Good Humans: Brittany Tilander, Kansas City Comedian

Name: Brittany Tilander
Pronouns: She/Her/They/Them
Job Title/Profession: Comedian/Nanny

Please welcome to the stage Brittany Tilander!

As our very first spotlight in our Good Humans series, where we feature people we think are doing great things in the sex/health industry, Brittany Tilander was an obvious choice. You may have seen Brittany pop up on our Instagram before (Magic Wand Mic, anyone?) or on your TikTok feed, providing hilarious narration to her life as a nanny by day and comedian by night in Kansas City.

Brittany takes her infectious smile and smoothly delivered jokes to the stage for the strip-comedy show, Body Language, that she hosts and produces out of Barrel Of The Bottoms [Admin Assistant Grace recently attended a Body Language show and didn’t stop laughing the whole time she was there – as if you needed another reason to see Brittany on stage.]

Before we jump into the show, Brittany gives us her origin story (featuring both Richard Simmons and The Care of Keeping You book), models her amazing lingerie sets, and shares her favorite Dolly Parton-ism.

When you were growing up, what do you remember about the conversations the people around you were having about their bodies?

I have memories of watching my Mom and Nana do Richard Simmons: Sweatin’ To The Oldies when I was like, 7 years old. My mom seemed to always be on a fad diet. I remember her always talking about her weight like it was the most defining part of herself. I hated the way she talked about her round face. I never understood how it was okay for me to have fat cheeks and two chins but it made my mother, our faces so similar, hate hers.

It was then that I decided to make a vow to not talk about my body that way. Seeing someone you love talking about themselves in a bad way makes you realize how you talk about yourself to yourself. I don’t blame my mom either. We all realize as we grow up that our parents are humans just doing the best they can. My beautiful mother did buy me a copy of The Care of Keeping You before I hit puberty so I was in good hands. 

How has that influenced you as an adult?

Like I said it’s like I took this radical turn into self-acceptance. Like, what I look like is the least interesting thing about me. How I connect with people, the impact I have on others, my kindness, humor, and integrity are the most beautiful and interesting parts of myself. 

I don’t want to push this narrative that I don’t have image issues or don’t care about what I look like. I have bad brain days. I have struggled with my own sense of style in particular and what makes me feel/look good. As a queer person, I often struggle with my style and presenting “femme” and how that equates to beauty. As a fat person, I often feel pressure to present femme, and being in a straight presenting relationship just amplifies those insecurities. Especially at the beginning of our relationship, I would constantly worry that my tomboy style wouldn’t be something he was attracted to. It is something I struggle with but lucky for me I have a partner who thinks I am the most beautiful and special human in the entire world. And even though I regularly dress like a kid from The Sandlot, I can’t help but agree:))))))

What’s your idea of a perfect self-care day?

I’d wake up nice and early and go get coffee and a box of donuts from Fluffy Fresh (iykyk). Then I’d drive around the entire metropolitan area (while eating donuts) looking for estate sales. I’d drive around until about noon then head home to climb into bed and ask my partner if he wants Kitty’s Cafe for lunch. He agrees and goes to get it for us. When he returns with our pork tenderloins, we’d curl up on the couch and watch approximately 126 episodes of Survivor with our dogs. He rubs my feet until I fall asleep at 9 pm. This is fortunately what most of my weekends look like.

What words of wisdom do you find yourself calling upon when things get tough?

“It is what it is” shrug emoji

What non-negotiables do you have in your life?

If it’s not a hell yes it’s a no. I feel like people don’t say “no” enough. I’m a people pleaser and overextend myself to the point of burnout. Sometimes we have to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we give it to anyone else. This also goes for consent too! If you feel pressured to say yes, it’s most likely a no.

What do you admire about your body?

I’m so resilient! My body kept me safe while I was an alcoholic. It got me sober. It lets me go to the zoo with the boys I nanny. It lets me perform on stage and make people laugh. I also have nice hair and a cute pair of sweater puppies. 

How do you spend your days?

I love spending time with my partner, Alex. Our little family and home brings me so much peace and joy. I love cooking anything with noodles. I love watching bad reality TV. I love soaking up the sun and spending time by the water. 

Who is playing you in the film about your life?

Gary Busey… lol idk. Maybe Margot Robbie? Only because we look so much alike 😉

What is your favorite thing about your industry? What is your least favorite thing about your industry?

I love that I can create spaces for other people to laugh and be free together. I love bringing people together. I also love the attention haha I hate all the attention.

When do you feel most empowered?

When I make someone laugh. Or when I make men mad. Double bonus when I can do both at the same time!

Who or what do you turn to when you need a little external inspiration in life?

I’m fortunate to have a very supporting and loving partner/family that I can always confide in. I can get hung up on others’ perceptions of me (damn my Libra Moon) but they always seem to know what to say or at least hold space for me when I’m struggling. If you struggle with “bad brain days” as I like to call them, I just remind myself that the people who know me best love me, and the people who don’t like me simply do not know me at all. That’s their problem, not mine.

And sometimes when I’m down in the dumps and need a reminder that I am that bitch I go online and watch the 1977 Dolly Parton interview with Barbra Walters. If you haven’t seen it please go watch it at once. Truly life-changing when Babs asks “Do you ever give your measurements?” and without hesitation, Dolly responds “No, I always say I weigh one-hundred and plenty”. The first time I heard her say that I wanted to run through a brick wall and explode into stardust. God bless Dolly Fucking Parton, y’all.

How would your favorite person describe you?

“She’s beauty and she’s grace…” jk but okay but I for real just asked my partner and he said “ She’s my freaking baby” 

What kind of impact do you hope you leave on the world?

I hope people leave one of my shows feeling happier than when you came in. I hope people learn forgiveness through my sobriety journey. We aren’t defined by our worst moments. I hope people see that funny is sexy.

Now let’s get to Body Language – tell us how this show came about!

Body Language is a strip-comedy showcase I host and produce at Barrel Of The Bottoms in the West Bottoms of Kansas City MO. It is truly a one-of-a-kind show. There is nothing like it. Every time a comedian gets a big laugh on stage their “hype song” will play and they’ll take off an article of clothing until they’re in their undies! We also feature drag and burlesque performers so it’s just a very liberating, queer, high-energy show.

The show itself was created for the first-ever Madison Comedy week back in 2018. It was a sold-out show! I took the show with me when I moved to Milwaukee WI and finally here to Kansas City. My first Body Language show in KC premiered in February of 2020 to another sold-out audience… and unfortunately in March was on hiatus due to COVID. In December of 2020, I decided to try and move the show online for my 30th Birthday. With a tremendous amount of help from my friend Colby Cusick, we were able to live stream the show from The Barrel. The show was a bit odd live-streamed (comedians telling jokes and drag/burlesque performers dancing for about 6 masked strangers) but it allowed us to perform for people all across the world, some tickets were purchased from people as far away as Japan and Germany, during a very lonely and isolating time. I realized people needed this show, these laughs just as much as I needed to make them.

Even though there were many people ignoring the CDC’s instructions to stay home there were many (often immune-compromised people) who rarely had an opportunity to experience something like this since COVID and this show was something they could participate in and support. As vaccines were administered, we shifted back into live shows as well as live-stream. My mother, who has lupus, still buys an online ticket every month so she can watch from home too. The audience is always so enthusiastic and supportive. This show is my baby. It’s just the best time!

Any funny anecdotes or unforgettable moments from Body Language shows?

Sheesh. So many fun memories! Maybe the time Emma Dalenberg graduated the week of the show so she wore (and stripped off) a cap and gown to Pomp & Circumstance. Or maybe the time I used Stephen Taylor’s merch stickers on my nipples as a makeshift set of pasties. Or maybe when Ameerah Sanders (a beloved local comedian) premiered her Burlesque act as Aries Sun. Or maybe when Slayme Amy wrote an entire set for my 31st Birthday show to lovingly roast me. Or maybe when Hank E. Panky (accidentally) shot a thong into the face of a local KC newscaster. Too many to name. This show is always bananas.

What are some misconceptions about strip comedy that you’d love to see go away?

If there were any I simply couldn’t be bothered with wasting my time or energy on them haha I chose to create this show because I wasn’t seeing these types of spaces exist in comedy and rather than wait for someone to do it for me I decided to just do it my damn self.

What can our audience do to support you and your goals?

Support live local comedy! Come to a show! Follow my socials! Interact and share my content! Bully your local congressman! Flip a cop car!

Follow Brittany on social media and check out the next Body Language show!

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