Erica Watson, star of FAT BITCH!.
BOTTOM LINE: Comedienne and actress Erica Watson shines in this stand-up comedy routine meets one-woman show about weight, doing a number or two on Jesus’ Birthday, sex and everything in between.
Erica Watson is pissed off about being judged by her size and she’s not afraid to say it. Or anything for that matter. In her appropriately inappropriate 90-minute show, newbie stand-up comedienne and actress Watson (recently seen in the movie Precious) starts out by weighing in on what it’s like to be a big woman with a pretty face in a small-minded, body-conscious society – and ends up paying homage to her vibrator.
With a title like FAT BITCH!, the show starts off exactly the way you might expect and want it to: Watson takes the stage and immediately bares her soul with a side of sass. She’s fed up (and rightly so) with everyone and everything, from Tyra Banks, to Grey’s Anatomy, to other “fat bitches” – all entities that perpetuate or contribute to the “Super Mammy” stereotype. “Super Mammy,” Watson explains, is the jolly, “walking-Broadway-musical” role that she believes black women – herself included – have been forced into because of their size and the color of their skin (with no thanks to nary a Nell Carter). Watson’s refreshingly blunt anecdotes from her life – in which no past experience is off-limits (my favorite being the “Taking a Shit on Christmas” story) – make clear that it’s incredibly tough out there for voluptuous women of color.
Or just women in general. At about the halfway point, the show veers off course from its initial focus, only to turn into a veritable stand-up routine about the trials and tribulations of what comes (or doesn’t, for that matter) with having a vagina. In the crusade against undeservedly cocksure penises and the men attached to them, Watson scores one for Team Vagina: she successfully advocates a woman’s right to get her groove on – with or (preferably) without a man (hello, Silver Bullet! Reenactment of Watson’s first orgasm included). Sure it sounds crude and a little on the TMI side on paper, but thanks to Watson’s great comic timing and unwavering delivery I felt empowered and ready to take the next train to sex toy store Babeland.
While FAT BITCH! began as the expected tirade of a strong, sassy and powerful woman ready to defy the boundaries set for her, it certainly didn’t end that way. SPOILER ALERT: The show closes with a video featuring a horrified 21 year-old Watson being dropped on her head by a male stripper in a green spandex banana hammock. And I know what you’re thinking – is this even the same show that featured “Super Mammy?” FAT BITCH! never does come full circle to connect the two distinct halves. But while I came away feeling less break-out-of-the-box-people-put-you-in and more break-out-the-box-from-the-sex-toy-store, the truth of the matter is that when you end your one-woman show with 80’s male stripper footage as a final image, what more could your audience really want? I would gladly be lead astray by the outrageously smart (albeit dirty) comedic chops of Erica Watson any day.
(FAT BITCH! plays at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street, Thursday, February 18th and Thursday, February 25th at 7pm. Tickets are $15 and are available at www.SpinCycleNYC.com or by calling 212-352-3101. There is also a $15 food/drink minimum.)