That’s what people say about Michele Benson, a ‘newbie’ comic in the Dallas area. Michele was a student of Dean Lewis, and she has had a pretty good year. It’s a good thing that comedy clubs set their stages high above the audience. Otherwise, you might not be able to see Michele, who is barely five feet tall. But her stage presence and delivery make her seem much taller.
Michele isn’t really a ‘dirty’ comic, but her jokes have a definite bite. Even though she’s only been performing for a year, she’s made great strides in getting stage time and putting her name out there. This petite Mexican-Jew (yes, they do exist!) may make you feel slightly uncomfortable, but don’t be intimidated by her in-your-face delivery. She’s been compared to Sarah Silverman, which she considers a compliment, but when you’re a female comic, “you always get compared to other female comics,” she said.
Michele is lucky to have a supportive boyfriend as she makes her way up the comedy ladder. Comedy can be the death of a relationship, requiring more attention than some boyfriends or husbands are willing to allow. Men may be needy, but comedy is more so.
Being a woman definitely has its advantages in the comedy scene. There are not very many female comics in Dallas, so it’s much easier to get noticed, she says. However, they also notice when you’re not funny. “If you see five male comics and only one female comic, you’ll remember if the one female comic sucked.”
When asked why she became a comic, Michele says, “It’s addicting. It’s challenging. I grew up watching Letterman with my parents, and I thought it would be amazing to sit in that chair and make people laugh.”
But even after a bad night, she says, she knows she will be back the next week to try it again. “It’s amazing when you kill. It’s devastating when you bomb. But you keep coming back anyway.”
Comedy is very much male-dominated, and perhaps women in general are just not that into stand-up comedy as much as men. “Most people would rather hear a rape joke from a guy, rather than a victim.” But lucky for us, Michele has the balls to get up there and do it, week after week.
One last question for Michele:
Q: “Why are you such a bitch?”
A: “I’m not a bitch, Jenn, I’m an asshole. I have balls, remember?”
Indeed she does.
You can see Michele this weekend at Hyena’s Arlington in the late show, midnight on Saturday. If you live in Dallas, she’s worth the drive.