Drule, a weekly comedy show produced by three women and featuring lineups of primarily women and nonbinary comics, is celebrating its one-year anniversary of live shows at Fette Sau on March 24.
Since March 25, 2021, Claire Alexander, Brittany Cardwell, and Olivia Amerling have co-produced the weekly show from Fette Sau (354 Metropolitan Ave), which has featured comics like Mary Beth Barone, Atsuko (who started the famed #DropChallenge on TikTok), Hannah Berner, Courtney Bee, Maddy Smith, and Youngmi Mayer, to name a few.
But before Drule was punctuated with the sounds of cocktails flowing and smells of BBQ, the show was being performed on roofs and as a pop-up throughout Williamsburg as a result of its producers noticing the lack of prominent female and nonbinary comics being featured in the scene as the pandemic changed the comedy landscape.
“Earlier on in the pandemic, stand-up comedy had been on Zoom and then people started doing shows in parks and on rooftops and in backyards, and I noticed more than ever that I felt like there weren’t many people that were not men active in the scene, so I really wanted to emphasize those unheard voices on a show,” Alexander explained. “It literally started from nothing, not even a venue, during a point [in August 2020] when it was a weird time to be alive and be a human.”
But after searching for a more permanent spot in the neighborhood in early 2021, Fette Sau was a no-brainer, especially thanks to its outdoor space, which attracted the show’s producers in efforts to remain COVID safe.
“Brittany [Cardwell] and I were really mostly looking for a venue that had a really good outdoor space — because we wanted people in attendance, but our main priority was their safety — so we walked around and wanted to keep it in the Williamsburg area because that was where we had our original shows, and that’s kind of where our fanbase was,” Alexander recalled. “We found Fette Sau and we loved it, and Laura, the manager was so open to the idea as soon as we told her about it.”
In the year since, Drule has been navigating indoor vs. outdoor seating, rising and falling COVID cases, and the general trials and tribulations of running a comedy show that requires rolling a suitcase of sound equipment to and from the venue each week. And Fette Sau has been supportive as ever, even going as far as to craft a signature cocktail for the show.
For Alexander in particular, who cites Drule as the first show she’s ever produced, celebrating its first birthday is an extra special milestone in many ways.
“I’m so proud of this accomplishment, I’ve honestly given myself to space to grow up. Not only as a comedian, because I’ve given myself this opportunity to perform for an audience every single week, but I’ve also grown as a producer,” Alexander said. “I’ve experienced firsthand being left out of the boys’ club that stand-up is. I have definitely had my series of unfortunate experiences as being a woman in a bar late at night and being critiqued for my performance in a manner that men aren’t or being judged for the things I say in a matter that men aren’t and even being worried about leaving the place alone in a way that men don’t experience. Although I’m in a place in my career where I genuinely most of the time feel comfortable, that’s not the case for everybody; there’s so many people with different stories, and I think it’s really important to showcase the incredible talent that women have that is so often overlooked.”
Looking ahead, the hope is for Drule to continue thriving as a bar show and grow its following, and no matter what that means for the space its performed in (though Fette Sau will always be considered a special home); but no matter how it grows and changes, the goal is to never stray far from its roots of shining the spotlight on talented women and nonbinary folks in comedy.
“It’s a powerful reminder that women are funny and strong and everywhere. It’s a reminder that there’s a place for women in comedy even though a lot of the world will make you feel like there isn’t,” Alexander said.