Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Review: Bella Green is Charging For It

11 April 2019

How funny can a show about sex work be? Well, if you’re Bella Green, incredibly.

With infectious energy and undeniable charisma, Bella charmed audiences last night with her comedy show, Bella Green Is Charging For It. Showcasing her routine at Melbourne’s iconic Butterfly Club, Green was more than warmly received by a particularly enthusiastic audience. Based upon her own experiences as a stripper, sex worker and dominatrix, Green’s show travailed the bizarre, often hilarious encounters of her professional life. Let’s be clear, here: no details are spared for the sake of propriety. Green shares the nastiest, eye-popping details of her experiences, and coupled with many rather clever, pointed observations about sex work more generally, it’s unsurprising that several audience members were left literally gasping for air by the end of the night.

Employing a combination of stand-up, video segments and short dramatic skits, Green’s show opens with a powerpoint presentation of her school photos. As she passes through the years, she explains how her proclivity for all things ‘dirty’ or ‘messed’ manifested itself rather early on. Indeed, she uses this power point to arrive at the question: are some girls just born to be sex workers? Immediately, Green establishes an irreverent, bawdy tone that is sustained throughout the night. And make no mistake- it only escalates from here.

One particularly memorable segment explored the choice of music in strip clubs – or more specifically, how difficult it is to provide a decent lap dance when the soundtrack is so terribly mismatched. Attempting to grind sensually on a customer, Green is hilariously thwarted by comically inappropriate tracks such as ‘Roxanne’, or ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’. Similarly, another stand-out skit involved Green’s recount of some of the more… interesting requests she’s received throughout her career. Comprising the most memorable anecdote of the night, Green detailed the disastrous consequences of a customer with a very specific request. This particular request is by no means for the faint of heart- in fact, it’s typically advised that a specific diet is followed for a month in advance to ensure the act is performed correctly. Despite this, however, the customer gives Green next to no preparation time, yet still desires to go through with the act. What happens next is more than a little disgusting, but nonetheless, a conclusion that easily produced the loudest laughs of the night.

Whilst the overall tone of Green’s show is light-hearted and expectedly raunchy, she does speckle several snippets of social commentary throughout her routine. Furthermore, it’s during these moments that Green’s impressive performance skills are demonstrated even more clearly. By neatly intertwining her sentiments towards sex work with an anecdote about a visit to her gynaecologist, Green subtly makes the point that her profession needn’t be ‘empowering’ in order to be legitimate. As she explains, who’s the person asking a gynaecologist whether they feel ‘empowered’ whilst having their hand shoved up another woman’s genitals? Where’s the outpour of people bestowing pity upon doctors for having to perform such degrading, bodily work? Never once is Green heavy-handed in her execution of these moments. Even when the show is at its most sincere, such as when Green briefly mentions the uplifting impact her services have had on several clients, the show never lulls or devolves into triteness. The entire time, Green perfectly treads the line between providing lashings of humour, whilst not neglecting to address the more controversial aspects of her profession.

If last night’s audience is anything to go by, Bella Green Is Charging For It is nothing short of an incredibly entertaining, riotous show. Bella Green is unquestionably confident and immensely likeable, providing a delightfully varied routine that’ll leave you in fits of laughter, and with more than enough anecdotes to repeat afterwards.

Bella Green is Charging for It is showing at the Butterfly Club until the 11th of April.

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