It was late January 2014 when I entered my first Panties In A Twist rehearsal. The room was full of unfamiliar faces and I was nervous. I was seventeen, fairly new to comedy, and I was now in a show with local comedians whose talent I only admired from afar.
As I sat around waiting for rehearsal to start, I was greeted by a friendly face ready to ease my pre-rehearsal anxiety. Kerry Kruk sat down next to me and began a conversation. The chatter between us was about day-to-day things and I don’t remember the content that much but I do remember how relieved I felt when I had someone to talk to and to introduce me to the cast. This moment of inclusion is a reflection of the Panties In A Twist experience and my experience with The Push Comedy Theater. There is always spirited energy revolving around kindness, inclusion, and laughter.
The Panties In A Twist women taught me to embrace my flaws. This lesson is easy in theory but it is hard to put into practice, especially in a world stuffed with self-help books and Instagram models creating the next generation of unhealthy beauty expectations. In the Panties In A Twist rehearsal everyone’s flaws are embraced, whether in casual conversation or in their writing. These women easily admitted issues with their bodies or if they had a bad temper or that they were a control freak.
These personal issues others would try to hide from the world, but the Panties In A Twist cast found empowerment in the public exploration. Seeing these women use their personal struggles to create laughter year after year revealed to me one of the most important lessons about comedy: being a comedian is being comfortable with your flaws. Our shortcomings are what make us relatable to the audience and create connection between the performer and the viewer.
The fact that the Panties In A Twist community is supportive of each other extends beyond the cast and writers to the tech people, the locals who buy tickets, The Push Comedy Theater men, and supporters. Each year a couple of the cast member’s birthdays fall on or near the show date. On the day of the show, Kerry Kruk brings in a birthday cake with the names of the people celebrating a birthday written on it (one of those names being my own).
It could be considered a small gesture but I see this act of consideration as an indication of the caring nature of the community. A kind gesture along with an act of acknowledgment causes people to pay that generosity forward and creates a prosperous environment for all of us to perform. Everyone taking the time to bond and encourage one another builds a strong foundation that results in sell out crowds year after year, comedy festival tours in other towns and raising money for charities.
February 13th is getting closer and I look forward to everything about Panties In A Twist, from running through our lines anxiously before hitting the stage to performing the final dance number.
Each year this show grows and I am overjoyed to see a community of women that has loved and cared for me getting the recognition it deserves.