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Soundbites: Commander in Queef

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Pamela Ross - COURTESY OF ERIC BANASH
  • Courtesy Of Eric Banash
  • Pamela Ross

I think we can all agree that farts are funny. Flatulence-based humor doesn't even need to be embedded in a well-crafted, nuanced joke. Farts are hilarious just the way they are. I'm not ashamed to admit that my friends and I have an ongoing joke about farts. You ask someone, "Hey, did you hear the news?" They say, "No." Then you fart. After a beat, you add, "I didn't say it was good news."

Equating gas with "news" opened up a whole world of riffing for my group. After a mild-smelling toot, a friend might say, "That news was fair and balanced." Sometimes, you might think you have one brewing, but then nothing comes out. That's a perfect example of "fake news." The possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, comedy derived from bodily functions often comes with an unfair double standard for women. It's common for male-centric comedy to focus on dick jokes, ejaculation humor and plenty of other body-related buffoonery. But there are still stigmas surrounding a lot of female-specific biological processes — not the least of which is the enigmatic queef.

I've been told that some people might not know what that is, so let me spell it out: A queef is an expulsion of air from the vagina. BuzzFeed published a quick primer of the seldom-discussed eruption in late 2016. You should read it, because it's quite enlightening.

A 2009 episode of "South Park" titled "Eat, Pray, Queef" got to the heart of the queef double standard pretty well. The show's in-universe Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Philip, known exclusively for their ham-fisted fart-humor television program, are shocked and horrified when their network broadcasts a similar program featuring sisters Katherine and Katie Queef. The women's program is identical to Terrance and Philip's, except that instead of farting, they push air out of their vaginas. The male residents of South Park, many of whom worship Terrance and Philip, are equally horrified when they watch the new show, and they begin a campaign to get it canceled.

So why the hell am I ranting about farts and queefs in this column? Great question. On Sunday, April 8, Vermont expat comedian Kendall Farrell — who is now based in New York City — and Boston-based comic Pamela Ross present the debut of Queef Live! at Half Lounge in Burlington. The standup showcase is the first the two longtime friends have copresented, and they're united in their campaign to raise awareness and obliterate negative stereotypes about myriad bodily functions.

"The idea's a little out there," Farrell tells Seven Days by phone. "Pamela possesses a very special ability to queef on command. It's very inspiring and empowering — and funny."

You read that right, folks. Though not the main focus, Ross will conclude the show by queefing directly into a microphone.

"I think the fluids and sounds that a woman's body produces are just as funny as semen and a man's farts," says Ross in the same phone call. "We just want to break that glass ceiling. That's important, culturally."

"Also, queefs are hygienic, so they're funny and less bad for the air than farts," supposes Farrell.

He's not wrong. The air expelled in a queef originates outside a woman's body. It's pulled inside by certain ways a woman flexes her pelvic muscles. Farts, on the other hand, are an expulsion of gasses that are released in the digestive tract as food is broken down.

"A lot of comedy shows today are kind of serious and trying to change the world," Farrell says. "I think this comedy show is trying to change the world but also [doesn't take] itself too seriously."

Ross first discovered her talent when she was a teenager. The comedian claims she has complete control over her ability, the only exception being the occasional unplanned mid-intercourse queef.

"My first queef predated my first orgasm by, like, four years," she says. "It was a way that I got to know myself and my own body better. I was like, Wow. I guess I don't know how this thing works at all.

"I didn't think anyone would be super excited by it," she continues.

"And then I came along," quips Farrell. "I've never been more excited for anything in my whole life."

But the body-function double standard doesn't stop with queefs. Ross says plenty of other things need to be similarly destigmatized.

"A huge one is menstruation," she says. "Society at large [views] something so natural and obviously essential to reproduction as gross, weird or unsanitary when it's really none of those things."

Speaking of things that are perfectly natural...

"There's still a lot of squeamishness around women pooping," Ross continues. "It's a little dehumanizing when people deny that we even have those kinds of bodily functions. Maybe the next one will be called Poop Live!"

"And we'll take a shit onstage," Farrell interjects.

Given that live queefing is only a small part of the show, you might be wondering what you'll actually see.

"We spoke to [comics] who we know already have themes of body-positivity in their sets," says Farrell.

Among those performing on Sunday are locals Bitsy Biron, Nicole Sisk, Carl Sonnefeld, the T-Bone (aka Tyler Denton) and Jess Reed, plus New York City-based comic Connor Creagen.

Because this is largely a music column, allow me to bring it home: I've seen people play "music" by forcing air through cupped hands. Is it possible to do the same thing with a queef?

"Producing different pitches is something I'd love to experiment with," Ross says. "But, to be honest, I'm not a great musician."

"Right now it's just a comedy show, but it seems like there's potential for it to become a musical," Farrell says facetiously.

"We're really excited to see how this goes and how people react to it," he continues. "I'm obviously delighted by Pam's queefs, but we've received a small amount of blowback."

"Blowback — that's good wordplay," says Ross.

"Once they see her doing it, they'll get it," says Farrell.

If you're reading this and feeling horrified, you might be a prime candidate to revisit your assumptions and preconceived notions about body-related issues. And a word to those who are thinking of attending: Remember, Half Lounge is tiny. Visit Farrell's Facebook page to find out about free registration.

"It's very inspiring and empowering to watch," he says, referring to Ross' special gift. "And it always makes me giddy when she blesses my presence with it."

Listening In

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to get songs stuck in other people's heads. Here are five songs that have been stuck in my head this week. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.

GoldLink, "Palm Trees"

Daughn Gibson, "A Rope Ain't Enough"

Cautious Clay, "Cold War"

Pure Bathing Culture, "Singer"

Blue Hawaii, "Blue Gowns'"


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