Seven Minutes In Heaven With Comedian Mindy Raf

“We have to stop trying to jam identity into a representative box.”

Welcome to Seven Minutes in Heaven, GO Magazine’s interview series that profiles a different queer babe each day, by asking them seven unique (and sometimes random) questions. Get to know the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the groundbreaking, fierce forces-of-nature in the queer community.

Mindy Raf is a comedian, actress, writer and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Mindy has done some seriously cool shit: Contributed to MTV’s Girl Code, College Humor,TNT, VH1, The Daily Comedy Network, and the My Parents Were Awesome anthology.

Her comedy and writing have received accolades from BUST Magazine (“we walked out holding on to our ribs from laughing so hard”), Publishers Weekly (“refreshing”), and BCCB (“pitch-perfect”), among others. Mindy’s debut young adult novel The Symptoms of My Insanity (DIAL/Penguin) is out now. Her critically acclaimed solo comedy show NOT THE ONE: A love story was named an “LBGT Best Bet by Time OutNew York. You can see NOT THE ONE this Thursday and Friday!

With all the absolutely incredible things Mindy is doing, and the visibility she’s giving to queer femme narratives, we couldn’t wait to spend 7 Minutes In Heaven with her.

GO Magazine: Who are you and what do you do?

Mindy Raf: I’m Mindy Raf. I’m a comedian, writer, actress, producer, storyteller, and musician.

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GO: What can you tell us about your upcoming show Not The One?

MR: NOT THE ONE: a love story is a solo show that blends stand-up, storytelling, and theater. It’s a live queer romantic comedy that weaves the narrative of what my mother taught me about love and sex with my current relationship structure. The show is a 60 minute joyous, but complicated dive into non-monogamy, sexuality, identity, and death. I can’t forget death. Woo! It debuted Off Broadway at 59e59 Theatre in July, and returned this past September to NYC after a 26 night run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

GO: What is the most exciting part of performing?

MR: I love performing live comedy because if you’ve done the work and you can let go, you get to connect and create this new, never to be repeated, magical, third space with the audience. NOT THE ONE is a scripted narrative but there’s a lot of stand-up in there as well. When I let the audience in during the comedy and we create those new moments together, that’s when I have the most fun on stage.

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GO: Who are your queer lady role models?

MR: I look up to queers who are promoting, producing, and supporting safe and creative spaces for themselves and others to do their thing. I look up to queers who spotlight and own their style, whether it’s with glittery cheeks or sneakered feet. I look up to queers who are brave enough to let others into their lives through stories, art, or activism. The more support you give out, the more badass people you come across. I’m grateful my queer role model list is always growing.

GO: Where do you go for inspiration when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?

MR: When my gauge is reading empty, I know I need to reroute negative messages and also be kind to myself and trust that I’ll soon kick back into gear. First I go inward. I try to get still and focus on being grateful. Than I attempt to get out of my head through other people’s art: listening live music, getting lost in a good podcast, screaming my head off at a burlesque show. Supporting other people’s work always fuels me and inspires me to get back into my own.

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GO: Why are queer femme narratives important to you?

MR: We have to stop trying to jam identity into a representative box. We need to accept and celebrate the fluidity in gender and expression. The more narratives that exist, the more visible nuances become, and the more chances we get to see ourselves and be seen.

Femme isn’t one narrative. You can be a fierce femme, a soft femme, a high femme, a witchy femme, or none of the above or all of the above. I was at party talking to someone about lipstick shades and she said, “ugh look at us, we’re so vapid.” And I’m like, “HELL NO WE’RE NOT!” That’s the struggle I see sometimes, that gaze making us feel that femme expression is one thing or that it’s not strong or worthy. We need more narratives out there smashing that conditioning.

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GO: How can people find you?

MR: Web, Instagram is where I’m most active @mmmindela, But I’ll retweet you on twitter @mindyraf. And if you want videos and to hear my partner and I sing Croatian pop songs: @mindyrafcomedy. 

7pm-9pm, $15, 312 West 36th Street, New York. With an open mind, heart, and vagina, NYC based Comedian Mindy Raf takes complex conversations about coming out, modern love, loss, and sexuality and mixes them with some mansplaining and weed lube stories to deliver a highly compelling, satisfyingly provocative narrative. Mindy uses her razor-sharp wit and honed storytelling skills to challenge the romantic comedy and the roles we play in it; leaving the audience asking themselves, “could I ever do that?”

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