Vanessa Gonzalez Turns Dating On Its Head

Vanessa Gonzales does a sketch on stage.
Headshot of Vanessa Gonzales
Vanessa Gonzalez has a new show called I Don’t Know Dating (Credit: Katie Pengra).

Dating can be weird. Going out with strangers, never knowing what the other person is thinking. Sitting there wondering if you good enough, smart enough or if you smell weird. It can all be very daunting. Vanessa Gonzalez is willing to talk about it in her one person show, I Don’t Know Dating, at the Spider House Ballroom in February, and it will leave you with a new perspective on things.

A Class Clown Moves to Austin

Vanessa Gonzalez, grew up in Laredo and after high school, the class clown made her way to San Marcos and Texas State University. Here she grew her love of acting and comedy. She got her first sketch gig in 2009 with the Latino Comedy Project.  After that wrapped up, she met Chris Trew. If I may digress for a moment, I am considering changing the name of this site to People Who Know Chris Trew Dot Com. Anyway, it was around this time he was getting The New Movement Theater on its feet and Gonzalez hopped on the improv train.

In 2013, when Jeff Whitaker wanted to revolutionize sketch comedy in Austin and formed Bad Example. Vanessa Gonzalez was on board has been a member since its inception. When I saw their Christmas show in December, I very much enjoyed Gonzalez’ timing and the awareness she had of her characters.

Bad Example sitting on a stoop.
Bad Example is the only Sketch group doing new shows weekly (Credit: Katey Pengra w/Skippy Leland Photography).

Going Solo With a One Person Show

When we chatted after the show, she told me of her one person show called I Don’t Know Dating. In my writing classes, I was always told to write about what I know. The same goes for comedy. Vanessa Gonzalez knows about the idiosyncrasies of being single in the modern age. She knows about being self conscious and unsure, and she knows how to laugh at it.

The show is a series of sketches with Gonzalez playing the main character and the audience is sometimes a passive character. The sketches center on the awkward world of dating.  They poke fun at her insecurity, and interactions with the opposite sex. One particular sketch has her playing a male character literally lives out typical excuses men use to not call a girl back: Dead grandma’s, lost phones, etc.

Vanessa Gonzales does a sketch on stage.
Vanessa Gonzalez has been performing sketch and improv since 2009 (credit: Daniel Solano).

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, then what do we have? Dating is rife with awkward moments and I am glad Vanessa Gonzalez is willing to pull out a magnifying glass and explore those uncomfortable moments. I am looking forward to seeing I Don’t Know Dating, because even at my age, I still don’t know women. Sometimes I look at my wife and wonder what’s going on in her head. Maybe this will provide some insight.  If anything, it will provide some laughs.

Time and Location

I Don’t Know Dating will be featured the first three Mondays in February at the Spider House Ballroom.  Tickets and $5.00 general admission and $2.00 with a student I.D. But before Gonzalez does this, she’s taking on the road to the San Francisco Sketch Fest.

 

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Naughty Bits Gives Comedians Sex Advice

Ella Gale is the mastermind behind Naughty Bits (photo credit: www.ellagalecomedy.com).
Ella Gale is the mastermind behind Naughty Bits (photo credit: www.ellagalecomedy.com).

Ella Gale is a rather interesting person. She’s been around the Austin comedy scene for quite some time, performing at Coldtowne Theater, and The New Movement Theater. She’s lived in Yemen and Montana among other places, but Austin has won out since she now calls our fair city home.

Gale has her hands full with a variety of comedy projects. In the past she’s performed on Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober, she hosts an open mic called Bomb Shelter at Nasty’s, and performs with Comedy Bazaar at Coldtowne Theater. Currently they are performing a show called A Brief History of Murder.

A New Twist On An Old Topic

One of Gale’s more interesting projects is one she co-produces with her friend and fellow comedian Katie Stone at the New Movement Theater called Naughty Bits.

Katie Stone is pretty busy as well. She hosts Sauced!, a weekly showcase at Kebabalicious on 7th and Narvasota and produces a Sunday show called  The Weekender at The New Movement Theater.

We all know that sex is a frequent topic in stand-up routines. Comedians of all styles and backgrounds have sex jokes. Cody Hustak has a pretty good one regarding a dog. Old school Austin comedian, Matt “Chicken Wing” Sadler has one regarding his preferred method of birth control. It’s just a thing. We all have sex (or want to) and some people have the talent to make fun of it.  What Gale and Stone decided to do is take these jokes and

Naughty Bits analyzes comedians sex jokes (Photo credit: www.newmovementtheater.com).
Naughty Bits analyzes comedians sex jokes (Photo credit: www.newmovementtheater.com).

give the comedian sex advice based on the joke.

It’s an outside-the-box approach to comedy and can probably be pretty insightful. It could be the jokes are a cry for help. Or it could be just a joke. I can’t say whether or not Naughty Bits is meta but it’s definitely something worth seeing.  After all, there are very creative opinions on human sexuality. The added element of seriousness as Ella Gale and Katie Stone analyze a sex joke, and then proceed to offer heartfelt advice and pointers to the comedian, is hilarious to me.

New Movement Is Home

For at least the next four months, Naughty Bits will be calling The New Movement Theater home. Every 1st Sunday Gale and Stone will be at 7th and Lavaca, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to help their fellow comedians work through their issues.

The show starts at 9:30 and runs for just an hour. That isn’t bad and work shouldn’t be an excuse. Ticket prices are only $5.00 and the next show is this Sunday, January 4th. As always, The New Movement Theater is byob (I recommend Lone Star or Coors Banquet) and on Sunday night, parking is pretty easy in The New Movement Theater area of downtown.

If you would like more information on Ella Gale, or The New Movement Theater, click the links below:

Ella Gale

Katie Stone

The New Movement Theater

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ElDavidThomas