So, tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into comedy?
Victoria: I was at a moment of my life where everything seemed to be going in the wrong direction and I noticed I felt relief when I told people about my misfortunes in a funny way. Then friends and strangers encouraged me to give stand up a try. The first time it happened was just after I spoke at a marketing conference for my day job. I tried to keep my presentation entertaining (the bar wasn’t very hard) and one of the organisers told me I should do stand-up comedy. Then I was a victim of an axe robbery (really odd misfortune here, what are the chances?) and the police officer told me my police report was very funny and asked me if I did stand up comedy.
Jessie: I inherited a love of stand-up comedy as a kid from my Dad; partly because laughing is obviously fun but also I’m a bit of a nerd about it and there is just something so inherently satisfying about experiencing a smart, perfectly timed, expertly set up joke land and catch you by surprise. I quickly realised though that the vast majority of the comedy I was consuming was defined by a really specific lens (I bet you can guess what it is) so I became really interested in seeking out new, fresh voices in the space. I also really connected with comedy as a way of showcasing Queer joy which I think is SO important to shine a light on. So many queer narratives are centred around trauma and whilst those stories are obviously very important to tell, being queer can also be joyful! And we want to thrust a spotlight on that too.
For any of our readers that would like to get into your profession, what advice would you give to them?
Victoria: I was quite scared of getting on stage, I knew I was funny spontaneously but I didn’t know anything about comedy writing or performing. I searched online for a course and found Logan Murray’s beginners course at the Museum of Comedy and it was life changing. It set me up what I needed to start and it also connected me with other people who were on the same page and we all started gigging together.
Jessie: I am definitely not a comedian so I have no wise words there, but in terms of getting into events… try to produce shows that you want to see and that bring you joy. And take the leap. It’s amazing how many obstacles you can place in your own path when something feels new or scary but you don’t need to start out with all the answers. Just take the first step and start reaching out to venues and performers and you can figure your way out as you go.
What are your coming out stories? Sorry, but everyone loves a coming out story..
Victoria: I was having an argument with my mum at the age of 16 and I thought it was a great idea to casually mention I was a lesbian. Context: Cordoba (The Birmingan of Argentina), year 2003. If you ever have a time machine don’t ever attempt to do the same thing, too wild, too ahead of the times that people from Cordoba were living.
Jessie: I didn’t “look gay” by 90’s era teenager standards (because I had long hair and wore skirts and apparently that was all it took) so I got told that I was kissing girls to “get attention from boys”. That helpful input from friends and family led me to doing the classic “section 28 baby” thing of convincing myself they were right and throwing myself headfirst into straight culture. Until one day I found myself in my mid-twenties, doing all the “right” things, about to get engaged to a straight cis man, and realising I’d fallen head over heels in love for the first time… with a girl from work.
It never worked out with her but I did realise I had to leave the relationship I was in, and I moved to London, found my queer family and never look back.
If you could use a magic telephone to call yourself at 15 years old what would you say?
Victoria: Life will take a lot of turns but you’ll end up living in London, the city of your heroes: Spice Girls. You also end up hooking up with that girl from high school. However, in 2014 you missed the opportunity to buy Bitcoin early.
Jessie: Live your life the way you want to and stop wasting time worrying about what anyone else thinks; people with opinions will come and go and are always in plentiful supply, time is not.
As long as you are safe, make your own choices and set your own path because the world is a big, wide, nuanced, place and despite what society will try to make you believe, there are infinite ways to journey through it and find happiness and fulfillment; yours does not need to look like anyone else’s.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Victoria: “The first step doesn’t take you where you want, takes you away from where you are.”
Jessie: Stop limiting yourself by who you were yesterday. We get stuck in this idea that we have to present to the world in a really fixed and consistent way and we just… don’t? I once read a quote (probably on Tumblr cos Millenial) “There is no statute of limitations on starting over. Re-invent yourself….Be a phoenix. Be ashes. Burn down. Resurrect. Let go of the idea that you must always be who you have always been.”
It’s always stuck with me – learning to just let myself be a whole, fluid, ever-changing human who can have contradictory feelings and hold conflicting perspectives at once was a game-changer.
What do you think of the lesbian scene in London, where do you go out?
Victoria: Lxz Events, Gal Pals and Clandestina 😉 I feel that there are not enough options for queer women. Our idea with Clandestina is not only to have a great comedy show but also a place where queer women can hang out and connect. I have met so many new people at the gig.
Jessie: LxZ events is easily my favourite queer club night – they get such great venues and you are guaranteed a great time. Plus it has such a welcoming, friendly vibe that puts it in a league of its own in that space.
In terms of shows I am a big fan of Pussy Liquor; they are always doing bigger, better and more creative things. And to echo Victoria, I have to shamelessly plug Clandestina here too as it’s just so refreshing to have a relaxed space where you can connect, eat great food and watch some comedy, all in a gorgeous venue.
Who’s your celebrity crush and why?
Victoria: I have an extensive bit of my set about the crush: Priti Patel. She is the kind of straight woman who would sleep with me and then deport me. You’ll have to come to the show to hear the rest.
Jessie: Is it a total cliche if I say Kristen Stewart circa Charlie’s Angels era? Oh and Kehlani LxZ events had her performing at an event of theirs last year and I fell in love right then and there.
Talk us through Clandestina Queer Comedy, how did that come about and where did the name come from?
Victoria: Clandestina means “illegal” in Spanish (I’m a native Spanish speaker from Argentina). It’s also a word in English: clandestine, but nobody seems to be aware of it. I blame the British education system for that.
Clandestina is a queer women, trans and non binary led comedy show ran in a beautiful (and v. glam!) West London Members’ Club. It’s run by the Jessie Pelizzari (founder of Queer Culture Club) & Victoria Olsina (comedian). Our aim is to elevate the voices of marginalised groups within comedy and properly support queer creatives. We have been running since July 2021, going from strength to strength, consistently pulling in sell out audiences (60-80 people) and securing top quality acts each month (Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch, Charlie Georde, Shelf
Jen Ives, Chloe Petts, etc).
Jessie: Yeh I was running Queer Culture Club which is a collective which hosts various events and Victoria joined our WhatsApp chat in the early days and made the mistake of introducing herself by mentioning she was a comedian. I had been thinking about running a comedy show through QCC but didn’t know where to start so within literally 3 mins of her joining the group I had private messaged her and roped her into creating a show with me. That went from strength to strength (even via Zoom during various stages of lockdown) and eventually we branched out to create a new sister brand for the shows. The aim has always been to celebrate queer joy and to create spaces for diverse voices in an industry which is so dominated by one demographic.
How did you guys meet?
Victoria: On a Whatsapp group from Queer Culture Club.
Jessie: Yeh Victoria joined the group, and unwittingly let on that she possessed precisely the skillset and experience I was looking for so I was straight in her DMs! Lucky her – she has been the much needed common sense to my chaos in this endeavor ever since.
When can people see your next gig?
Jessie: Yes, our next show is April 14th with Lolo Brow hosting (I’m so excited) and iconic duo Shelf headlining! Best place for info and updates is on IG at @clandestina_queer.
Thanks for the interview @clandestina_queer go check them out.
If you liked this interview go check out the rest of our interviews by inspiring queers.
Love Team Nonchalant