"You definitely piss off a lot more people doing comedy than showing them your vagina," says Wendy Weiss, who's eating a bowl of oatmeal at North Killingsworth's Coffeehouse-Five.
By day, Weiss is a vegan with a penchant for knitting. But the last Friday of every month, she hosts Comic Strip at Funhouse Lounge, a show in which comics take off their clothes while trying to make people laugh.
After each comic starts his or her set, Weiss rings a bell every few minutes, signaling it's time for the comic to take off an article of clothing. They usually only get as far as their skivvies.
"The person onstage is like, 'Holy shit, I'm doing this!'" Weiss says. "There's always one comic who's in the green room just doing pushups. It's like, 'It's not going to help you now, dude.'"
It should be no surprise that stripping gives Weiss endless material for jokes, like the man who said her breasts were "nicer than his sister's" or the way her car always gets searched at the Canadian border, only for officers to find knitting needles and maybe a vape pen.
Comedy got her through her early days of stripping, when Weiss was such a bad dancer that she "would just plop down and tell jokes." Doing the reverse—bringing stripping to comedy—is her way of changing the way a lot of female comics talk about sex.
"Sex is either portrayed as sad because they don't have it, or women are sluts because they do," Weiss says. "I'll be like, 'So I was having sex and this weird thing happened,' or, 'This lady said something super-racist at an orgy, isn't that weird?' I normalize it when I'm talking about it so that's not what the joke is about."
Weiss didn't specifically set out to challenge stereotypes, but she is very aware that she does, simply because her comedy set is, for many, the only interaction with a sex worker outside a strip club.
"Sometimes I want to try to expand my horizons, but you talk about what you know," she says. "I could do stripping material forever. But on the other end, do I want to be a stripper comic?"
"I kind of do," she says.