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Winnipeg Comedy Fest features lesbian comic Chantel Marostica

‘Being gay is the joke, not the punchline,’ she says

Comedian Chantel Marostica explains where babies come from: when two mommies really love each other, they get Uncle Bryan to jerk off in a cup. Credit: April Plett

For someone who never found gay jokes very funny, Chantel Marostica has discovered being gay “is apparently the most hilarious part of me.”

A headliner in the presently burgeoning Winnipeg comedy scene after performing for a near-decade, the 30-year-old is now popping up everywhere: at January’s Winnipeg Comedy Showcase, at Rumor’s Comedy Club, and this month at Winnipeg’s annual Comedy Festival.

Marostica, who’s “very evidently a lesbian,” doesn’t skirt the gay stuff. With thoughts of starting a family very much on her mind, she recounts in one bit her dread at explaining to a child where babies come from — when two mommies really love each other, they get Uncle Bryan to jerk off in a cup. Which nicely illustrates her approach. “Being gay is the joke, not the punchline,” she says, beaming.

Thus it’s a pity that her approach is a “harder sell” in her hometown. “People who don’t do standup will say, ‘Are you gonna change your material for this or that audience?’” Marostica says.

She resists the temptation to trot out a safer act, though she will make the subject matter “easier to digest” for some rooms until she can win over the audience.

Being a woman has proven a more stubborn stigma, she notes. Male comics will tell her, apparently without a hint of self-consciousness, “I’m so glad you don’t do jokes about being a woman.”

“You have to be even funnier,” Marostica sighs. If she’s one of two women on the card, they’ll be separated in the lineup: “It’s like you can’t just send two women on after one another.”

At the top of the list of Marostica’s list of what’s funny is pushing boundaries. “Sarah Silverman makes me cackle,” she says, cackling. She loves how the provocative comedian’s jokes swerve unpredictably; Marostica, too, likes to find “absurd swerves” in unexpected punchlines.

One can only imagine the content of her volumes’ worth of jokes she dare not perform onstage, lest it “make my mother disown me.” Not that she doesn’t have her limits. “When you’re making fun of someone’s pain? Not funny,” she declares. Also unfunny for her are two presently popular categories in comedy: rape and abortion jokes.

“I’m not a huge dick-joke lover, not a huge fart-joke lover,” she adds. Well, maybe second thoughts on the fart jokes, she recants.

Still, once laced with a wealth of childhood and adolescent pop-culture references, Marostica says her comedy is now much more “adult.” And, for that matter, authentic. Despite her high-energy style, it’s no “character” onstage: “I’m definitely myself. I may have to bring extra energy to being myself when up there, but . . .”

Marostica seems to have ample energy when it comes to future plans. A relocation to Toronto is on her horizon at some point, but first she’s planning a DVD and hoping to help foster a larger local sketch-comedy scene.

As to why she does comedy, it’s simple: having grown up with a mood disorder, she can take something from the laughter of others.

Too bad so many people still haven’t realized she can’t just flip her funniness switch. “People fold their arms, lean back and wait for me. Maybe I should have a spinning bow tie on all the time.”