Today we have the wonderful Melanie Dahling joining us to talk about how she balances witchcraft, comedy and dating.
Witchy Woman: The incompatibilities of witchcraft and stand-up comedy.
I started hanging out at comedy open mics ten or so years ago, and I can’t stress how different the landscape was back then. The energy was overwhelmingly masculine, and not just because of all the pee-pee jokes (of which I wrote many.)
The game was survival of the fittest. Do your set, watch the people you like, then talk shit about the ones you don’t. It was go, go, go. A “grind,” as we call it.
I can’t say there’s a part of me that didn’t enjoy it. My soft, feminine insides had been ruffed up by the outside world and this was somewhere I could feel like a tough guy.
But there was one small problem. I was also a witch.
I was a witch. I openly called myself a witch, I had witch books, I had an altar and a vision board. I read tarot. And it was hard to reconcile those two sides of myself for a couple of reasons:
The self-serving, grind-until-you-make-it philosophy in stand up comedy is very conducive to atheism. There is no fate, just hard work and results.
Witches are supposed to be nice. Mundane, I know. But if you believe in universal energies and all that jazz, it behooves you to be kind.
Plus men are so freaked out by witches, and I am woefully attracted to them. And I was single and didn’t want to be. I developed this first date speech that went something like:
*breathe in* “yeah this stuff is something I believe in… I had a spooky grandma and lived in a haunted house that being said I am very open to other explanations and maybe I am crazy but doing all this witchy stuff makes me happy and I don’t expect anyone else to agree with it or understand it but that’s me.” *breathe out*
Where’d he go? OH he’s gone. Ok.
Once, a friend told me I’d frightened away a potential suitor because he said that I said I like to commune with the dead. Which is so embarrassing because I said I would like to commune with the dead. Like as a fun hobby.
I started to hide that part of myself away. I committed the ultimate sin according to my favourite witch film Practical Magic: I practiced witchcraft while looking down my nose at it. And I swam in “who am I” waters for years.
Imagine my surprise as, slowly, stand up comedy has become infused with nurturing, feminine, self-care energy and… astrology. Somehow. Most folks I run into on the scene these days know their rising sign (mine’s Aquarius.)
I’m not sure what happened but it’s allowed me to let my freak flag fly. I started a witch-curious podcast (Tarts & Craft with my dynamo pal Rachel Manson) and took up tarot again.
Now, in these uncertain times- I’ve found myself exactly where I want to be: in my sunny Toronto apartment surrounded by plants and candles, doing online tarot card readings for all the wonderful people I’ve met through comedy.
This quarantine business is scary, but I know that no matter what we enter back into at the end of all this, I will enter it as myself. With a little side hustle to match.
Melanie Dahling, a recent transplant from Winnipeg, has been taking Toronto by storm with her combination of writing skills and fabulously unfabulous stage persona. You may have seen Melanie in Winnipeg Comedy Fest, SheDot Fest and ALTdot Comedy Lounge at the Rivoli.