When we spoke to Emma Willmann ahead of this weekend’s Women in Comedy Festival, she marked it as an opportunity to make sure she had new jokes. And indeed, she showed off her writing chops with a nearly completely new set. In her third WICF, Willmann showed herself as fully deserving of a headliner billing alongside some of the festival’s funniest comics.
Emma Willmann and Friends, hosted at Cambridge’s Brattle Theater, featured the hometown girl and new addition to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend cast alongside a number of strong comedians including Sarah Martin, Lauren Faber, Erin Maguire, and host Kelly McFarland. McFarland kicked off the show strongly sharing stories about her wedding as an older bride, the perils of planning a wedding in the age of Pinterest, and her new stepson. As a mainstay on the Boston comedy scene, McFarland was incredibly at home and created a welcoming space for the comics to follow.
Sarah Martin kicked off the show, pleased to share her stories of getting tattoos for wedding rings and her continuing resistance to having kids; for the record, both are “pretty permanent” but she’s only nervous about one! North Carolina’s Faber, whose set extolled the virtues of dating a mom, shared that hesitance to be around kids while also recognizing the considerable other perks of dating a parent – like snacks waiting in bed in the morning, and exceptional treatment on the playground.
Maguire, a finalist in this year’s Boston Comedy Festival, is a native New Englander and spent much of her set lamenting her current location of New Jersey. Much of her set revolved around the unusual showbiz couple in which she finds herself- and the fun injuries you can go to the ER for as the wife of a performer in Broadway’s The Lion King.
And for Willmann’s part, her set explored new realizations about herself in the world of dating, and how her mom has helped her through it all. Among these observations: she’s “the man one” in most of her relationships, she doesn’t have socially acceptable interests (can you talk about a fascination with death and SVU on dating suites), and how to fake your way through a conversation about whitewater rafting. Through it all, Willmann showed her effortless ability to relate stories about her life in a likeable and gently critical way.
The Women in Comedy Festival runs through Sunday in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA.