By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Biloon moved to L.A. from Austin just under three years ago to see if she could go pro among the best comics in the world. She has a Premium Blend — Comedy Central’s showcase for new talent — to her credit, regular slots opening for her “comedy mentor” Dave Attell, and currently gets onstage somewhere at least twice a week. Unlike her better-known peers — Paul F. Tomkins, Bamford, Jackie Kashian, Patton Oswalt — Biloon doesn’t have representation and, for now, is happy booking herself every week.
With her cute, dimpled, freckled face, Eddie Bauer fashion sense and take-it-or-leave-it delivery, Biloon talks to her audience as if she’s lost the “truth” round of “Truth or Dare?” You asked for it, here it all comes.
“I’ve actually been working out a lot and dieting and I’ve been trying to lose some weight, which is nice and good,” she continues in her Big Fish set. “The only thing that sucks about it is that I kinda have this dream in life — which is that I’d really like to be pregnant without knowing it. I just want to go to the bathroom one day and become a mother. That way, I can drink through the whole pregnancy and not feel guilty.”
Sarah Silverman would be proud of this extremely taboo and layered joke. It’s what makes Michelle Biloon a brave comic. And, c’mon, who hasn’t wondered about those women who get stomach cramps and then a baby shows up in a restroom stall?
Meanwhile, drunk, pregnant and bathroom are words that have caught the attention of the hecklers. Biloon soldiers on, but it’s clear that the rowdies are riled up. Whoops and hollers compete with the crummy PA system.
She hurries through the setup for her next bit.
“A couple of weeks ago, my ex-brother-in-law, who is gay, asked me over instant messenger if I might like to have a child for him and his partner. Now, I’m not going to have my first baby for you and your partner, okay?” she says as a screeching train whistle from outside escalates to just below deafening, “but then a train rolled by, which got me to thinking” — she’s yelling now to compete with the din — “and now I think I might say yes, with the only stipulation being no fertility drugs, no turkey baster, no petri dishes — we’re fucking.”
Usually, this bit gets a big laugh, but the barflies are now acting like sugar-drunk toddlers whom Biloon is taunting with the bubble machine.
“He gets five tries — and I’ve had sex enough times without a condom to know that luck is on my side . . . What? Is that the part of the joke where you guys judge me?”
“What about your ca-cas?” someone shouts from the bar area.
Biloon squints to see who is yelling from the back of the room. “Is that the drunk or drunkier? Is it my turn at darts?” She points to a lamp fashioned out of an aquarium: “We’re playing for that fucking lamp right there because it’s awesome.”
Drunk at bar: “Unscrew the light bulb right now!”
Biloon: “I think that was dirty.”
Drunk at bar: “What part of dirty was it?”
Biloon: “Um, it was the d and the i and half of the r.”
She knows her set is pretty much in the toilet, but it’s now become a game. Biloon seems to delight in baiting the rowdies and then ignoring them, pulling the attention back to her. “Hey, dart people — you’re going to love this. It’s a love poem. You can repeat it to your wife when you roll into bed at 4 a.m.: Man on the bus/I see you drooling reading your dictionary playing your kazoo/What’s on your mind as the wheels on the bus go round and round? . . . /Put it in me.”
To most of us, standing on a stage trying to make people laugh would be terrifying enough. But being up there while half the audience have turned into petulant children is like watching someone live out one of your worst nightmares — right up there with giving birth to a three-headed dragon baby.
Out in the parking lot, an unfazed Biloon shrugs. “That was the worst crowd I’ve ever played to in L.A. They were like a Wisconsin crowd,” says the comic from Madison as she gets into her Mazda. “When I lived in Texas, I used to book a show at a boat harbor and there used to be a crowd like this. It was hilarious, and we used to just get into it. I would love to come back to Big Fish when I’m not in a rush.”
Half an hour and one ticket for an illegal U-turn later, Biloon enters the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on Franklin in Hollywood. Comedy Death Ray, a Tuesday staple for some of the best local talent in town, is climaxing with a crazy sketch featuring a slew of comics, including the popular Charlyne Yi. When it’s over, the packed house cheers, and about half clear out for the 11 p.m. show, See You Next Tuesday, the UCB’s weekly hour for newcomers to abandon their usual set and try something new. Biloon, who is booked for the show, escapes to the small green room next to the stage.