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Lady Parts Comedy celebrates 10-year anniversary

“Our group is different because we are specifically for marginalized gender identities. So that is for trans, nonbinary and female performers. So we are pretty much open for anyone who is not a cisgender male to come and do comedy with us,” Eishat Ahmed, Director of Lady Parts Comedy, said. 

BGSU has three different improv comedy groups on-campus; one of which is Lady Parts Comedy. They are the newest of the three groups, celebrating their 10-year anniversary this year. 

Lady Parts is a comedy group on campus that does both short-form and long-form improv. They also do sketch comedy, which is different from the other groups on campus. They also write and perform prewritten, pre-planned comedic sketches.

While Lady Parts is a full comedy group today, it did not start off as a team. 

“The history of the team is very interesting because, when it first started, it didn’t start as a team right away … it would be all the ladies from three other teams. They just came together and would do one show, once a year, as the women in improv. But eventually, they were like ‘why don’t we just do this all the time and be an official team,’” Ahmed said. 

The majority of the recruitment for the team happens during the first few weeks of the fall semester with a table at campus fest, followed by optional workshops and ending with a week of auditions.

“I actually first found out about the group at campus fest. It was the last group I visited. Then I dragged my boyfriend to a workshop and we both ended up doing it. And in high school I was a big theater kid and everything so I wanted to find some sort of way on campus to still interact with that creative side of myself and I am so glad I did find improv because it’s the perfect place for that,” freshman team member Rebecca Strack said

Over the years, Lady Parts has had to overcome several obstacles. Ahmed said that at the start they were not seen as a real team. While the other groups have Friday shows, Lady Parts historically has had to have shows on Saturdays, which can be difficult with many sports having games on Saturdays. 

“I think the biggest challenge we’ve had to overcome is related to COVID-19 because we were really struggling and weren’t able to meet up and have any practices over that online semester, so just raising awareness of Lady Parts on campus when things started back up again was a bit of a challenge,” Sabrina Klavinger, Assistant Director of Lady Parts Comedy, said. “Me and Eishat were the only two members for a little bit before the start of this year, so we were a little scared if we would get a whole team together and we did. So I’m really proud of us for doing that and thankful that Eishat was there to help me.”

Despite the struggles, the group still pushed forward. This included having their annual Women in Comedy show.

“I would say our Women in Comedy that we have annually is something that people may not know about. It is our biggest show of the year and it’s a charity show. It is the only show that we charge admission for and all the proceeds go to the Cocoon (a local shelter for domestic and sexual abuse survivors). This past year, we raised over a thousand dollars and (two years ago) we raised over a thousand dollars. It’s a great way that we made an impact on the BG community,” Klavinger said.

The group has become a space for members to grow in comedy as well as other parts of their lives. 

“It’s made my first year so great. It’s given me all sorts of new friends and connections to make inside and socially but it has also taught me a lot of skills like helping to not overthink as much and communicating with people more. So what is really great about it is although it does help directly with practicing your improv skills, it also helps all sorts of areas in your life. Like I said, I’m a business major and there are a lot of skills I learned in improv that can really help with my career and professional life. So being in Lady Parts has helped me in so many different aspects of my life … If there is ever a time when I was struggling a little bit, they were always there to have back,” Strack said.

Lady Parts shows are a chance for those to gain an appreciation for comedy they may have not experienced before.

“There is this misconception that only men are funny, you know, women are not funny, marginalized people are not funny. So I want people to come to a Lady Parts show and be like, okay, not only are these people funny, but this is funnier than what I had just seen someone joking about. Something that is not as serious as something that a woman or a trans person might be dealing with and might be choosing to joke about in their material. Our marginalized performers add a really, really deep layer to comedy,” Ahmed said.

Those interested in supporting the group outside of attending their shows can follow the group across their social media accounts to find updates on their shows, workshops and tryouts. You can find them online @ladypartsbg on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok and on YouTube and Facebook under Lady Parts. Their next performance, the Alumni Show, is on March 19 at 7 p.m. in room 115 in the Education Building.

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