Bridging the gap

Temple alumna Rachel Fogletto is challenging the gender gap in comedy with Comedy-Gasm!, her new show. The production features comedians and performers of varying races, genders and sexual orientations.

Kate Nyx performs at the two-year anniversary Comedy-Gasm show on April 18. Nyx joked about her past experiences as a burlesque dancer and camera girl during her performance. | JD Mousley TTN
Kate Nyx performs at the two-year anniversary Comedy-Gasm show on April 18. Nyx joked about her past experiences as a burlesque dancer and camera girl during her performance. | JD Mousley TTN

Rachel Fogletto said she likes her style of comedy to “expose the absurdity” of gender roles.

Fogletto, a 2007 Temple alumna, received her Master of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. Now, Fogletto works as a health center assistant by day, and as a comedian, writer and entertainer by night.

She started her own show, Comedy-Gasm!, in 2013 with other local comedians and entertainers to create a “diverse group of voices to keep things spicy.” Fogletto hosts Comedy-Gasm! every third Saturday of the month at 114 Market St. in Old City, at The Irish Põl.

Fogletto said she likes to feature local comedians of varying races, genders and sexual orientations to show different points of view.

“I’ll try to make it like the straight white dude is the token instead of the other way around, because often times there will be only one female or one black person on a show, and that can be a thing depending on where it is in the city,” Fogletto said.

She said when she first got into comedy, she noticed the lack of diversity at comedy shows.

“When I first came into the scene, it seemed like every showcase was like that, just all the same kind of guys,” Fogletto said. “I feel like [the diversity] works better because you hear different perspectives.”

“Otherwise all the jokes would be awkward guys talking about how they’re having a hard time getting laid,” she added.

Comedy-Gasm! celebrated its two-year anniversary on April 18.  Fogletto hosted and performed her own set and featured four other comedians, a comedic storyteller and a musician.

Growing up, Fogletto had a background in dance and performing on stage, but not performing theatrically or vocally.

She studied women’s studies, psychology and political science at Temple, and it wasn’t until after graduating that she began to perform poetry and storytelling, which then turned into comedy.

She began to perform at local open mic nights and read poetry at the Erotic Literary Salon at the upstairs lounge of the restaurant Time on Sansom Street in Center City, a venue that holds monthly erotic-themed mic nights.

“I always liked things that were edgy so I thought, ‘Why not read my dirty poetry here?’” Fogletto said.

“But I always liked adding my own little dry, funny anecdotes to it and people really seemed to like it, so I decided to try stand-up comedy and have been doing it ever since,” she added.

Fogletto said she considers herself a feminist and said her comedy stems from her personal life, which she translates into jokes that can relate universally to many people, especially women.

As the comedy scene has been known to be generally male-dominated, Fogletto said she uses her raw humor and sexual exploitations to challenge the gender gap.

“I feel like if you’re a woman, and you’re feminine and you tell a joke about sex, men feel like they can say whatever they want to you personally – well guess what,  no you can’t,” Fogletto said.

Her personal view on feminism is that women should have the same opportunities as a male would have. This includes the right to feel safe doing those things, she said.

“It’s important to acknowledge that it is different for us and what we have to deal with,” Fogletto said. “For example, if I leave a show late at night, I have to worry about a safety element that a guy doesn’t have to deal with.”

Fogletto said just like topics of racism and homophobia, feminist views on sexism intersects with opinions that vary from one person to another.

“All these things are going to be different from woman to woman, but for me, it’s all about having the same opportunity and acknowledging that it’s a thing,” she said.

In addition to Comedy-Gasm!, Fogletto is performing at various local events like comedic writing sketches, MC-ing and hosting burlesque shows and making YouTube videos.

She formerly ran a feminist podcast with two other female comedians titled, “Wait, Wut?” which she hopes to get back up and running in the future.

Fogletto is performing in an upcoming two-week series presented by Touch Me Philly Productions called “Reasonable Fear,” a theatrical exploration of rape culture and street harassment.

Her comedic sketch, “Catcall Me Maybe,” was performed on April 18 and will also be performed on April 25 with two other comedians as a satirical piece about a woman who turns the tables on her catcallers.

The sketch is based off real-life experiences, as are most of Fogletto’s comedy sketches and stand-up material.

“That’s just what we like to do,” Fogletto said. “Take the stuff that makes us angry or upset and kind of make a joke out of it from our perspective.”

Alexa Zizzi can be reached at

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