I’m not sure why Joanna Ross decided to combine stand-up comedy with pole dancing for her Schtick A Pole In It event, but the two things complement each other unexpectedly well, as I found out at R Bar on Saturday.
Lara Michaels, the first dancer, walked on in a black sequined bikini top and shorts. Lara’s height and classical ballet training make her pole moves elegant and flowing. She folded into and stretched away from the pole like a glittering orchid.
The show was full of visually stunning moments and also a lot of laughs. My favorite comedian of the night, Rob Cantrell told jokes about cats and books.
“Do you like animals?” he asked.
When the audience roared in approval, he said, “Of course you do, unless you’re a dick.”
“Do you know what I like about cats?” he asked. “They purr. They’re in touch with the Universe so they know they’re safe and they just start vibrating in ecstasy. Wouldn’t it be great if people did that? If you saw your friend vibrating by the bar, you’d think this is a good time to hit him up for $50.”
He described libraries as slutty versions of bookstores. “If you go into a bookstore, you buy one book for $25. That one book is only yours. It’s just for you. If you go into a library and see a book you want, the librarian says, 'Take it. Everyone’s read it. Just bring it back when you’re done with it.'”
“These are not strippers,” Joanna told the audience.
“They don’t take their clothes off,” yelled an audience member.
“Also, they don’t text while they’re on stage,” said Joanna.
Brynlyn Loomis walked in like a golden fantasy with birdwing-long eyelashes. Her moves were so sexy that men sitting nearby told each other to, "Look at that," and audibly moaned.
Wendy Traskos, owner of NYPD, gave a feisty performance, making gunshot sounds by slamming her shoes into the wooden floor and ending with a back flip.
The final performance was a double act called GabriAnna, featuring Gabrielle Valliere and Anna Grundstrom. Wearing men’s jackets and hats, they danced to “Hey Big Spender,” sometimes moving in synchronization, then twisting around each other, and finally bringing on comedian Dan Goodman to give him a double lap dance.
Dan Goodman is Joanna’s boyfriend and they both made jokes about recently moving in together. Even if Dan and Joanna may not agree about all the finer points of living together, such as whether forks belong under sofa cushions, they share the notion that pole dancing and comedy go together. The line of people who came to see the sold out show seemed to support this idea.
The next Schtick A Pole In It will be on February 23 at R Bar. Get there early if you want to get in.
When I asked Joanna Ross how she decided to combine comedy and pole dancing, this was her answer:
"A friend of mine, Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted to do something because I knew her bills would not all be covered. I knew I can at least put on a comedy show and had been wanting to for years. Michelle has two friends that I also knew and they are big in the pole community and at this point in my life I started to get to know the pole dancers better. I work at New York Pole Dancing teaching yoga there, I had hosted the USPDF, and my boyfriend and I did a movie trailer about a stripper by night, ninja by later that night called Skinja.
Anna Grundstrom was the star of the movie and about 10 other dancers were background or featured, so now I was super involved in the pole world. I thought great pole dancing and comedy show. Done. There is something for everyone."