. In her performance, she tells stories about dating, body image, her friends and sometimes her “idiot ex-girlfriends.”
“I don’t think that I have ‘girl humor’ and that men don’t enjoy my jokes. I think my jokes are relatable to everyone. But I do think women identify with what I’m talking about,” Cartus said. “Like, some men don’t even know what Spanx are, and they ruin our lives everyday. I dread weddings because I have to put on a scuba suit under my dress.”
Cartus got her comedy start after coming to Columbus from New York for law school. She’s starting her third and final year at OSU and doesn’t know what she’ll do after graduation.
“I keep resisting growing up, but I guess I’m going to have to. Comedy has helped law school, and law school has helped comedy,” Cartus said. “The only way I’m getting through law school is comedy, because you have to laugh at the ridiculousness of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree and you might not get a job.”
And because of that, it’s the perfect time to record a CD.
“I have a lot of solid jokes, so I kind of want to capture this moment and have it, so I can kind of move on and work on new material,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to grow and take risks.”
As a kid of the ’90s, Cartus is influenced by comedians like Chris Farley and David Spade. She claims Farley is her “spirit animal.” She learned how to be comfortable on stage because of her undergrad degree in opera performance, but she says she doesn’t share the same improv skills as the late Saturday Night Live actor.
Just after moving to Columbus, Cartus joined a local improv group. The only reason she got in was because she lied and said she had experience.
“I went for the easy crap, dick jokes. You wanna see something sad? Watch a closeted lesbian joke around about blowjobs,” she said. “It was a disaster! I didn’t even know what I was saying.”
Shortly afterward, her improv coach saw her perform standup at an open mic night.
“He told me, ‘You are so funny; never do improv again.’ So I quit the group and focused on standup.”
Since then she has honed her craft at open mic nights, performed at festivals and comedy clubs, and has opened for other lesbian comedians such as Erin Foley and Fortune Feimster. After recording her album, she plans to send it to clubs and booking agents to book more shows across Ohio.
While Cartus is aware and appreciative of LGBT fans, she said she doesn’t want to perform exclusively in gay bars and even claims her best crowds tend to be straight.
“Breaking those gay stereotypes about gay people is what makes it fun,” she said.
“When you meet someone after a show, I’ve had people say, ‘I’ve never met a lesbian like you before.’ And I I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what that means!’ But maybe they will go to their job and say, ‘I saw this gay comedian and she was so cool.’ So there’s just one less person out there who thinks that gay people are having circuit parties and drinking white zinfandel at 10 am on Tuesdays. I don’t know where they get these stereotypes.”
Tickets for Cartus’s Sept 13 show are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. You can purchase VIP tickets for $20, and you’ll get a free coozie, a meet-and-greet, assigned seat and appetizers. For more information and to purchase tickets on Event Brite, visit BrookeCartus.com. Size L for Lady will be available for download on iTunes.