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Are Bachelorette Parties at Comedy Shows Actually … Good?

Jamie Lee. Photo-Illustration: by Vulture; Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

When comedians criticize comedy-club shows, early in the shortlist of complaints is bachelorette parties, with their groups of penis-hatted audience members drunkenly stepping on punchlines. It’s unclear how comedy shows even became a thing that bachelorette parties did. My guess is it’s because bachelorette parties rose to prominence in the mid-1980s, a time when the country was lousy with bad comedy clubs. In any case, the stereotype persists decades later.

Jamie Lee wants to end the hate. On the comedian’s new Netflix series, The Wedding Coach which is a sort of Queer Eye for weddings — Lee is trying to upend much of the conventional wisdom around weddings. And that includes bachelorette parties at comedy shows, which happens in the first episode.

On Vulture’s Good One podcast, Lee talks about bachelorette parties, The Wedding Coach, writing on Ted Lasso, and what it’s like when weddings are your comedic muse when you’re getting a divorce. You can read an excerpt from the transcript or listen to the full episode below. Tune in to Good One every Tuesday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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If anyone ever makes fun of comedy clubs, the first example is bachelorette parties.
Comedians typically don’t enjoy it because they’re usually just very drunk and disruptive. And it’s hard to concentrate onstage if you have drunk people in the front row yelling over your jokes.

Why put it in your show? Do you want to reclaim it?
Oh, I love that. I actually love bachelorette parties. I love doing crowd work. And I do get a rise out of making them feel seen and finding a way to also use them as fodder by lightly jabbing at them in a way that they’re having fun, but also, the audience can still have that shut the fuck up satisfaction.

I am sort of saying that even if they don’t realize I’m saying that about them. There was one show that I did it — Comedy Works in Denver. And I brought one of the girls from the party up onstage and had this whole interaction with her. I actually really love their energy. I get excited to break from my normal set and do something fun in the moment, and I feel like they provide that. So I think there is a level for me of taking back the bachelorette party.

I can’t remember if it actually made it into the episode, but there was something funny, too, about me being an audience member at a show where I know pretty much everyone on the bill. My friends are performing, and then they see me in the front row, and I’m not there to perform that night; I’m there to be with this girl who’s getting married and needs to have a bachelorette party because none of her friends threw her one.

So I made it my mission to make sure she had a great time. I also knew that night that the people who were there … I mean, for TV, they did know we were going to be there. We actually were a really good audience. I mean, we definitely drank way too much, but that really just led to us laughing a lot. So honestly, it was fine. We weren’t being disrespectful. There was something kind of thrilling to me about just enjoying a comedy show in the way I did before I did comedy. Actually, there’s something very kind of sweet and cathartic about it. Annie Lederman was onstage and she was like, “Oh my God, Jamie Lee is wasted in the front row.” And I was like, This is heaven.

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Are Bachelorette Parties at Comedy Shows Actually … Good?