They've shared hotel rooms, Huddle House pancakes, and poop jokes, so it only makes sense that the Reformed Whores and Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting would share the stage at the 2013 Charleston Comedy Festival.
Love, puke, politics, sluts, women's rights, relationships, gun control — you name it, this melodic duo can sing it.
Strong and sweet, with a little Southern kick, displaced Dixie comediennes Marie Cecile Anderson and Katy Frame are back at the CCF crooning and clowning this year, with handmade housedresses and accordion and contrabass clarinet in hand.
After the duo responded lyrically to Rush Limbaugh's ridicule of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, the Reformed Whores have become a household name. (See: "Slut, Slut, Slut.") Frame's hometown preacher even complimented her "lady band" after Sunday service on a recent visit home to Nashville for the holidays. "That was something I thought I'd never hear," she says. "We were in the sanctuary!"
The goal for these two has always been to crack each other up, but the subject matter has changed since the Reformed Whores first got together at a birthday party two years ago. "When we started singing, we were both in bad relationships, so the Reformed Whores was definitely a release for that," Anderson says. "And you know, sadness worked great, but we've moved on to other subjects."
The Reformed Whores are self-described feminists. "How could we not be? We write songs about our lives," Anderson says. "And we happen to be strong ladies. We don't want to sing about being weak." The Reformed Whores have managed to accrue a fair amount of male fans as well.
For the 2013 show, the duo has planned a ton of new songs, jokes, and surprises ... possibly even a new instrument to add to the eclectic rockabilly mix. "I don't know if our instruments can get any nerdier," Anderson laughs. "But we'll try."
And following the show, take a bit of Reformed Whores home with you — the legal kind. Copies of Ladies Don't Spit, the pair's first full-length album, will be available for sale.
And now we enter the dark side. Katie Hartman and Leah Rudick return to the CCF as a five-year-old full-force sketch comedy duo packing a power punch of off-the-wall routines. The Sarah Lawrence theater alums continue to nurture a bizarre and dramatic comedic style. Think blood, sweat, dildos, and Honey Boo Boo tears.
Skinny Bitch's character-driven sketches might shock audiences, but they're nothing compared to a world that's far too easy to mock. "We love to surprise audiences and ourselves, so that's the way we write," says Hartman, who admits that the duo has little experience with structured sketch-writing. "We're not out to offend. The topics that make us laugh are fringe topics. We write what we think is funny," says Rudick.
Watch a few of Skinny Bitch's YouTube shorts and you'll understand. "We really go off the deep end. We're kind of weird, OK? But it's the kind of comedy we enjoy watching," Hartman says.
Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting doesn't expressly go after feminist issues, current events, or politics, but they are young women, and they write what they know. "Pieces of who we are definitely come through in our work," Hartman says.
The truth of a sketch's message comes through strong character development. It's comedy of the grotesque — and a little dirty. Despite the controversial subject matter, Rudick and Hartman are surprised time and time again at how well their comedy goes over in the most unlikely of places.
And if after a sampling, you really think Skinny Bitch sketch comedy is deranged, watch just one clip of Killer Karaoke. Real people are scarier than we could ever possibly imagine. "Really, even we couldn't think this stuff up," Hartman chuckles. "Although I wish we could."
Fri. Jan. 18, 8 p.m. Sat. Jan. 19, 9 p.m. $12.50. Theatre 99