This weekend is a special one for Lauren Faber. On Friday, just a few days before her birthday (she’ll turn 32), she’ll be the featured comic at “The Dangling Loafer” show at Kings.
The Long Island native was asked by “Loafer” co-organizers/co-hosts Shane Smith and Adam Cohen to be this month’s local headliner.
“I was really surprised and excited to get this opportunity,” says Faber, while drinking beer and watching football at a Cary sports bar. “So, I appreciate that a lot.”
Considering the year Faber’s had, it’s understandable why Cohen would want to shine a light on her. She’s been on the road doing festivals in Wilmington, Baltimore, Seattle, New Orleans and New York, where she won $1,500 and “a cool, little, acrylic microphone statue” in a competition. Not bad for a person who originally moved to Durham to work at Duke as a research manager for a development economist. Newly single at the time, Faber immediately sought out some possible hobbies.
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“I took a gardening class, a drawing class and a standup class, and standup was the thing that took,” she says. That class was at DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill, where she would later become a mainstay. “That was my home for a long time. I spent, like, four nights a week there for about a year. I was taking improv classes. I was coaching the Standup Corps. I was hosting Ladies Night.”
For Faber, who’s only been in the comedy game for a couple of years, standup has always been in the cards.
“I was home last Christmas,” she recalls. “I was going through, like, papers from elementary school, and I found a thing that I wrote in first grade, which is, like, what do you want to be when you grow up? And I wrote, ‘standup comedian’ as a five-year-old. So, I think I’ve always been heading there.”
While she’s well aware of the drama that female comics have to go through to get stage time, Faber has managed to get in where she can.
“I know that definitely some of the women have had more difficult times than I have, and that’s not specific to Raleigh-Durham,” she says. “I think I occupy kind of a strange space. I don’t think there are very many male comics who are thinking about the prospect of sleeping with me. I’m very clearly a lesbian. So, I think in my personal interactions, I’ve kinda fallen in as more of one of the guys.”
A card-carrying member of the LGBTQ community since her senior year of high school, Faber finds that, since trailblazers like Lily Tomlin and Ellen DeGeneres already paved the way, being a lesbian comic these days isn’t a big deal.
“I feel like lesbians or queer women have kind of a natural place in comedy, in a way that I think gay men unfortunately don’t,” she says. “Well, just given the fact that there aren’t any that I know of, I think that indicates that they face hurdles that gay women don’t, trying to get into the scene. But they’re killing it on the drag circuit, which I envy deeply.”
However, there have been times where audiences weren’t so responsive to a “soft, butch lesbian” (her words) doing standup comedy.
“There are definitely shows that I go to where, as soon as I walk onstage, everybody’s very upset that I exist,” she says. “So, if I could weed those people out, that would be A-OK.”
She usually has to come out to the crowd the minute she gets on stage.
“It’s useful when you kind of establish a level of trust if you come out immediately and mention it,” she says. “So, it often is something that I state at the very top of my sets, but I think it definitely informs my sensibilities. Most of my stories are directly related to it, even if it’s, you know, doing sex-ed in Africa and the fact that I don’t know how to operate a condom because I’m gay is a big part of that story.” (That’s a true story: during college, she went to Tanzania and tried to teach sex-ed.)
Even though she occasionally has to deal with disapproving faces in the front row, it’s still not enough for Faber to move to a larger city with a larger comedy scene. She can’t get enough of doing standup right here in the Triangle.
“I think we have a really great scene here,” she says. “I think I was very intimidated to go into these places because I expected the comedy to be so much better, because these were bigger cities. But I think almost, like, half the comics here could stand up to what I saw, even in Chicago… I don’t really have any desire to move to a bigger scene. I’m really happy.”
What: “The Dangling Loafer” with Lauren Faber, Sam Mazany, Shane Smith, Adam Cohen, Leo Hodson, Brandy Brown and Mickey Schroeder
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Kings, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Info: 919-833-1091 or kingsraleigh.com