Sex: Comedy Prague’s Favorite Word

Penis and vagina jokes dominate the conversation at Prague’s English comedy nights

 By Prachi Mehrotra

Courtesy of Comedy Prague's Facebook Page.

An English-speaking comedy group aims to create a community for expats to laugh and learn. Photo courtesy Comedy Prague’s Facebook Page.

“Vaginas are ugly,” joked Anastasia Goncharuk as she stood with a mic in her hand in front of roughly 60 audience members at the Globe Bookstore and Cafe.

This was one of several sex-themed jokes that were occasionally amusing, but more often juvenile at a recent Comedy Night at the Globe, Prague’s largest English bookstore. The February event was put on by Comedy Prague, an organization that hosts workshops and shows around the Czech capitol.

Other jokes ranged from “Older sisters are terrifying. The Italians have a word for them: Mussolini” to explaining the five different types of orgasm for a girl. One comedian talked at length about the plethora of “dick pics” men: ex’s, boyfriends and strangers who send photos of their nether regions without warning.

Comedy Prague was started in 2013 by Luke Ryan, originally from Dublin, Ireland, who came to Prague intending to teach English for only one year before returning home. However, like many expatriates, he fell in love with the city and stayed. Being a comedian himself, Ryan felt the need to address the lack of English language comedy in Prague.

Comedy Prague runs comedy shows at changing venues – primarily the Globe and Baskervilles Old British Bar – and hosts’ comedy workshops.

On their Facebook page, Comedy Prague advertises their upcoming events and entertains followers with jokes such as, “My dog chases everyone he sees on a bike. I’ve tried every training technique I can find to get him to stop, but in the end I’ve just had to take away his bike.”

At the Globe event, though the show started more than 30 minutes late, the MC, Lucie Machackova, successfully riled up the crowd. Machackova was consistently making references to her own sexual experiences and relationships to respond to the comedians’ sets.

“It’s a personal thing and you get to share it with a lot of people.”

The six featured comedians – Max Paris, Jeffrey Mons, Daniel Grice, David Talacko, Anastasia Goncharuk, and Katarina Puskarov – came from the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Great Britain. It was the first time ever performing for three of the comedians. Many of these comedians were recent graduates of Comedy Prague’s workshops, and were able to perform with the group because of this.

Audience members were predominantly English-speaking foreigners, ranging from their early 20s to mid 40s. Ryan says that usually the crowd is about 60 to 70 percent expatriates living in Prague. With a full house, the comedians received a lot of support and enthusiasm through cheering, clapping and a lot of drinking. Even when the audience seemed to be laughing less throughout a comedian’s set, each comedian received the same amount of enthusiastic applause at the end of their performance.

Courtesy of Comedy Prague's Facebook Page.

A packed house at the Globe Bookstore and Cafe. Photo courtesy Comedy Prague’s Facebook Page.

But not everyone was impressed by the performances.

“Personally, I think I was the funniest one here tonight,” said audience member Vincent Cota as he sipped on his alcoholic milkshake at the Globe. Cota, 20, is an American studying at a Prague-based film program. He said he heard about the event from his girlfriend, so they thought they would go see if it was any good.

Meanwhile, the Globe seemed to be understaffed at this event and waiters were taking more than 30 minutes to bring people drinks.

Ryan hopes to bring Comedy Night to new venues.

The issue with performing at the same venue regularly, he explained, is that usually they attract the same crowd, so the comedians don’t have the chance to practice and improve their sets through multiple performances. “It’s a personal thing and you get to share it with a lot of people,” said Ryan in a phone interview.

Comedy Prague helps potential comedians put together material and offers a stage on which new comedians can perform. Each show Comedy Prague hosts features new comedians, and the group currently has a set of 16 comedians that rotate for different performances. The shows generally last about two hours.

The workshops take place over six weeks on Sunday morning, and the graduates put on a show at the end. During these workshops, Ryan works with the comedians to form their sets, but also focuses on things like stage presence, how to deal with a difficult audience and “the psychology of being on stage.”

This knowledge came in handy was when one of the drunk audience members kept shouting over one of the comedians. During the set, the comedian acknowledged and shushed the audience member, to which he muttered some vague response. Upon completing her set, the comedian went to the bar and sat next to the man who continued being disruptive, put her arm around him and whispered something in his ear, somehow managing to get him to stop bothering any more comedians.

For Ryan, who is performing at virtually every show and running Comedy Prague while maintaining a full-time job as a primary school English teacher, the most important thing is to “Give people the chance and have the opportunity to perform.”

March shows:
Thursday, March 3 – Globe 7:30pm
Friday, March 11 – Baskervilles 8:00pm
Friday, March 18 – A Maze in Tchaiovna 7:30pm
Thursday, March 24 – Baskervilles 8:00pm

Prachi Mehrotra is in the NYU College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2017. Her hometown is Parsippany, New Jersey.

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Categories: Culture, Spring 2016 Issue Number 1

Author:The Prague Wandering

The Prague Wandering is an NYU based study abroad webzine- the only one of its kind. It focuses on issues in contemporary Czech culture and the city of Prague, exploring beyond the study abroad bubble.

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