The LOL Word: ‘An audience full of queers sang Alanis Morissette with us. That’s the community I love.’

Queer comedy gang The LOL Word - made up of Chloe Petts, Jodie Mitchell, and Shelf duo Rachel WD and Ruby Clyde - talk reuniting live and existential zoom heckles

We’re adding some interviews to LMAOnaise!! Having chats with some of our fave people, sharing some little interviews and special features relating to upcoming shows.

The LOL Word is a collective of queer women and non binary comedians who platform other queer women and non binary comedians, which is to say that if I had to pick only one comedy night to go to, it would be this one. Chloe Petts, Jodie Mitchell, Rachel WD and Ruby Clyde (plus founding member Chloe Green) have created one of the best energy nights out around and always feature absolutely brilliant guests.

So, for Underbelly Festival this weekend (September 18), they’ve recruited two proper comedy powerhouses: Sikisa and Sofie Hagen. In order for you to prepare yourselves — emotionally, physically, spiritually — the core four talk to us about performing live again and why queer audiences rule.

What is the best thing about doing live shows together again?

Rachel: It’s definitely the vibe and sense of community. We’re all really good mates, so it’s just such a buzz to be able to hang out and do comedy together again. At one of our first shows back at Battersea Arts Centre we were in a dressing room that was massive for social distancing and Petts found a roll of wrapping paper, but heavier, and we ended up playing rounders with a screwed up ball of paper. We were almost late for our stage time because we were having so much fun. It meant we brought that energy onstage, and at a time when things were so uncertain, it felt so important to be able to still bring joy and excitement to the queer community.

Tell us about a situation you found yourself in while watching/performing comedy that we wouldn't possibly believe:

Jodie: My first ever paid gig was to do ten minutes at a really established comedy club — I was nervous because it was a late, weekend show with a raucous crowd, but I was prepped for all that. What I wasn't prepped for was for a man to loudly soil himself three minutes into my carefully curated set and for all his mates to delightedly and loudly proclaim to the room that this had happened. He wasn't even ashamed, nor did it occur to him to leave the audience. It's one of many reasons why I love The LOL Word so much — to my knowledge, no cis-men have ever disrupted our queer comedy show in this particular way and I feel like it's unlikely it would ever happen (please do not take this as a challenge).

Favourite comedy moments of the last year:

Ruby: So many! There’s been some amazing moments over Zoom (shout out to Catherine Bohart and Helen Bauer’s Gigless!) which I think have shown how important new ways of sharing and experiencing comedy and community are. We as the LOL Word team have had so many Zoom hangouts and WhatsApp talks — but getting back onstage together has been a real highlight for all of us. Personally, I hugely enjoyed our first gig back where an audience full of queers sang Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know with us. That’s the community I love.

Chloe: I was doing an online gig for BBC Radio Wales and I was loudly heckled by a woman who I couldn’t see with the words ‘do I have to be here?’ She was in her own home so I could only assume this question was an existential one. It probably accurately sums up what we’ve all been feeling over the past year but it’s a shame it was my comedy that brought it to a head for her.

The LOL Word will perform at Underbelly Festival on Saturday September 18th at 5pm, joined by Sofie Hagen and Sikisa! Get your tickets here.

Picture: (l-r) Ruby Clyde, Rachel WD, Sikisa, Sofie Hagen, Jodie Mitchell and Chloe Petts.


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