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