Camden Fringe 2022
Toxic Femininity is a work in progress stand-up show written and performed by Estefania Baha, a hit true-crime podcaster by day, creative director if the money’s right, and stand up by night. Expect laughs and relatable insights into what it’s like to be a girl, and not yet a woman.
Hi Estefania, thanks for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping?
Hi! Really good - really enjoying my summer and have been enjoying working on comedy all summer.
Are you looking forward to bringing Toxic Femininity to Camden Fringe & Etcetera Theatre this August?
Absolutely! I am so excited to perform at Etcetera Theatre. This is my first Camden Fringe show, and I have been rehearsing as much as possible to help tweak it and bring certain elements to life.
With this being a work in progress stand up show does this add any extra pressure on you?
It being a work in progress is great because I really get to see what sort of life the material takes on its own, I can do all the work but at the end of the day, it's about the audience and their reactions to it - that is the magic of it. I still feel loads of pressure because it can take on any direction!
What are you hoping to take away from this Fringe run?
Feeling comfortable in long-form material and having fun and trying things I wouldn't normally try in a traditional comedy club or pub room.
How important are Fringe festivals like Camden for providing a platform for new comedy?
Fringe Festivals are an excellent way to provide a platform for those who have a vision and talent but may not be able to work to the traditional club-promoter-comedy night setup. Being a new comic can be intimidating - there is a lot of learning on the go, and a lot of it takes time, effort and lots of talking and getting to know people. Sometimes that can hinder growth - so a Fringe festival is a great opportunity for people to really go for it and have creative control.
Can you tell me a little bit about Toxic Femininity, how did you come up with this title?
Toxic Femininity is all about the ridiculous things I feel like I have to do vs. what I actually do as a woman. Growing up Latina, there are a lot of expectations in terms of what a woman is like in work, dating, family. I poke fun at all of the customs that I grew up learning and point at the toxicity and ridiculousness of these expectations. Whether it's just smiling and nodding back if someone calls you "spicy" at work, or the ups and downs of being the child of an immigrant, I wanted to put a fun spin on "toxic masculinity" and play with it.
"London is a hard city to be a new person in - it's cold, people like the indoors most of the time, and Brits are smart - they hold their cards close to their chest."
Comedians are coming under a lot of pressure for their material, with one group or other taking offence to their jokes, when writing new material are you ever conscience about this and self-sensor?
I really hope I don't offend anyone - I really go inward and talk about my experience in the hopes people can laugh at or with me, and relate to it. I have no want or need to create edgelord material disguised as me trying to get people to "think about the other side" or something. I think honesty about your own experience is far more edgy or thought-provoking than observing the experience of someone else.
How much does your life and experience being an American in London, influence your comedy?
Loads! I always address my accent and where I am from-that is a huge one. Identity is a massive talking point in my life because every day that I speak to someone new, which is often because of comedy, my birthplace, the United States, and London are brought up and I am always asked to compare the lifestyles and which ones I feel closest to. London is a hard city to be a new person in - it's cold, people like the indoors most of the time, and Brits are smart - they hold their cards close to their chest. I poke fun at myself for being an outsider.
Have you always had a passion for comedy?
I have loved comedy since I was a kid, I grew up watching Def Jam comedy and I loved watching Steve Martin movies and SNL in the nineties. I can't imagine my life without comedy.
What was your first time out on stage like?
It was amazing - I have a really positive experience and was SO nervous but I loved it and did it again in quick succession.
How much has your approach to your comedy evolved since you started?
I used to try to be so incredibly professional remembering every word - now that I have more stage confidence and confidence with crowds, I have eased into taking the temperature of the room far more.
Do you have any advice or tips you would offer any one wanting to get into comedy?
Write and perform as much as you can!
And finally, what would you like your audiences to take away from Toxic Femininity?
That standup comedy doesn't have to look or feel like traditional standup comedy - there can be music or dance or storytelling involved and you can still get some really great (my words!) punchlines.