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Newfoundland sketch comedy troupe make slush, smash the patriarchy

‘The Ho Ho Ho Christmas Show’ features an all-female cast

Slush — it’s the quintessential Christmastime drink in Newfoundland, and everyone has a different recipe.

In ‘The Ho Ho Ho Christmas Show’ — a night of Christmas sketch comedy coming up on Friday, Dec. 7 – comedian Stephanie Curran shows the audience how it’s made.

In one of the eight sketches the all-female cast will perform, Curran plays the role of Nan, who also happens to host a cooking show called “Scuff and a Scoff with Nan.”

She begins by explaining the first step in making a fine batch of slush: Finding the proper bucket.

“It got to be a salt beef bucket — can’t be no other bucket. And quite honestly, it don’t have to be that empty.”

The sketch comedy show will be on stage at The Fat Cat and will star Curran along with Andie Bulman, Elizabeth Hicks and Allison Kelly.

During a rehearsal on Saturday at the Arts and Culture Centre, the group is reviewing the slush-making sketch.

After tips on the proper bucket, “Nan” gives her trick to speed up the slushing process:

“Nanny likes to put a bit of slush in the slush — she goes to the Walmart parking lot and takes out a big scoop and pops it right in that bucket.”

Offstage, Kelly guffaws while Curran pretends to fill the bucket with everything ranging from Vienna sausage liquid to nearly every kind of alcohol imaginable.

The sketches range from a futuristic Christmas where trees are replaced by orbs, to a bit about being haunted by a demon at a Christmas village.

To be clear, these are not the kind of skits you’ll see at church over the holidays.

It’s produced by HalfHandsome — the folks behind “Almost Baymous”, which had a sold-out LSPU Hall run this past spring.

Hicks says she hopes audiences walk away thinking “women can be funny, and women are funny.”

“Not only is sketch comedy very male-dominated in the world as a whole, but...there’s not a lot of sketch comedy going on in Newfoundland at all, and the stuff that is going on, and that has happened in the past, has been very much male-dominated.”

Before Saturday’s rehearsal, Curran bemoans the assumption that female comedians are only going to joke about “women problems” or about getting dumped by a man.

“It’s all very self-deprecating humour that I feel like most women feel they have to talk about to be considered funny.”

Moreover, she said sketch comedy tends to only involve women if they’re brought on to be ‘the girl next door’ and other tropes.

“We have a bunch of characters that I think show the community that girls can do these types of things. It’s just that if you don’t give us the opportunity to do them, no one’s ever going to know we can do it,” says Curran.

“So, we made our own show,” adds Hicks, joking that the show “definitely” passes the Bechdel test — a measure of the representation of women in fiction.

Hicks says the eight Christmas-themed sketches will “uproot, examine, and poke fun at the relationship” they, as Newfoundlanders and as women, have with the holidays.

To open the show, female comics Bree Parsons, Lauren Lambe and Katie Thompson will perform stand-up.

“The Ho Ho Ho Christmas Show” will be on stage at The Fat Cat on Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 cash at the door.

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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