Why on Earth would anyone invite a group of vicious local comedians to roast her in public?
Charity, of course. More specifically, cancer. Even more specifically, ovarian cancer.
This is exactly what will happen in The Roast of Holly Byrd, on Saturday, March 16 from 8 to 11pm at Dialogue Brewing (1501 First Street NW).
“It just seemed like the most comedian thing I could do,” said Byrd, an energetic, healthy 31-year-old comedian well known on the local comedy scene.
Two years ago, Byrd was not so healthy. In fact, she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After an on-and-off, long battle, she emerged victorious. Now, Byrd wants to help others do the same.
“Holly wanted to be the voice of Ovarian Cancer, but I didn’t think people wanted to hear the sounds of a wailing banshee,” says Albuquerque comedian Royal A. Woods, the host (roastmaster) of Byrd's roast, in an interview with Weekly Alibi.
There is no cover, but donations are strongly encouraged. For a donation of your choosing, you can even grab the mic and take part in roasting Byrd, if you'd like.
The comedy roast is a long-standing tradition in the world of stand-up comedy. Though human beings have, most likely, been roasting each other since the days of loincloths and hunting Sabertooth Tigers, the first documented occurrences were those of The Friars Club in the early 1920s. (The Friars Club, founded in 1904, is an exclusive New York City-based club, comprised of comedians and celebrities.) The club’s motto for roasts is "we only roast the ones we love."
The tradition quickly spread and people such as Dean Martin quickly followed suit by roasting close friends and colleagues in his self-titled show. Roasting others became so popular that even politicians at the White House Correspondents' Dinner took part in comedically insulting one another.
Participating comedians for "The Roast Of Holly Byrd" include: Royal A. Wood, Anthony J. Martinez, Greg Ziomek, Kevin Baca and Devin Rivera. There will also be a special burlesque performance by Mayo Lua De Frenchie. After these comedians hurl their insults at Byrd, she'll get the opportunity for a rebuttal, and she intends on being as ferocious as possible.
So how did this former dancer and real estate agent get her start in stand-up comedy? Byrd had always dreamt of doing stand-up; however, she was always “terrified” of speaking in public. Four years ago, Byrd reached out, in frustration, to one of her closest friends, Curt Fletcher. She had grown wary of her dysfunctional marriage and mundane life as a housewife and real estate agent. After Fletcher convinced her to participate in an open mic for stand-up, “the rest was history,” says Byrd. It was at that point Byrd “lost her mind and began to do stand-up as a career.”
With four open mics a week and multiple headlining shows every month, Byrd is currently one of the premiere comedians in Albuquerque. Byrd is also featured in a weekly podcast, available on Spotify, Google and Apple, called “10 Drink Minimum” with Chris Burnett, Billy Bellmont and James Smiley. The podcast is proceeded by another portion of the show titled “The Wavey Hour,” which has inspired Tractor Brewing Company to create a similarly titled beer in honor of the show.
Byrd has now set her sites on touring the country and spreading the laughs as far and wide as she can but, she'll never forget where she got her start.
“Albuquerque has some of the toughest crowds … which is great because we [comedians] get an education,” says Byrd. She’s even earned the title “The Heckler Slayer” from fellow comedians due to her innate ability to demolish any heckler that comes her way. So, it’s safe to say Byrd is well on her way to making quite the name for herself as a stand-up comedian and philanthropist.
If you won't be able to attend this wonderful event, you can still donate to the fight against ovarian cancer on Byrd's website: hollybyrd.com.