Monday, September 29, 2008

A Full Bawdy Celebration!!


By Ric Taylor

Starting a new career at the age of 37 could have been daunting
— particularly when that career is exposing yourself to the world.
But five years ago, Hamiltonian Shelley Marshall decided to do
just that and bare all — metaphorically — and she hasn’t looked
back. She took to the stage to make people laugh with her
thoughts on life, love and sometimes lurid acts and, from her first
time in the spotlight, Marshall was addicted.
Beyond the sexually ramped–up housewife, Marshall has
channeled characters both young and old, male and female into a
comedic stew that challenges the conventional. She gives birth to
a bawdy comedy that can be simultaneously blunt and witty. No
topic is too precious or sacred but it’s her willingness to be so
frank that makes Marshall sexy, smart, sassy and above all else an
engaging entertainer. To some she’s a role model, to others a sex
symbol — maybe a feminist, a realist and an idealist, too — but
for the class clown that still thinks dick jokes can be humorous,
Shelley Marshall is just one funny lady.
“I had done the soccer mom, school trip, packing lunches,
flagging down school buses thing and I just wanted something for
me,” recalls Marshall on the impetus to take on bringing her
humour to the stage. “I was terrified the first time I walked on
stage, the light was so bright and all I could say was ‘It's like a
pap smear up here’ and I got the laugh. There it was, like a shot
of pleasure that you just want again and again and again.
“I have no filter,” reasons Marshall on her comedic approach.
“I say what I see, feel, think, and when your intentions are good,
then, while I may be asking an uncomfortable question or
bringing up a touchy subject, I am just asking questions, I am
“Over the years, my comedy has evolved into more of a story
telling,” she adds. “And life changes, you move, your children
move out, hair starts growing where it shouldn't, and it all brings
new material. It’s a much nicer world to live in when we can laugh
at it.”
Whether it be finding new body hair growth or new
perspectives on fellatio, Marshall shines a light on the world’s
hidden underbelly via her own, perhaps more private moments.
It’s a comedy that seeks to find universal truths in sometimes
taboo topics and while her femininity is at the forefront, Marshall
appeals to both sexes.
“I've let my husband play winter and summer hockey at the
Hamilton Double Rinks for 22 years so he can't say a thing, but
honestly, he loves the shows,” notes Marshall. “Men like the bit
[where] I expose the secrets they thought their wives would never
tell. I have just as many men hug me after a show as I have had
women. I want them all leaving feeling connected — men and
women, go home enjoy each other, make love, laugh, celebrate
your ways. We aren't so different after all. For women this show
will shock them into reality, and for the men, into discovery.”
With the nature of her comedy, an audience can’t help but
feel a little bit closer to Marshall and hugs from new fans and
friends often prevail after performances. As crass as some might
see her, Marshall can also be so cute and cuddly fans find
themselves drawn to her and with her curves and verbal curve
balls some audience members have found her even more
“I did have a little person ask me after a show, ‘Hey, have you
ever fucked a dwarf?’ to which I replied ‘I can't believe you used
the word dwarf’,” she quips, attacking political correctness on all
fronts. “I never want to offend anyone. I tend to try and read my
crowd. I could play to a school yard of four year olds or a Red Hat
Society. I've played colleges, gay bars, high brow fundraisers, high
society luncheons, high school cafeterias. You tell me who my
crowd is, and I'll make them laugh.”
Marshall can charm almost any audience but received
particular validation when she recently opened up for Canadian
Puppetry of the Penis tour. While the physical manipulation of
male genitalia for comedic purposes might seem like a different
crowd setting, Marshall fit right in. The stopover in her home
town saw Marshall realize a dream, performing the main stage at
Hamilton Place and receiving a standing ovation for her comedy.
“Hasn't every man folded their penis into a sea monster?”
smiles Marshall on her inclusion on the Puppetry tour. “It was an
amazing adventure to travel across Canada and to walk out to an
audience made for me — screaming middle aged women and a
sprinkle of adorable gay men. I had seen many concerts at
Hamilton Place and I dreamed of what it would be like to stand on
that stage, and so on my birthday — five years to the day I ever
did stand up — it happened. It was euphoria.”
With every show, she achieves more goals and with her all
femme comic review, Marshall hopes to lead a collection of like
minded entertainers to yet another level. Marshall’s Full Bawdy
Comedy Show celebrates and embraces everything Marshall loves.
It’s candid and cocky; perhaps risqué but very real and of course
it’s bold and bawdy — but that’s what makes Shelley Marshall
stand out with her stand up. “They are women I admire and have
seen grow over the years,” offers Marshall on the comics joining
her this weekend. “I am so honored that they trust me to put this
show on and can’t wait to see each of them shine. For me, I think
it will be a little bit like giving birth to my first child —
unexpected, full of excitement and my ‘bawdy’ may never be he

Shelley Marshall’s
Full Bawdy Comedy Show
w/Sandra Battaglini, Precious Chong,
Evelyn Reese, Ginger St. James,
Kristen McGregor, Rachelle Elie, Erica
Scott, Andrea Murray + Christel Bartelse.
Friday, September 26th : 10PM
@ Hamilton Place Studio Theatre

Monday, August 11, 2008

Full Bawdy Blues

Its been a few weeks of this hum drum kinda feeling. It happens when I let the creative part of me sit still.
I am not one to reach out or show you my smile upside down. I keep to myself, and hide away with curtains closed and answering machine msgs. I drink the milk from the carton and feel that ache in the arch of my back from sitting still too long.
My wardrobe turns to yoga pants and hair bands
It's been a tough month for me. I am hibernating, and concentrating and frustrating over the slightest of things.
But, I know for certain , something big is coming. I always seem to take shelter for a while, a shelter where ONLY the ones that I trust so very completely, with my very being, do I let in.
It's the evolution of sorts. It affects all parts of me and shifts begin. Sometimes I move, cities away. Sometimes I move, my body, hard and fast and sometimes, I stand completely still and something outside of myself moves me. A birth, a death, a understanding of why it is I do what I do.
Sometimes it comes easy , like the birth of baby pigs, many things, all at once, all over, slipping by.
Other times, its heavy, and hard, and I bleed with fear, anxiety and outright rage at God.
Tonight as I type this, I feel the presence of my saving grace, and I shall sleep on what will come or what will leave

shelley marshall

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mother Of The Pride

Well, the Rainbow flag has been tucked away with my skinny summer clothes that I never fit into again this year.
Yup, it's that time of the year when you jump off the "I'll get into that outfit before the end of summer" and you never do.
Oh sure I can fit my ass in them, I just can't do up the fly, or maybe I can get the fly halfway up and the top button , but there is that bit of "Look what you did to my body!" as I point to my children.
Ah yes! The Children!
Sometimes I'll wander the streets and look in the eyes of strangers and say out loud. "I have two gay kids", then I usually say "well I ONLY have two kids, and they are BOTH gay" I think its kinda like having twins! after all during their teen ages they dressed alike. My girl was a "tom boy" That's what we called lesbians back in my day.
My Son? let's just say he let me dress him up as Robin Hood for a grade 8 Halloween Party. (I dressed up as Mary Katherine Gallagher that year)
I never knew my children were gay, but I was suspicious of my daughter. Those tasmanian devil track suits and catching her watching showgirls.
My son?...I really had no idea...I just thought he was an asshole.
Always shrugging his shoulders, never making eye contact, treating me like I was so not cool. I was the coolest Mom EVER!
I would dress up as a clown for his birthday parties. Take him to Harry Potter book Releases at Midnight.
I would make him Pancakes , the letter of his name and pretend I was Flo from Mel's Diner.
This Kid was lucky to have me! and I reminded him of that everyday!
Anyways...I love my kids, I am hopeful and happy and delighted to watch their lives evolve in front of me.
So the next time I tell you I have two Gay kids?...Please don't look at me as if I have a retarded spinabifita baby in a stroller bobbing it's head at you.
I am happy I beared these fruits!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Live from Jasper Avenue...

I am here in Edmonton, slept in til almost 10, wandered down to the Mall to pick up my Pantyhose and liquid makeup. We spent a few hours at the West Edmonton Mall yesterday. It's fun to shop with Men who shop! What a mall, a skating rink , water park, casino, amusement park, its just nuts! But could I find a Shoppers Drug Mart?...nope! nada! I tried octopus, cold chewy green tasting. I think I am just going to keep still today, lay in this king size bed, catch up on the Y&R, listen to Feist, paint my toes, and miss my family.
Whatever will I do when this comedy thing takes me away for months?
I'll take them with me!!
Tomorrow is my last night with the Tour...I knew it would come and go quickly.
I am excited to perform tonight, I have some friends coming, and although I have family here in this city somewhere, I just don't feel like doing that long lost contacting thing. I've estranged myself from most of my "family" this past year, feeling most safe in the company of the friends I have chosen, and with my children and husband. And although I miss my sisters, I don't have that gut wrenching fear based stomach twisting mindset. Living in fear is how we were raised. Nothing is what it seems, nothing will turn out right, the eggs will be broken when you get home, the sound of a screech means one of your children was just hit by a car, the phone ringing means someone is dead, the smell of anything means the house is on fire. The knock on the door is the Germans coming to get us, it was crazy growing up in my house. But the crazy is what brings the need for laughter, and that's why I do what I do. I want smiling faces and hugs and applause and acceptance, I want celebration and glasses cheering and girlfriends out on the town. I want to live in a world where you are able to stop and breathe and know you are exactly where you are suppose to be, and today that place is Edmonton!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Once Upon A Time...

As I sit here in the lobby of the lovely Saskatchewan Hotel, I am aware that this is the place where it all began. Both my paternal and maternal Grandfathers lived in this City, trying to find their way. Both ended up in Hamilton. This is my first visit to this province, this city, and the coldness that still lingers in my body since getting off the plane. It reminds me of the hearts of my Grandfathers. I know in the end both did not find their bliss, both died lonely and sad. I thought about that as I stepped out on stage last night. There were over a thousand souls, in the most vibrant red chairs, with twinkling lights and a sound system that commanded every ones attention. I have become more comfortable on stage as each show passes, and I am grateful for this experience, the experience of travelling, seeing parts of my Country that I am not sure I would see without this opportunity. It's especially nice to share this journey with people that get it...It seems that in every city, the people want to explain who they are , and what they are about. Its as though each city has their own personality. Even the venues have their own little personalities...Last night, only one man watched the show from the Theatre, and thats probably because he was running lights. The rest hid in a back room, watching hockey, wanting no part of the Penis. In Kitchener, my first show. The lights went out on the stage 12 mins into my set...was it an accident? I don't think so. In London...the sign outside the venue read "Puppetry" they would not allow the word "Penis"? Toronto was the most open minded, full on Posters, a Forty foot banner with PENIS as large as ...well as large as a Penis should be. The Theatre staff was absolutely wonderful and the crowd, THE BEST!
I am learning so much on this adventure, about censorship, about travelling, about cultures within cultures. In Hamilton a woman said to me just before the show .."Are there lots of flaming fags that come to the show"...I said "I am not sure, but I do know my Son is coming and hes a flaming fag!" Its interesting how people perceive this show, when in fact there is absolutely NOTHING sexual about the Puppetry of the Penis...The show is a comedy with two absolutely charming , charismatic, witty men.
And so as I leave this city , and move to the next , I am happy to have visited, to have wandered the streets a bit, to feel that COLD COLD air and to have seen such a lovely sunset, all by myself, with the grandfathers of my past somewhere out there perhaps watching me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It simply is ...The Best Time of My Life!!

I said goodbye to the Boys and Crew at the Winnipeg Airport yesterday, oh how I wanted to be stuffed in their carry ons but alas , I have a week off. I'll meet up again with them in Regina. I guess you could say the energy of excitement still continues to run through me, such a blissful place to be. I flew home with the Gold Medal Winner of Curling, he was glowing, and so was I!!.
Maybe it was just the day , or the weather, but I must say, I have NEVER seen a bluer, brighter sky in my life while in Winnipeg, and the audience was lovely!
I was especially happy to spend some time with a couple of magical girls, well on their comedy way. As it was the last night of this part of the tour, we closed a little Irish pub. I had my first Rock Star experience when Room service (secretly) brought up bottles of wine to our Room long after the CLOSED sign went up. Martin has the voice of Prince Charles and his impecable charm got us the goods!
What I find most wonderful about these Men is that the charm you see upon the stage is exactly who they are. They are so in the moment, life is constantly a celebration for them, I could sit and listen to their stories forever! I feel so so very honoured to be part of this tour, and its so nice to be in a place where I stop and breathe it in, look up to the sky and thank the heavens for such an experience. Its nice to be home and I am a bit weak, a break will be good, to collect my thoughts, paint my toes and get that energy level back up!

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Birthday (Day off of Tour)

Birthdays are never easy for me, I usually medicate, hibernate and contemplate on why I simply don't like to celebrate.
But, yesterday was different. I decided to go for it, be in the moment of acknowleding my aliveness. I prettied myself up , invited two of the most incredible Women in my life (my cousin and my daughter) out for lunch, and away we went. We drove through the city, windows down, sunroof open with The Dixie Chicks singing along. "Forgive? sounds good...Forget? I am not sure I could...They say, time heals everything, but I am still waiting" Oh and I am not so good at forgiving either. I tend to stuff hurt and hate away, I must learn to release!
We hung out in China town, shoppped in Kensington Market, where I bought myself the perfect Birthday outfit. I stopped by Java House for my favorite Rasberry Chocolate Cake , which I am just finishing now for breakfast. I am off soon to London, I have 2 shows tonight, and I am exceptionally excited as I have a grade school friend coming, and my nieces! Tomorrow...its Toronto! WOW!
I am totally loving this experience. I am out of mind thrilled!