Becky Braunstein

ALASKAN COMEDIAN / PORTLAND COMEDIAN / YOUR FRIEND

Becky Braunstein is a comedian and actor from Alaska, currently based in Portland, Oregon. She has performed at the Big Sky Comedy Festival, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, All Jane Comedy Festival, 208 Comedy Fest, Idaho Laugh Fest, Pickathon, & performs this year at Hell Yes Fest & Beast Village Comedy Festival. Host of 'Becky with the Good Jokes'.

She's... the most interesting fat girl in the world

I recently had a tweet thread go viral, and here's what it said:

"When will we see a tv show with a fat woman main character that isn’t based entirely around the fact that she’s fat? And why in 2018 is it still okay to portray every fat woman in a show or movie as a desperate, cake-obsessed stereotype? Couldn’t there be a show about an interesting person who just happens to be fat? I’ve had a really weird life. Being fat is absolutely THE least interesting thing about me. And I hate cake. I’m in a super happy relationship. THAT’S not even the most interesting thing about me. My pet bird dropped dead in front of me. I competed in the national spelling bee. I’ve been an actual radioactive biohazard on 2 separate occasions. I met the president of East Timor. I’ve been on the national Norwegian radio. I can rap in German. I’m incapable of small talk. I don’t like kids. Babies gross me out. I’m kind of crusted with dirt all the time. I picked up my biopsy results from the records office, called my doctor and informed HIM that I had cancer. I sneaked into a callback for a broadway musical that I didn’t earn. I didn’t have enough money to pay for a taxi in London so I jumped out and ran in the middle of the night. I’ve spent 4 hours alone in a room with Pauly Shore. I have weird nightmares about the end of the world. I didn’t know that Frère Jacques was a monk until I was an adult. I grew up on a mountain in Alaska. I flipped a coin and decided to go to Greece on a whim, where I ate cheese pie with communists. I worry that I’ll have to eat human thyroids to survive in the apocalypse. I failed algebra 3 times and now I’m a standup comedian. I always find a way to bring the conversation around to how life is short and we’re all going to die someday, even at the grocery store checkout, and, if it still seems like something that just absolutely needs to be addressed so the audience can relax, I happen to be fat."

I grew up watching shows and movies where nearly every fat woman was portrayed as either a sad, lonely object of pity, or a disgusting, food-obsessed, man-crazed (which of course was meant to add to the humor, because no man would ever actually WANT to be with a fat woman) caricature whose entire existence in the show or movie was just a punchline in the male principal characters' storyline. I remember when I was a teenager, reading an article in one of my mom's magazines that had quoted a Hollywood executive as saying, "The truth is, we can't have someone who's not skinny playing a character who has a boyfriend." 

Eventually, we evolved to the point where we FINALLY started to see a few fat women on tv and movies who were at least likable characters - but their storylines were usually centered around their weight, or they were relegated to a one-dimensional sidekick. The funny fat friend. Or the lonely fat (and 'fat' might even be a stretch here, because we were shown size-10 actresses and were told they were fat) woman who dreams of losing weight so she can ____. Then there was Fat Amy! I LOVE Rebel Wilson. LOVE her. And I enjoyed Pitch Perfect. But why couldn't she have been just Amy? Just super funny, unique and interesting Amy?

In HBO's Girls, a show that I really liked, Aidy Bryant had a small recurring role where the whole time I watched her on screen, I had three feelings: one, I was giddy with excitement that someone who looks like me had a part in a major cool young-people show that I liked. Two, I was jealous of the teenage girls of today who have her as a role model to look up to, and Three, I cringed in fear, waiting any minute for SOMETHING to be said about her weight. About how her character started dating a non-overweight male character. Amazingly, that moment I feared never came, and it felt groundbreaking. (For which I am truly grateful to Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow, and whoever else may have been responsible). But what if that WASN'T groundbreaking? What if Aidy was the lead in a romantic comedy with, I don't know, Ryan Gosling, and nobody cringed, or cared, or thought anything of it? Better yet! What if Aidy decides in the romantic comedy that Ryan is a great guy, but she's really committed to an amazing career opportunity, and doesn't really want to have a family, but wants to go fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a social worker in India, and tells him - 'hey, let's be friends and I'll send you something cool from Chennai'?

As a comedian, I've been told by several industry people that I should talk about being plus-sized, that I should 'use it', that I could 'speak to the plus-sized women' as a performer, by addressing my weight in my standup. And while all of those industry people were well-meaning, and I absolutely would love to 'speak to the plus size women as a performer', I don't think I need to center my personality around my weight to do that. There are comedians and actors who do address their weight, which is fine if that's what's on their mind. It's just not something that I feel is interesting or relevant to what I have to say, FOR ME. I never have. Sure, even now, I'm trying to eat healthier, exercise, and I'd like to lose some more weight - for me - because it makes me feel better physically. I don't think there's anything wrong with that either. I've never considered it anyone else's business what I do with my body. As I said in the tweet thread, it's literally the least interesting thing about me. I tried really hard once, after I was given some advice from someone I respect that I should talk about my appearance on stage, to write a joke about being fat. I gave it a shot, and I think even the audience could tell that it was weird and forced. I'm not hating on anyone who does create humor about their OWN appearance, if that's what they want to do, it should be their choice.

But as a comedian, I can't tell you how many women have come up to me after shows and said how inspired they were, and how refreshing they found it that I didn't make self-deprecating jokes about my appearance. I'm not claiming any kind of moral high ground, it just simply didn't occur to me.    

I also want to reiterate that my first tweet about ‘when will we see a show’ and that fat women are portrayed on ‘every show’ was just me writing as I would talk, you know, with some hyperbole. [I'm not a journalist, I'm a comedian/actor. :)] I’m not insisting there’s NEVER been a SINGLE show or movie that portrayed fat women as complex people, and I don’t mean to erase the important influence of the fat women actors and creators who paved the way to get fat women seen on screen. 

I made the Willamette Week's Funniest Five!

Becky Braunstein Funniest Five

I'm so very proud and grateful to have been named one of the Willamette Week's Funniest 5 comedians in Portland! This is an extra huge deal to me because it was voted on by other comedians and industry reps. I'm honored to be on this list with four other people who consistently make me laugh every time I watch them. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, this means so much to me! 😍

Thank you Brooke Geery & Willamette Week for this awesome article:

http://www.wweek.com/special/2017/11/21/funniest-five-becky-braunstein-came-to-portland-to-cure-her-cancer-stayed-for-her-comedy-career/

The Portland Mercury's Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy!

I'm so proud to have been named to the Portland Mercury's Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy! Come check out the monster show at Revolution Hall on September 16th! The Portland Mercury said, "Hailing from Alaska, Becky has blown into Portland like a comedy tsunami, with tons of energy and wide-eyed enthusiasm. Her brand of snappy humor has made her a hit at Bridgetown and the All Jane Festival, as well as being an audience favorite the 2016 Big Sky Comedy Fest. She’s clearly the best thing that’s ever come from Alaska. Like, by far."

http://www.revolutionhall.com/event/1545920-undisputable-geniuses-portland/

I'm a finalist for Best Comedian in the Willamette Week's 'Best of Portland' 2016!

I'm so very happy to announce that I am a top-5 finalist for Best Comedian in the Willamette Week 'Best of Portland' poll! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who nominated me, I'm absolutely overwhelmed by your support. VOTING IS NOW OPEN UNTIL MAY 30th!! It is a massive honor to be included on the shortlist with Bri Pruett, Nathan Brannon, Curtis Cook & Belinda Carroll! The full list of finalist nominees is here: http://wweek.secondstreetapp.com/l/BOP-Voting-2016/Ballot/ArtsampCulture

5 things you can 'not give' about Star Wars

by Becky Braunstein
@BeckyFromAlaska

Looking for an easy way to make sure everyone knows the Force is definitely NOT with you? Here's a list of five things you can tell people you don't give about Star Wars!

1. A rat’s ass

Traditions are important. Why not stick with a winner? Nothing says, “I have no interest in this sci-fi movie event” like the good old-fashioned ass of a rat.

2. Two shits

This is the hyperbole for those who REALLY mean it. Your disgust for all things Star Wars is so dense and fibrous, one shit will not even cover it. “You think I’m going to spend two shits’ worth of time out my day ruminating on Harrison Ford and a bunch of CGI robots? NOPE.”

3. A flying fuck

We’re starting to sound like Twelve Days of Christmas here, but not even a hundred pipers piping can get you to launch a single fuck into orbit about the sci-fi sequel of the decade. Every single fuck in your possession is staying right on the ground, and a mile away from any movie theater this month.

4. A toss and/or wank

Brits and Aussies - this one’s for you! Even C3PO’s quilted tea cosy accent couldn’t buy it back for you guys, and that takes commitment. Nothing kills the mood for you like a trapezoidal trumpet fanfare title sequence washing over a hundred nerds in the dark. Well, actually now you put it like that…

5. A good goddamn

You've said it a hundred times. They’ve been beating this sad dead corpse of a merchandise marketing machine for more than 30 years now. They tried animated creatures, they tried Ewan MacGregor, they tried scaring Harrison Ford out of whatever tree he was hiding in, why won’t they just let it die? You HATE this movie and everyone in it, you hate the cultural stink bomb it’s become, and you would rather die with a turd in your eye than hear one more word about any story that doesn’t take place right now in the present time, in a galaxy so close we’re actually in it. Your hate deserves more than just a regular goddamn - you’ve saved your BEST goddamn for this pile of turnips. For you, there is no trying this movie, it will only lead to suffering.

 


'Best of Portland' show at Helium Comedy Club

I'm SO honored and grateful to be included in the 'Best of Portland' showcase this Thursday at Helium Comedy Club - Portland. What?! Yes. This lineup is so fantastic, which includes my friends Adam Pasi Neeraj Srinivasan, Jeremy Eli, Ali Reingold & Curtis Cook, and it's hosted by one of the absolute funniest dudes in town, Anthony Lopez. I'm so stoked for this, I can't even fully describe it.

The show is Thursday, October 15th at 8pm at Helium Comedy Club. Get tickets and read more about it here!

https://center-stage-helium-comedy-club-portland.seatengine.com/shows/27355

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Guess what guys? I won the first Tonight's Funniest Comedy Competition at Capitol City Theater! My buddy Neeraj Srinivasan came in second, and he did awesome as usual. It was such a fantastic show, the crowd was so awesome, Nathan Fleming did a great job hosting, and Capitol City Theater is such a rad place to perform. I'm totally looking forward to hosting the next one in October, and crowning the next winner! SALEM I WILL RETURN FOR YOU! <3

2nd Place Finish in the House of Hyjinx Comedy Competition!

Dude!

I got 2nd place overall in the House of Hyjinx Comedy Competition last night! It was a really tough competition, and there were a lot of great sets. Debbie Wooten took 1st and Sharon Lacey came in 3rd. It was such an awesome, well-run show and the crowd was fantastic. Thanks so much to The Real Hyjinx, Dirty Angel Entertainment, the judges, the other brilliant comics and everyone involved. The top 3 get our own showcase - stay tuned for info!

Article & Podcast Appearance!

Hey! I was a guest on the podcast 'Date Nights with Roscoe Myrick' - check it out! Low point is probably my 10 minute run-on sentence about how social progress among the youth is a good thing. High points are definitely my Anatoli Brant impression and the absolute literal insanity that happens towards the end.

Check out the awesome article and listen to the podcast here!

http://www.datenights.net/2015/06/26/having-a-laugh-with-one-of-portlands-funniest-people-becky-braunstein/

Greece in the pan

Europe is in trouble. The whole country of Greece is going under. Like a discount furniture store. Greece is goin' out of business. They need to start selling off some of that ancient shit. Take a second mortgage out on the Parthenon. Maybe rent out the Acropolis for bar mitzvahs and quinceañeras. They need to make some scratch quick. I've been to Greece. It's an awesome country. I hope they can get their shit together. And hopefully the EU will have some mercy on them. Every country fucks up at least once. Hey - why not take a vote? They invented it, after all.