“As a comic I feel like I’m on the fringes of the comedy scene in my politics and my personality and my queerness in relation to straight men, and Salonathon was the place where I could be that and not even feel like the weirdest person in the room,” says stand-up Bill Bullock.
So Bullock and fellow Salonathon alum Sonal Aggarwal have begun hosting Something Else, a monthly comedic variety show that is part of a new slate of Beauty Bar programming initiated by bartender Justin Hongosh with the mantra “keep Mondays weird.” The name is intended to be tongue in cheek and slightly subvert expectations. “It’s not Salonathon,” Aggarwal says, “it’s something else.”
The inaugural lineup on March 26 includes musicians Evan & Mary Jane and Natalie G. Alford, comedians Eunji Kim, Ashley Tribble, Cameron Gillette, and a final performance by Kristen Lundberg before she moves to L.A. Future shows will feature performers who aren’t regularly seen in clubs and theaters, and everyone is encouraged to push boundaries and explore all their talents, whether that be a comic performing music or a dancer performing comedy or someone doing a combination of all three.
“We want to create a space where we can get really weird and have an audience that’s there for the weird, that wants to laugh, and doesn’t want dick jokes unless they’re really weird dick jokes,” Aggarwal says. “The purpose of the show is to be really big and our most expressive selves, be it in your bliss, in your rage, in your hilarity, and then find a way to alchemize that into something that serves you.”
As at Salonathon, the night will end with a dance party. Aggarwal says it’s moments like this that bring performers and the audience together as one community in a way that can’t happen in a traditional comedy venue. As much as Something Else will be its own performance series separate from the show it’s honoring, the hosts are focused on carrying on the core values that were built in the space over the last seven years.
“Our performers are going to be just as diverse as the crowd at Salonathon: we’ll have queer people, trans people, people of color,” Bullock says. “Being able to give something that at least partially cultivates that same energy and creates that safe space, even if it’s not necessarily the same, that’s what I hope to get out of it, and give as well.”
Something Else Mon 3/26, 8:30 PM, Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-8828, thebeautybar.com, free.