Lisel Forst talks to herself a lot.
The Nelson thespian is well known as an actor, director and MC, but lately she’s been honing her stand up chops — which means you might catch her muttering under her breath while walking to work, having effusive conversations with herself in the shower, and every now and then screaming absolute gibberish.
“I spent a lot of time asking is that actually funny, or am I just crazy?” Forst told the Star, as she prepares for a trifecta of shows at the Front Room and Torchlight Brewing on Nov. 9, 10 and 18.
And she’s ready for the hecklers. In fact, the response to Lisel Forst Can’t Sit Down couldn’t possibly be worse than the jokey verbal abuse she experienced when opening up for Randy and Mr. Lahey of the Trailer Park Boys at Spiritbar a few years ago.
“Nothing could be as intense as that night. I had people come up on stage who wanted to fight me physically, it was crazy,” she said.
“They have this whole relationship with their fans, which they call the shit-hawks, where they’re pretty much like ‘**** you, Randy!’ and they swear back, so when I came out and started singing about my vagina none of them could look at me.”
But they eventually got into the spirit of things.
“It pretty much set me up for a lifetime of entertainment because I don’t think it could ever get more intense than that.”
Forst has been busy in the last few years, starring in the local adaptation of Steel Magnolias and directing the musical Rock of Ages.
Along with her husband Jeff, she’s ultra-involved in the local youth theatre scene and directed the Capitol’s pantomime Puss and Boots.
But now she’s focusing on being funny, which is harder than it sounds.
“What I’m realizing as I move forward in my career and want to expand outside Nelson, I looked at what I enjoy: I enjoy a microphone and an audience, being present on stage,” she said.
“I have a unique voice and I have something to say — which I hope means people can think and be inspired. Comedians are pretty much the prophets of today, I want people to feel good and inspired by also have fun.”
She calls herself a “baby” comedian.
“A lot of comedians get to hash their stuff out at tiny clubs, open mic nights, until they work it and they’ve got people. I don’t really have that luxury, so I’m just throwing it into the wind and figuring it out,” she said.
“I’ve MCed the burlesque shows in town, I know I’ve got a good rapport with the audience, and I just want to expand on that.”
Things could get pretty raunchy, and though she veers away from politicizing things too much, she feels she has nuggets of wisdom to put out there — she loves Andy Kaufman, and how he would mess with his audience.
“I’m from Alberta, I’m pretty raunchy, and that definitely sets the tone for the type of show I’m bringing. There are some things that are topical and relevant, such as with the #MeToo thing I’m looking at my dealing with men and harassment growing up in Banff,” she said.
“I think it shaped me in ways that I haven’t even fully understood or been acknowledging until now, doing the show.
“I’ve had good breakdowns where I’ve been like holy ***, but I also have a different view on things and I’m trying to share that.”
The two Front Room shows are on Nov. 9 and 10 at 8 p.m., while the Torchlight one will be at 8 p.m. on Nov. 18. For more information visit forstmedia.ca.