Vermont Comedy Divas to perform benefit for Main Street Arts

BELLOWS FALLS — A Vermont-based group of female comics will bring their special brand of comedy to the Windham Ballroom at Popolo Restaurant on Saturday, Nov. 8, in a show to benefit Main Street Arts.

Doors open at 7:45 p.m. for the 8:15 show. Popolo will provide a cash bar.

As the program announcement reads, “These Vermont Comedy Divas have raised thousands of spirits and dollars for great causes in their travels across New England through their 'Divas Do Good' program that raised $8,000 last year for organizations including the Red Hat Society, Brain Cancer Research Foundation, Vermont Works for Women, the Humane Society of Chittenden County, the DAR, and the Women's Business Owners Network.”

The nation's only all-female touring comedy troupe, Vermont Comedy Divas was founded by Josie Leavitt in 2006 as way to showcase female comics and to connect hardworking comics with hardworking human service non-profit organizations.

The group includes Tracie Spencer, Autumn Engroff Spencer, Sue Schmidt, Autumn Lagala and Hillary Boone.

Leavitt got her start in New York City playing such clubs as Caroline's and Stand-Up New. Since moving to Vermont, she has performed nationwide, and her one-woman shows, “Piece of Cake” and “Horrified But Laughing,” were sold-out successes.

Her comedic stories treat very personal, adult themes in an accessible, universal way. She has performed benefits for the Humane Society, Partners in Adventure, RU12, and WBON.

As a stand-up comedy teacher, Leavitt has taught well over 250 comics in the past nine years and has taught incarcerated women and men for the past year. She also co-owns the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne and writes the “Shelftalker” blog for Publishers Weekly.

Tracie Spencer performs throughout New England in comedy venues and benefit shows. Her style combines an easy, measured delivery with a subtly dry wit. She was selected to perform in Boston for the Women in Comedy Festival, was a four-year Higher Ground Comedy Battle finalist, a Funniest Comic in Vermont finalist, and was the only female comic selected to compete in the Funniest Comic in New England semifinals.

Autumn Engroff Spencer wanted to be a comic all her life. Four years ago she took the plunge and signed up for a comedy writing class. Since then she has performed comedy in Vermont and New York on her own and as a Diva.

Sue Schmidt, after an extensive career as a mental health counselor and government manager, decided that her experiences working with humans was too good not to share. She began her career as a comedian in the fall of 2012 and, by the end of 2013, had done 60 shows in 40 venues across the country - from Maine to Florida to Anchorage, Alaska.

She claims studies show that 20 minutes with this therapist-turned-comic is both cheaper and more effective than 20 years of actual therapy.

Carmen Lagala was the winner of the ninth annual Comedy Battle at Higher Ground in 2013. She has performed stand-up around her native state at a variety of venues and has organized and performed in comedy fundraisers to benefit The Red Cross, Hurricane Irene Relief Fund, the Humane Society, and the Sara Holbrook Community Center. She co-founded Levity, Vermont's only comedy club, where she facilitated five nights of comedy a week.

Hillary Boone started in a log cabin in the Northeast Kingdom, where she spent a childhood waiting to escape. After traveling the country and some of the world, she is back in her home state making people laugh. Her comedy has been described as quirky, likeable, queer and smart, and even “simply delightful” by a local comedy critic.

Now in its 26th year, Main Street Arts is a non-profit community arts center dedicated to serving the creative needs of the greater community by encouraging creative exploration and expression through a wide range of experiences.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates