Dana Goldberg is not only a female working in the straight-male dominated field of comedy—something she says she's creatively had to figure out ways which to maneuver within—she also happens to be an activist for LGBTQ rights.
Her work for the Human Rights Campaign is often paired with her unique talent for comedy, using her knack for the laugh to help support events such as the upcoming "What's So Funny?" comedy show that is in its second here in Long Beach.
But what makes Dana fascinating is her approach to comedy, one that is neither saturated in stereotypes nor afraid to admit that she'd rather cater to an audience with intelligence than one looking for toilet humor.
"What I’ve learned through the years is that if I’m going to be a working comic, sometimes I have to create my own opportunities as a woman that perhaps a man wouldn’t have to," she explained. "I think it can go two ways with female comics. They can either play into the gender stereotypes that the audience expects from them: crass, sometimes slutty, not at smart as the men, playing into what they think the audience wants to hear. They almost act like guys on stage sometimes. I chose to go the opposite way and write smart edgy comedy and try to gear my shows toward more intelligent well informed audiences."
This concept was sparked by her first major gig at 26-years-old in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in front of some 650 people. Hearing joke after joke regarding boyfriends, sex not working, and other various subjects common to female comedy, Dana felt immensely uncomfortable before heading onto stage looking like what she described as Paula Poundstone: jeans, a button-down, and a tie.
"I couldn’t have been more gay if I were wearing a softball glove and a visor," Dana said bluntly. "I was terrified to go on stage—hands were shaking and I could see my heart beat through my shirt. I didn’t dare touch the microphone for fear I would turn in into an amplifying vibrator of sorts. After my first big joke, I heard the most deafening laughter I had ever heard and I was hooked."
Her life's inspirations, ranging from Wanda Sykes to Erin Foley to Kathleeen Madigan, proved to have been the sources she need to make her way up in a world that is dominated by the now and quick to kill.
And while there are no current HRC shows on her roster, she is always willing to book shows to support local and national nonprofits which promote equality.
Dana will appear with Gloria Bigelow and Jason Dudey on Sunday, October 14 at the Laugh Factory, located at 151 South Pine Avenue. The event will feature emcee Lady Vajayjay, with the show going from 7:30PM to 9PM. General admission is $25; VIP is $40.
For tickets and more information, visit www.hrc.org/longbeachcomedy.