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Bethany Van Delft finds success on her own terms

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
Bethany Van Delft finds success on her own terms
Bethany Van Delft

Bethany Van Delft

A founding member and producer of New England’s first and only women of color comedy showcase, Colorstruck: Women of Color in Comedy, Bethany Van Delft is redefining success on her own terms.

Performing stand-up for the past ten years, Van Delft recently came back to stand-up after taking some time off to have and raise her daughter.

“It’s a whole different perspective now that I’m looking for balance and comfort,” said Van Delft in a recent phone interview with the Banner.

When Van Delft first began her career as a stand-up comic, she was single-minded and focused on her goal of landing on television, getting late-night spots on talk shows or getting a writing gig. She had the flexibility to do so and would be able to jump on a bus to New York City to do a five-minute spot, if she needed to.

Her goals have somewhat shifted after having her daughter. Van Delft now defines success as a family life, raising her daughter, having a career in stand-up, and a creative life.

“Success looks like whatever allows me that,” she said, adding, “Now, maybe I can write books, or have a column in a magazine. I can really think about what I want and come up with other options.”

Along the way, there have been individuals and performers who have inspired her, who have always spoken their mind, like fellow comedians Lily Tomlin, Maria Bamford and Sandra Bernhard.

“I’ve never modeled myself after her [Bernhard],” Van Delft said. “She’s always done whatever she’s wanted. She does stand-up. She does variety shows. She does cabaret. I’ve loved, loved, and loved that about her. Even before I was in comedy, she was someone that I would check out whenever she was around. But for some reason, I never connected that ‘oh, I could do that.’ Now, I admire them so much more. They’ve had relationships and children and they’ve kept their creative outlets and defined their own success.”

Van Delft, who has been featured in several festivals over the years including the Boston Comedy Festival and the New York Underground Comedy Festival, and was a finalist in 2010 for the inaugural Comedy Leagues at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, is back performing at comedy clubs and at corporate/private events. This weekend she opens for comedian Jake Johannsen at Laugh Boston in the Seaport District.

She’s also preparing to kick off her monthly comedy series, Artisanal Comedy, beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at the Savin Bar and Kitchen in Dorchester.

“I missed being part of a comedy community and getting to see new people coming up, producing the show, and seeing diverse people,” said Van Delft, who now lives in Dorchester. The series, she said, is an effort to be part of the community.

“To change my vision of success really broadens opportunities for me,” she said.

Bethany Van Delft opens for headliner Jake Johannsen at Laugh Boston this Thursday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Tickets: $20 and $30 on Dec. 18; $25 and $35 on Dec. 19 and 20. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.laughboston.com.

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