Brittany Tilander’s burlesque-standup hybrid show Body Language highlights the vulnerability of the craft
Brittany Tilander is creating an open space for comedians of all backgrounds to practice their craft in a saucy way.
Body Language is a comedy/drag show that Tilander first started in Wisconsin in 2017 before they moved back to Kansas City in 2020 and were able to put together one show before the pandemic shut everything down. Since then, they’ve transitioned to virtual shows and are now able to fill a 35-person space almost every month.
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The concept of the show, which Tilander credits to a show in Chicago called Strip Joker, is that every time a comedian gets a big laugh they have to remove an article of clothing. At the same time, their hype song plays.
“It’s been everything from “Pony” by Genuine to the graduation march song.” says Tilander, “It’s so silly but also challenges that vulnerability that happens with comedy sometimes but on a new level.”
On top of the strip comedy, there are also local drag queens that make their way out and perform at the shows as well, creating a mashup of two of Tilander’s favorite things. “You’ll be in the green room going over your Catholic guilt jokes next to a drag queen who’s putting pasties on, it’s so fun.”
Tilander assures that even though people are getting naked on stage, it’s all about consent at a Body Language show.
“Me taking off my shirt on stage still means no touchy. It’s all about having fun and not sexualizing it.”
In creating this show, Tilander hopes to create a space in KC that isn’t often offered in the Midwest.
“One of the first lessons I learned in comedy was that if you don’t see a space that you want to see that means it’s your job to create it,” says Tilander. “Comedy tends to be a very white, straight, cis brand of entertainment.”
Bringing the show to the Midwest is something that some people might question. Is there really a community here that would value a show like this? Tilander says there is. “I could move to Los Angeles or New York, but I feel like it’s important to stay here and create this because there is such a strong queer community in Kansas City, and it’s only growing and getting stronger. I want them to have a place where they can be curious and feel safe in their curiosity.”
Body Language is performed on the third Saturday of the month at Barrel of the Bottoms. You can get your tickets for their May 20th show here, and follow their account on Instagram. You can also catch more from Brittany on Instagram, TikTok, and The Brittany and Patrick Show–a podcast presented by The Pitch.