This week I had the pleasure of attending “Keeping My Kidneys,” a show by New York based Comedian, Actress and Writer, Mindy Raf.
Now, getting to the show was a struggle. It was the night after we learned who our 45th president would be. It was hard to find the will to do anything that day, but boy am I glad I went. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Mindy before and after the show, and left with renewed love for the world. It seems a little laughter therapy goes a long way!
Named for a piece of “the talk” Mindy’s mom had with her as a child, “Keeping My Kidneys” is 60 minutes of hilarity. Mindy takes you through a winding journey through life, death, family, anxiety, polyamory, bisexuality, sex positivity, and more – all in ways that are relatable, regardless of which pieces you personally identify with. I had the opportunity to ask Mindy some questions about the show, so I will let her take it from here. “Keeping My Kidneys” ends this run at the PIT Loft tonight, but keep a look out for the next time it comes around, and go see it!
E Garcia : How did “Keeping My Kidneys” come to be?
Mindy Raf: A year ago I debuted a half hour stand-up show called Raf Does A Half at SOLOCOM festival. Then in April I reworked the stand-up to connect more to storytelling and narrative and extended it to an hour show No Thank You. For the past 6 months I’ve been working with a great director Tara Elliott (Shugs & Fats, Burq Off!) on reworking No Thank You. I ended up cutting out a lot of stand-up and rewriting the narrative arc that became Keeping My Kidneys. I wanted to make the humor more personal, to tell the audience some secrets, and to focus on my narrative as a queer woman and what modern romance means to me.
E: How did you get into comedy?
Raf: I did musical theatre and acting for a long time, but I was always cast as a comic relief. I was always writing for myself and performing comedic monologues. I was a member of a sketch comedy group in college. But then I did a stand-up open mic my senior year in Ann Arbor (I think my first set was a rambling story about a dildo – not much has changed) and I was hooked.
E: What do you hope folks take away from the show?
Raf: I dive into some very specific topics in Keeping My Kidneys, like bisexual visibility, polyamory, anxiety… I hope audience members laugh with me about my experiences, but also come away from the show relating to them regardless of how they identity or how they define love in their lives. I got a great compliment from a straight guy after a show who said, “I really learned something, and I really related to the emotions of your story and your relationship with your fiance so much.” To me, that was awesome. It’s so important to have a like-minded community of people, but even more so to be reminded that there are universal things that can bring us all together if we listen and are kind to one another.
E: Can you say a word about the importance of LGBTQ+ narratives?
Raf: Two words: SO. IMPORTANT. LGBTQ+ narratives create representation needed for people to not only embrace their identities, but feel confident sharing their stories. Now there are so many platforms that invite us to share. We don’t have to wait for permission to put our stories out there. And the more stories people share, the more people hopefully accept that LBGTQ+ stories aren’t just one trajectory or some thin brand. They are nuanced stories. They are specific stories. And they contain – like any great story – universal truths.
E: How much longer is the show? How else can people get to know you/your work?
Raf: The show runs 5 nights and we have 1 more night left in this run: Friday 11/11 7:30 PM. And the show will run again soon, but dates for that are TBD.
People can visit my website mindyraf.com to see videos and join my mailing list where I post monthly with updates on writing and show dates
I also have media up on my Facebook page: facebook.com/mindyrafcomedy
I post a lot of hair-selfies on Instagram @mmmindela.
And I write stuff on medium as well: medium.com/mindyraf
E: Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to Effort-Lez and to all the platforms and communities out there that are lifting up LGBTQ+ voices. It’s much needed, especially right now. Be kind to one another, and to yourself.
Thank YOU Mindy for your work, your vulnerability, and for spreading laughter. We can’t wait to see the continued success of this show, and what ever else you get up to!