Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lashonda Lester - Pimpin', Wrestling, and Vacuum Sales

The first time I saw Lashonda Lester was during a performance of her one woman show, Shondee Superstar.
It was still in the works, and not completely hammered out as far as production, but the stories this lady was telling...there was no way they could be real. Granted, I was from suburban Arizona where Mormons ruled the land with clean, blond hair cuts and Family Home Evenings every Friday, so maybe my experiences in the 1990's were slightly more sheltered than hers. But, I thought, there's no way I'm sitting in front of a boisterous black woman who is seriously openly talking about being a pimp in Detroit? Pimps were scary dudes with gold-capped teeth and purple velvet hats; they were not performance-minded ladies who wear jean shorts and shiny earrings. Of course, when I learned that her tales were true, I was terrified of her.

Lashonda was an established local stand up comic when I started doing comedy, and not only was I afraid that she'd pimp-slap me if I got out of line, she was intimidatingly hilarious on stage. It took me a while to work up the nerve to even feel cool enough to talk to her, but when I did I realized that Lashonda was just like the rest of us - kind, ambitious, hard working, and extremely creative.

Obviously, there is a lot more to Lashonda than the simple truth that she did, in fact, spend some time as a Madame for an escort service. For example, she produces a touring biography show called Weird! True Hollywood Tales, which combines performance, history, and entertainment in a monthly themed production surrounding the tragic demises of our favorite old school celebrities. However, I can now confidently say as one of her friends, she will still pimp slap a hoe if a hoe is asking for it. These days those 'hoes' are just mouthy comics who don't know who they're talking to. It's a lot of fun to watch.

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