HOUSTON, Texas—Stormy Daniels is not a comedian. She is quick to point this out as soon as she takes the stage at the Joke Joint Comedy Showcase in southeast Houston.
When her two-show, one night-only appearance was announced (though billed as a “special event” on her “comedy tour”), comedians were quick to denounce the audacity of the adult film star remaking herself as a comedian.
“Doing standup is not a reward for being famous. Please leave the weekend gigs for actual female comics,” Laurie Kilmartin, a comedian and writer for Conan, wrote on Twitter. (“I’ve been writing comedy material for over 10 yrs. Would you like me to critique your bj skills? Your whole foot fits in your mouth so you’ll prob do great,” Daniels fired back.)
But despite media exhortations that comedy could be Daniels’ “next big career move,” she seemed to have no airs about what she was doing Wednesday night. Her appearance at what is normally the designated open-mic night at the comedy club was little more than a book tour appearance dressed up as a comedy showcase.
“I had no idea that comedians were such little bitches,” Daniels said of the furor her appearance caused, before she asked the audience to “be gentle, it’s my first time…I didn’t think I’d ever get to use those words again.”
Daniels, who admitted to preparing very little and planning to mainly take questions from the audience, told stories from various points throughout her life and career—her early days stripping in small-town Louisiana in a trailer she characterized as “a step below a titty bar”; her encounter with a man who accosted her when she was getting ready to perform on a slightly bigger stage later in her career; and her foray as a director of adult films and the trials and unique tribulations that she had to deal with on set.
She had a few good one-liners, like her opening, “First of all, thank you for coming—which has a completely different meaning than my other job.” And in the middle of one tell-all story about a newbie in the adult film world who mistook the instructions for how to prepare herself for her scene, Daniels made no apologies for revealing all, saying that “an NDA can’t even keep me that quiet.”
But other than a few off-hand references to the “Orange Goblin,” as she first referred to the current U.S. president-cum-her personal nemesis, there was one character distinctly missing from at least the first part of her set: Donald Trump.
Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed Daniels’ latest lawsuit against Trump in which she attempted to have invalidated the NDA that has legally (if not effectively) hampered her from speaking out about her alleged 2006 affair with the president. It’s unclear whether this latest legal wrangling has kept her muffled about her history with the president or whether she is trying to move past the “worst 90 seconds of my fucking life” that have come to define her life as a whole in the wake of the 2016 election.
Whatever the reason, Daniels’ appearance on Wednesday night was more of a rambling romp through her career than a dishy political tell-all, though that fact didn’t seem to hamper the spirits of the enthusiastic crowd. The full house skewed on the older side of the age spectrum and, while there appeared to be some of-age families in attendance, the audience also seemed to skew to the strip-club-goer variety if the questions were any indication.
Her bra size, favorite sex position, and the origin of her boobs were among the hard-hitting queries asked via question cards (and sifted through by Daniels before she took the stage).
A few questions addressed her intimate knowledge of Trump—and elicited some of her best zingers of the night. When asked whether the presidential carpet matched the presidential drapes, she responded, “I don’t know, I’ve never been to the White House,” and she laughed off the answer to the most money she’s ever made from a single sex act with, “Really, I think we all know the answer to that!”
The biggest comedian of the night was perhaps the anonymous audience member who asked “Did Trump scream your name or his during sex?” (“He really just kind of squeaked or grunted like you would have imagined. It was really unintelligible,” Daniels responded.)
But, overall, Daniels used the stage as another showcase to promote her book and her life experience as a whole rather than the limited years that have become inscribed in the Great American Story as it is being told in 2019.
Stormy Daniels is who she is and she makes no apologies for it, and don’t even think about trying to define her otherwise. (Castigating the press she knew were hidden in the audience, Daniels made one final entreaty to “please just remember my name is fucking Stormy Daniels.” The only people who use her legal name, she says, are her mother and the IRS, and she hates them both.)
Daniels is undoubtedly funny—it’s a hazard of the life she’s lived. But as far as her future as a comedian goes, she says she hopes her stand-up career doesn’t take off. “I really like lying down more than this,” she says.