by Brenda Hillegas
Bloomers began at University of Penn in 1978. A tradition at the Ivy League school open to men for many years, now the women were more than ready to start their own musical sketch comedy troupe. Entirely student-run productions are the core of Bloomers, so in May the group launched a KickStarter to help make their first-ever women in comedy festival a reality.
LaughtHERfest was an all day event this past Saturday featuring a women in comedy panel, improv and stand-up workshops, and ending with a performance by some of late night’s
Kicking off the evening was Penn graduated and previous Bloomers member, Saturday Night Live’s Vanessa Bayer. Bayer got her “abortion joke out of the way early” while talking about life after college in Chicago and performed a popular Friends impressions bit. She’s done this on Kimmel and in stand-up performances throughout the past few years, but it never gets old. She also treated the crowd to Weekend Update favorite, Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy and channeled Miley Cyrus in anticipation of Cyrus hosting this season’s SNL premiere.
Also performing were Michelle Wolf and Aparna Nancherla. Both women were chosen last year by Time Out Magazine as two of the top ten funniest women in New York. They also both have incredibly impressive resumes and currently write for Late Night With Seth Meyers.
Wolf got the crowd laughing with a new spin on the Cosby jokes circulating lately and had an absolutely hilarious bit on women and their periods. She closed her set by reading a text thread between herself and a guy she was trying to get rid of. Catch her for a few shows at The Stand NYC this week.
Nancherla ended the evening. She comes from the Upright Citizens Brigade and just finished touring with John Oliver and Tig Notaro. A highlight of her performance was her experiences with being cat-called outside of her apartment. She performs regularly at the UCB and all of her tour dates are listed on her website.
In between the comedians, Penn’s own Bloomers performed, as well as comedy groups and stand-up acts from Brown and Columbia. Many of these performers could easily be on Time Out’s top ten list within the next few years.
Bloomers’ fall show will be happening from October 22-24th. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, consider checking them out. LaughtHERfest needs to be an annual event, so it’s important to show these up and coming comedians as much support as possible.