"As a queer woman going to comedy shows in NYC can be risky. You never know if you’re going to hear misogynistic comments, rape jokes or homophobic slurs coming from the stage. “Keeping My Kidneys” was different; Raf used her intersecting identities as a Jewish, bi/pansexual, polyamorous woman to bring the audience together in similar lived experiences like awkward texting, office romances, and nerve-wracking anxiety. Raf had the audience in fits of laughter as she smoothly moved through her relatable and witty narrative of trying to figure it all out."
A night that is as hilarious and enjoyable as it is thought-provoking. As we sit there laughing our asses off, we let our guards down and, imperceptibly, let her message in. The show, in turn, becomes appealing for a wide range of audiences. Proof of that being that there were people of all ages and walks of life around me, including my 22-year-old brother, who was laughing just as much as I was and found her extremely entertaining and charismatic, satirizing radical ideals so that they weren't alienating. As a result, we walked out holding on to our ribs from laughing so hard and juggling thoughts about the objectification of women and the enslavement of vanity. No small feat.
Coverage of LeibyaFair Live
In telling her story, she hit on several experiences undoubtedly familiar- But what set her struggles apart from everyone else’s in the moment was the pitch perfect delivery. Everything about it–from her cadence to her facial expressions–made it seem as though she was living that experience for the first time, and our combined incredulousness made her stories even funnier. Many of us queer individuals have experienced awkward parental interactions because of who we are, but I’d wager that few to none were taunted with high pitch shrieks in their ears because “lesbians can hear higher frequencies.” Still, Raf’s utterly bemused expression when she recounts it brings everyone watching into her world, be they queer or not. Laughing at other people’s embarrassing stories is basically a national pastime. Without that shared bond, stand-up comedy wouldn’t exist. But Mindy, like many great comedians before her, doesn’t make herself the butt of the joke or degrade herself just for a cheap laugh... the perils of modern living with a certain universality audiences might not expect from a queer Jewish woman with an Eastern European fiancée and a children’s book under her belt. But Raf’s wit and sincerity immerses listeners in her mindset with impressive speed. Perhaps her biggest break from convention came toward the end when she eschewed a closing joke in favor of a very honest and inspiring reflection on her life, the woman she loves, and not being afraid to be grateful.
via coverage of No Thank You
When Mindy Raf was ten years old, her mom told her that Baby in Dirty Dancing had to get her kidneys removed because she dated someone who didn’t love her. Years later, Mindy realized that this was her mother’s own very special way of avoiding the topic of abortion. This is the Mindy’s ridiculous—but true— world.
Everyone has a million questions and opinions on modern romance, and Mindy Raf has a refreshing set of answers in her new solo show Keeping my Kidneys. Mindy takes on mansplaining, masturbation, polyamory, and weed-lube while remaining hilariously quirky and innocent in her wide-legged overalls and polka dot top. As a standup fan who has seen comics like Aziz Ansari, Hannibal Buress, and John Mulaney perform live sets, I was impressed by the high comedic bar Mindy Raf set for the night. She is refreshingly polished while still being the kick-ass, real woman that you’ve been waiting for. Bravo.
Like her book, her solo show revolves around how her life changed when confronted with the possibility of losing her mother. Raf opens the show by explaining how a jolly folk-singing session by her mother's side in the hospital accidentally led her to promise to get married. Mindy flashes between memories with her mother and current confusion with her fiancée, Antonia. Raf has always struggled with giving over to the “what ifs?” in life, as becomes central to the show. As any audience member can relate to, Raf hits the nail on the head with her personal stories about caring too much and talking too loudly just because of social pressures. Even sexuality comes into play, as Raf opens up about her exploration into bisexuality and polyamory. However, Raf doesn’t approach this in the same way that your peer leaders would run a GSA meeting back in high school. We veer away from the typical, overly PC model of approaching sexuality, and get a refreshing look at what discovering sexuality is really like. As a bonus, there’s no need to sing a musical number about it here.
Long story short, anyone on the spectrum will want to get a drink with Mindy Raf and give her a high-five after seeing her hour-long show.Finally someone is bringing humor and—most importantly —normality to parts of the human psychology and emotional life that are far too often romanticized, or even fetishized.
Mindy Raf has been a respected and beloved member of the comedy community for over a decade. In this one-woman show however, Raf achieves a whole new level of comedy greatness.
Raf’s script weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Raf delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously.
Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Raf is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it.
With this show, Raf has developed into a star talent who demands attention.
I highly recommend this wonderful production, which after its April 2017 PIT run will play July 19th, 22nd, and 23rd at the prestigious 59E54 Theater; and then in August play for 28 performances at the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
By the way, don’t get put off by the oddball title. This show has nothing to do with illness; and the only body organs it focuses on are the vagina and the human heart.