“The audience makes this show,” says Tucson comedian Nancy Stanley. She’s referring to The Estrogen Hour, her project with Mary Steed to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The next Estrogen Hour is at 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27 at Laff’s Comedy Caffe.
“The audience is always important to a comedian’s energy and confidence, especially when they’re testing material and developing a persona,” Stanley says. “But many in our audience come time after time because they like to support and cheer women on.” She’s even happy to name names. “I think Nikki Chayett has been to every one of them. Yolie de Leon, Candy Adams, Sandy Katz.”
The Estrogen Hour series is often credited with encouraging a nurturing climate for women who want to write, practice and perform comedy. Of the 17 Tucson women comics in Sunday’s show, several made their comedy debut as Comedy Virgins in an Estrogen Hour show.
Sunday’s Comedy Virgin is Jessica Stapp, a member of the Tucson Improv Movement who is trying standup for the first time. She will debut stories she’s been honing for just such an opportunity.
“The Estrogen hour following is a great first audience, because most people have never experienced the energy and love of a comedy show that’s primarily women,” Stanley says. “They celebrate your courage and attitude almost as much as your comedy.
“It’s always a little bit terrifying looking out into complete darkness. And then you hear a laugh you recognize, or somebody does a shout out, and you feel at home knowing you have support from the audience.”
Stanley hosts the show, which also will include sets from Amber Frame, Ann-Eve Dingell, Bethany Evans, Bridgitte Thum, Cindell Hanson, Corrina Eklund, Dawn Vandaveer, Edna Meza-Aguirre, Jennifer Finley, Katie Cocchi, Kathie Hedrick, Linda Ray, Mildred Ellison, Rebecca Tingley, Roxy Merrari, Stacy Scheff, and Steena Salido.
“Especially as we get older, women understand both the power of confidence and its fragility, Stanley says. “The Estrogen Hour audience loves the comedy part, but fundamentally they come to support the development of our confidence and courage. They’re right there pulling for you.”
As of last Monday’s ticket sales, the event already has met its goal of exceeding $20,000 in donations since the series began. Advance tickets are available online
up to 24 hours before the show. Unsold tickets, if available, will be sold at the door for $15. Jewelry sales and a raffle boost the revenue even more.