Looking for a laugh
Marga Gomez presented her stand-up comedy routine
Midterm season is officially here. There are tests to be taken and papers to be written. There’s less pep in our steps, and the library is a bit more crowded than usual. However, last Tuesday, March 7, Marga Gomez provided students a chance to laugh at her stand-up comedy show, “Punching Up — Comedy for the Resistance.” Gomez’s recent credits include her Off-Broadway show “Latin Standards” and a guest-starring role on the Netflix series, “Sense 8.” Gomez is an accomplished solo performer and a prominent LGBTQ voice and activist “known for being one of the first openly lesbian performers in the business,” said Prof. Greg Childs (HIST).
Gomez’s first order of business during her show regarded the use of cellular devices: “[T]urn them off and put them down,” she instructed an audience of enthusiastic Brandeisians. “I’ve played everywhere, but not Waltham. … I’ve made it!” Gomez then cheered. Throughout her performance, Gomez spoke about Waltham, from referencing the Waltham Commons to noting that the city “has flavor.” However, by mid-show, Gomez asked her audience whether she could “pretend” that the Massachusetts suburb was Boston, where her request was approved by numerous laughs.
Gomez identified herself as “half Puerto Rican, ... half Cuban and ... half lesbian.” She spent much of her routine sharing her experiences and struggles with identity through comedy. She told Brandeis students about her cultural experience, from her encounters with American mojitos (pro tip: do not put vodka in mojitos) to her Spanish language abilities growing up in the Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights.
Gomez also spoke on the current political climate, notably on President Donald Trump. She mentioned the current news circulating Trump, such as his wiretapping accusations against Barack Obama: “Obama did so much but managed to wiretap Donald Trump. What a multitasker!” But she also criticized the current president for his treatment of the press and the journalism industry. As a Justice photographer left the show, Gomez told the audience that in the future, “we’re not gonna have a paper after all,” and that “[Trump] is fake news; … I’m gonna start doing fake comedy.”
Gomez herself was a journalism major in college and professed that “when all the newspapers are shut down … I’m going to be the town crier.” Gomez elaborated on her role as the town crier, describing her medieval-inspired outfit and her role as the “gay marriage town crier” to children. While Gomez iterated that she voted for Hillary Clinton, she did criticize the campaign of the 2016 presidential candidate for “hispandering.” She addressed the controversial Clinton campaign.“[Clinton] is like your abuelita. That didn’t work out … I don’t want my abuelita to be in office … she was mean.”
WHO IS SHE: Gomez used humor to explore her many identities.
The day after Gomez’s show was International Women’s Day, and Gomez spoke about a number of women’s issues. In particular, Gomez explained her qualms with the women’s fashion industry, specifically the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. “Men’s clothes have so many pockets,” she said. “Once we win, and women take public office, and birth control is available and Planned Parenthood is protected, and abortion is legal and protected, and once that all happens, I would like us to move on to pockets.”
Gomez discussed her experiences as a lesbian woman and offered some advice and perspectives to her primarily young audience. “The only advice I can give you is to buy property.” Regarding the differences in the lesbian and LGBTQ community today, she claimed “there’s nuance” and not as much division into distinctive sexual identity categories.
Gomez discussed her recent dating ventures. In her personal experience, Gomez sees dates as “mini-relationships,” and “after a string of them, you have to stop.” And while Gomez admitted to dating the same type of person, she listed other qualifications her future date must have, like not being a vegan and being over forty. She also hopes “to find a sugar Granny.”
Finishing her routine, Gomez recalled her experiences and struggles breaking into Hollywood film. She recounted her limitations to certain roles, particularly the lack of diverse roles for Latina women. “I was able to audition for the Latina maid, the Latina hooker, the Latina midwife and, every once in awhile, if I were really lucky, I would get a complex, nuanced Latina character — she’s a hooker and a midwife.” Gomez landed a supporting role in a 90s film, “Sphere,” in which she shared scenes with Queen Latifah. Gomez and Latifah’s characters were dead about thirty minutes into the film. To the audience’s approval, Gomez ended her routine by reenacting Queen Latifah’s death scene. It was a memorable impression.