ASF Hot Seat: Naughty Bits

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Naughty Bits is a wildly popular comedy and sex advice show created by Austin stand-ups Katie Stone and Ella Gale, wherein comedians tell their best sex and romance jokes then, based on their sets, get sex advice from Stone and Gale.

Joining Ella & Katie for the ASF Edition of Naughty Bits will be stand-up Avery Moore and festival headliners Girls with Brown Hair. We spoke with Stone about the inspiration for the show, working with Ella, and taking the show on the road.

Where did the idea or inspiration for the show come from?

Katie Stone: We knew that we wanted to run a show as a team before we were sure exactly what we wanted to do. Ella suggested the sex and dating show idea. We’d both watched so many dudes go up and say such weird stuff about sex onstage and were like, damn, wouldn’t it be cool if we had a structured way of telling them, “you’re doing it wrong.”

What made you decide to work together?

Katie: Ella and I met at open mics, and were essentially the only two women who started around the same time. We made friends quick and liked each others jokes. Over the two-plus years we’ve become best friends, and basically love everything about working together. We went on tour together for four days in February and didn’t argue once. I think we both sense when the show needs improvements, so when one of us brings that up, the other says “yes, and” to any suggestions rather than feeling offended. Also, we both work hard.

Any stories from your travels?

Katie: It was so crazy learning that people feel awkward about sex and dating everywhere! Hah, no. Comics and venues across the country have been amazing. The weirdest thing that’s happened was that my boyfriend sent his mom to our show in Dallas. I had not met her yet, and only spoke to her for about 2 minutes before she saw me go onstage and do a joke about “the guy I’m dating.” Fortunately, she loved the show!

Have you been surprised about how well the show has been received?

Katie: Yes and no. We love the show. We both call it our “favorite thing.” We also have seen the response and crowd grow in direct response to improvements we’ve made that we’re proud of: tech and production, focusing our late-night jokes, bringing the number of comics down so we can dedicate more time to conversation. Our first sold out show was our one-year anniversary, and we were blown away, but also like, “yes. We earned this.”

Photos by Erin Holsonback.

Photos by Erin Holsonback.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened in a show – not necessarily the naughtiest.

Katie: We had a young local comic who is a UT student do the show a few weeks after losing his virginity, and it was one of the funniest things I have ever heard. He is an incredibly talented writer, so to hear someone with such fresh eyes on sex describe it in such detail was one of my favorite moments. He described what a vagina felt like with such shock and admiration!

What do you have planned for your Austin Sketch Fest show?

Katie: We are excited to be able to ask some local comics who are so amazing they can be hard to pin down at our usual Friday time! We also look forward to having sketch performed on the show for the first time. Ella and I are both also sketch performers, and we’re really excited by how effortlessly we think adding this new medium will fit in our format. And, as usual, we’ll have thoughtful conversations with comedians, and late-night style jokes about recent “sex news.”

Who are your influences?

Katie: I know she’s discussed heavily, but I feel lucky to be a part of the Schumer generation. Seeing a full sketch show on TV that is dedicated to women speaking their minds about their experience is empowering to me, and I think it primes people to enjoy our show. Local comics Kath Barbadoro and Carina Magyar are also insanely talented when it comes to the subjects of sex, dating, and just human relationships generally. Both have performed on the show more than once and we really look forward to hearing their insights.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Katie: We often reference our favorite shows being when the comics flip the concept on its head and give us advice, as has often happened when we’ve had folks in long-time marriages on the show. The late Montgomery Wayne was on our show a few months before his passing, discussing how he still felt intense love for his wife of more than two decades, who had been in a coma for years – I think the beauty of our show is how honest it allows comedians to be. That night, I cried onstage during his interview, but the audience was with us 100% through that emotional experience and then as we flipped the show around and did more great comedy after. We had folks come up and tell us how much it had meant to them, which meant the world to us.

What should people interested in comedy know that you didn’t know when you started?

Katie: I think the only really valuable advice I have would apply mostly to young women: don’t let the shitty sexist things people inevitable say at open mics or improv jams get under your skin. New comics often don’t know the difference between being shitty and being funny, but as you get more comfortable onstage, you’ll have more instinctual responses and more ownership in those situations. Ella and I wear necklaces that say “harpy” on them, and it’s an homage to the number of times we’ve played in scenes with shitty dudes, or followed shitty dudes at open mics, and done what we needed to do to reclaim that space as our own. You don’t have to put up with that shit.

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?

Katie: “Naughty Bits is a live sex show, but not in the way you think.” “Comics Katie Stone and Ella Gale womansplain sex and comedy to men onstage: ARE WE GOING TO STANDFOR THIS?” “Austin Sketch Fest? More like Austin Sex Fest.”

What do you have planned post-Sketch Fest?

Katie: I’ve just completed a run of my first solo sketch comedy show, Strong Female Lead, that I’ll be traveling with. Ella will be hitting all sorts of festivals throughout 2016, including Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Fest. Please also check out the Naughty Bitcast, our podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher – we’ve had some incredible guests on lately to talk about sex and dating in our culture, and we’ve got more great ones to come.

You can catch Naughty Bits, Thursday May 26th at Midnight, at the Hideout Theater. Admission is only one dirty dollar, payable at the door.