Black Girl Giggles is a collective of African-American comediennes based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and they’re coming to Dallas for #2018DCF. I (me, hi, Ashley Bright) was super excited to ask some questions about their comedy, NOLA, and more!
DCF: What's the origin story for Black Girl Giggles?
BGG: Black Girl Giggles started as a couple of Black lady comics in New Orleans who liked to hang out and talk shit. There weren’t that many of us out regularly at mics, so it was easy to get to know each other. One of the co-founders, Geneva Joy, noticed there wasn’t a comedy component in Essence Fest and thought there might be enough Black comics in town over the weekend to put on a show. We put a call out for submissions just hoping we could get a few ladies out to the mics. We planned a mini-fest maybe two months in advance with no budget other than the $25 we all fronted to purchase flyers and our domain. It was basically put together with chewing gum and safety pins. The festival was surprisingly successful (we pretty much thought the audience would just be our friends and family). Since that first festival, we’ve produced monthly shows, launched a podcast, created a sketch troupe, and started planning for this summer.
DCF: If you bring anything quintessential New Orleans with you to Dallas, what would you each bring?
Nkechi: I would bring donuts. For some reason donuts in Nola are far more superior than Dallas donuts.
Rochelle: A Zulu Coconut - the major throw at the Zulu parade. There is no way you can get that anywhere else, and they are totally unique. So few people in New Orleans get them each year, so if you managed to get one, you probably bloodied the nose of the person next to you. That’s a badge of honor. It deserves a tour.
Denise: A daiquiri, because too much sugar + alcohol = fun times!
Ashleigh: A pot of jambalaya. Because gumbo is too expensive to make, and I like eating.
Brionne: I would bring king cake from Randazzo’s. It’s absolutely delicious! (Plus, I’d give a piece to an out-of-towner so they can get the baby, and I’d tell them they performed an abortion on a cake)....
Saya: The Gentrification. Y’all can keep that shit.
DCF: If you were to give one piece of advice to little girls about finding their voices, what would it be?
Nkechi: Do you want to pursue something, but are hesitant because you see no one like yourself doing it? That is your signal that it is your time to get it done, my friend. Have fun breaking ground.
Rochelle: That sometimes people won’t understand your voice. And that’s okay. That’s probably because they are used to the blare of the dominant culture over your whisper. Your muzzled cry or your silence. But when you find your voice - it’s just what we’ve been waiting for. The threat and the promise. Your gift. Your voice that changes the world. (And then they'll understand.)
Denise: Be bold.
Ashleigh: No matter how hard you try to fit in, you never will. Because you can only fit into a space that was meant for only you. Be your best you.
Brionne: I would tell them to be original and to have fun.
Saya: Be loud, take up space, and stop apologizing.
DCF: Who are your biggest comedic influences?
Nkechi: Whoopi, Ellen, Chris Rock, and John Leguizamo.
Denise: Chris Rock, Tina Fey.
Ashleigh: Bill Cosby, Redd Foxx, Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, SNL.
Rochelle: Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chappelle, and Stephen Colbert.
Brionne: Dave Chappelle, Katt Williams, Eddie Murphy.
Saya: Bill Burr, Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, my mama.
DCF: Jell-O Shots are a really big deal during DCF. What's your favorite Jell-O flavor?
Nkechi: Raspberry! Or Margarita!
Rochelle: Red, LOL.
Saya: I wouldn’t know, not old enough to drink….green.
DCF: What are you most looking forward to about being in Dallas? And about the festival?
Nkechi: I am looking forward to going back to DCH! And seeing Sasheer Zamata!
Denise: Exploring a city I’ve never been to, eating good food.
Ashleigh: I’m looking forward to seeing Sasheer Zamata and driving on smooth streets. Oh, and seeing my family.
Rochelle: Sasheer Zamata and the food that was promised in the hospitality suite.
Brionne: Looking forward to having some laughs, seeing family, and going to eat at In & Out!
Saya: Getting off work and snatching wigs of our forefathers.
DCF: Finally, if there was a biopic of your lives, who would you want to play you?
Nkechi: Gabrielle Union! Because the similarities between us both are uncanny.
Denise: Danai Gurira, because she’s beautiful and badass.
Ashleigh: I would get Aisha Tyler because I think we look alike?
Rochelle: Queen Latifah. I think she’d hold me down.
Brionne: Queen Latifah, because she’s original, bold, and a queen.
Saya: Eddie Murphy. Or if you need an actual answer: Janelle Monáe.
Black Girl Giggles performs on Saturday, March 31, at 9 p.m., with Gettin' It: Storytelling.
Ashley Bright is an improv and sketch performer/instructor at Dallas Comedy House. You can catch her at #2018DCF with her improv troupes: Why It Brite?, the Rift, .f.a.c.e., and Primary Colours.