Just before a second lock-down was meant to be in Milan, Italy, where I live, my mom, who just moved to our region and was looking forward to living some metropolitan life, invited me and one of her best friends, to a stand-up comedy dinner show.
I was looking forward to it, I didn’t even read what was on the invitation, I just knew I needed some time out, with smart ladies (my Mom included!)
Due to the global situation the bistrot was not full, but it was plenty of people who just wanted to have fun, a good laugh and relax.
What can I say? I do not recall a moment I did not laugh till tears, but I do remember what I thought while laughing: ladies have a complete different way of doing comedy. They start from themselves, they are self-ironic, they are brave, they push the bounderies and do not want to be like the male fellow colleagues.
They talk about themselves: their passion, their body, their everyday life in a way that makes you laugh first and then think: “Oh… they are talking about me!”
And that’s when you feel part of a community: and going to the “Cabarazze” show (the word cabarazze is the combination of the word Cabaret and Ragazze – which in Italian means Girls) made me feel like that.
This is why I decided I had to meet each of those ladies on stage, learn their stories and interview them here, for you.
I had to ask them what was behind their “show” and of course, their outfits ideas! Different ladies representing all of you, all of us.
Please enjoy the first interview to Ambra Fenice and her way of being a stand-up comedian.
Ambra as a child in her living room. The picture is on red tones and she is wearing a red checked blouse and a red skirt, white sock and white shoes. She is probably around 5 years old, holding a microphone. Behind her the living room cupboard with some porcelain plates and pitchers. On the picture a list of hashtags on the right saying comedian, womanonstage, shirleytemplealcontrario (literally meaning shirley temple contrariwise
WHO IS AMBRA FENICE?
The picture shows Ambra, grown-up. She is a white confident lady on stage, wearing a feathery like black dress, knee length. Her legs are nude and she is wearing silver and black peep-toe sandals. Her face looks up in a smile and her hands are reunited at her waistline.
I laugh at myself but I am touchy and I get offended easily!
My personal numbers:
I recently turned 40, 10th sign of the zodiac, I wear an Italian 46 but at UNIQLO I always buy an M.
In everyday life I “scan movements”: mine and of those around me. I am an HR manager at a freight company.
I dream of a team made of female truck drivers, who know how to manage a truck properly!
But in everyday life there is little to laugh about, and this is why I turn to the stage.
I like it when the masks fall, the tensions and the superstructures dissolve and a laugh starts.
WHEN WAS YOUR PASSION FOR CABARET BORN?
The first memory ever, is my aunt taking me to a small and dark place in Viale Monza (Milan, Italy). In the darkness of the room she would peek at me to check whether I understood the jokes. I laughed, laughed and laughed and laughed again.
I think it was 1990, I was 10 and it was “The Zelig Show” (a famous cabaret show in Italy also gone on tv for years)!!
I HAVE NOTICED THAT MANY OF YOUR COMIC PIECES (COMPARED TO MALE PIECES) INVOLVE SELF-PERCEPTION, SELF-IRONY AND A DOSE OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO MORE BODY POSITIVITY. WHY DO YOU THINK IS THAT?
I think it happens because women, somehow, always feel they need to justify for something: for being workaholic, family-aholic, competitive… you name it. And if their body does not reflect the fashion aesthetic standards, they probably feel an even more fragile prey.
So what do they do before being attacked? They play ahead and ATTACK.
However, self-irony remains the best way to empathize with the public as well.
If I’m on stage, maybe chubby, short or as a chronic forgetful, the audience easily identifies with me, it relaxes and carefree laughs.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BODY AND WHAT ARE THE FASHION AND BEAUTY BRANDS THAT YOU THINK ARE MADE ESPECIALLY FOR YOU?
I feel clumsy most of the time, big breasts and nonexistent hips, but if I get on a pair of heels, 7/8 cm without exaggerating, my back straightens and my posture changes.
I never go on stage without a Cinti décolleté and an Aveda illuminating serum (tulasara calm) that erases redness and takes away even my embarassment when forgetting a line happens!
The picture shows a portrait of Ambra, while she is acting. She is talking with a headset microphone. She chose a semi-collected hair style. She is wearing a v-neck black t-shirt, with her left arm bent to her waist and the right one leaning bent towards her belly. She has a challenger and confident look,
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO THE ENTERTAINMENT AND FASHION INDUSTRY?
We need more of One- Woman- shows, even choral and possibly wearing sexy shoes even if they are only 8 cm high (and not 12!)
Seeing women on stage with stilettos alongside men at ease in their comfortable sneakers, immediately gives me the idea of the disparity that still exists on any stages.
SOMETHING CURIOUS COMING UP FOR CHRISTMAS?
I would call it… “Creative lethargy” : preparing jokes with my self-help group made up of comedian friends and keeping an eye to new things coming up on the net!
I will be promotinh a special book by Patrizia Danieli “What kind of stereotypes? Gender pedagogy at school “, interspersed with some comic contents and feminist jokes.
Learn more about Ambra and the Cabarazze Project: