Melbourne comedian Chase Paradise will give you a whole new appreciation for strippers. As hot as she is hilarious, Chase got her start practicing telling jokes to the other strippers backstage. Now, she's amassed an Instagram following of over 11k and is gearing up to tour her debut solo show - Ho Life or No Life. We caught up with the @strippercomic herself to find out what it took to get her show out of the club and into the theatres.
Hey Chase! Congrats on your first solo show!
Cheers! I’m freaking out, just quietly…
What made you decide to create a one-woman show?
Doing a solo show has always been the dream. I’m originally from the Gold Coast and used to watch the Melbourne Comedy Gala on telly when I was a kid, like, "I want that!". I moved to Melbourne after uni and started doing stand-up at open mics. I used to practice my material on the strippers backstage and eventually got a name for myself as a stripper-comic. From that, I was asked to MC “Baby Got Back”, an all-female-revue, which sold out at fringe festivals year after year. That show helped me build up my confidence before taking the plunge to do it alone. I decided to do it this year because I'm turning 30 and I split up with my husband. Can't get much funnier than that...
How long have you been a stripper? How did you get into it? Where have you stripped?
I have an Arts degree, what else was I going to do? I got into stripping when I moved to Melbourne through my first roommate, 7 years ago. She totally annihilated the “desperate stripper” trope; she was a sassy, educated woman of colour, who worked for NGOs in developing countries and stripped between contracts for extra cash. It suddenly dawned on me that strippers were independent business owners exploiting their sexualisation for top dollar and I wanted in! That’s the ho life, baby.
I've worked all over Australia, and Kit Kat Club in Portland, Oregon. If you ever get the chance to go, you must. They have sword swallowing strippers, stilt walking strippers, clown strippers. It's another world. That club made me a better performer on every level.
Where are you based now?
Melbourne. You can’t beat our comedy scene (come @ me!). Doing Ho Life or No Life at MICF is literally my dream come true. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!
You have a shitload of followers on Instagram. Has that been a slow burn or did something happen for it to spike to 11k?
I wish I had a headline-grabbing story like “I did cocaine off Prince Harry’s cock” but it's taken a shitload of work, actually. I did have a spike when someone screen-shotted a photo from Tinder of me getting fucked doggy-style by a giant Crash Bandicoot statue and put it on Reddit. It went viral for a day or two. God bless the internet.
I love your Instagram. I love how you show what’s behind the glamour… the PJs, the Uber Eats bags…
Thank you! I love Instagram but it lacks authenticity and I think the culture around looking perfect 24/7 is changing. I try to maintain a balance by showing that women are not just two-dimensional characters. Do I love pouty-faced selfies? Of course, but if I’m depressed as fuck and haven’t left the house in 4 days, there’s value in that too.
" you can Catch my sweet rig on Underbelly: Chopper Files later this year. I play Stripper #3 so it’s super emotive & relatable"
You said on your Instagram that the show has cost you family and your husband. What's the story?
That was more me acknowledging that while everything is going well, a lot of shitty things have happened this past year and how far I’ve come. There was a time, not even long ago when I considered shutting @strippercomic down and quitting comedy altogether. I even got a corporate job for a bit but it’s the ho life or no life for me! This show is me not giving a fuck what anyone thinks anymore in the hope that more women will be inspired to express themselves.
How have you found the process of developing a show?
It’s stressful, I won’t lie, but I’ve had a lot of support. I have a producer, Becky Lou of Table Flip Productions, who has been a godsend and I work with an audio engineer, Connor Dalton, to turn the rantings of a mad-woman into reality. I also have a lot of friends who are touring performers. It’s important you have people who know what you’re going through so when it feels like shit is hitting the fan, you meet up for coffee (or sometimes 6 wines), scream fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck for 15mins and then talk through a plan of action.
Do you have a favourite moment in the show?
Definitely the “lap dance fart”. You’ll have to buy tickets to see that though!
What’s the biggest misconception about strippers?
That stripping or sex work isn’t a legitimate form of income like any other. Some do sex work because they want to, some do sex work as a means of survival and some are forced into it. All three need different support and more than one of those scenarios can apply to a person at different times. We need to be viewed as people and treated with respect, not a vehicle for you to project your issues onto. Also, we love Nickleback.
What's your favourite or funniest strip club memory?
I can’t give too much away because this story is in the show but I once danced for a very high profile female singer and let's just say I’ll never listen to Silverchair the same way again.
What is a little known fact about strippers or you?
We tuck in our tampon cords when we work on our periods.
When was the first time you saw a Penthouse magazine?
It was at Spearmint Rhino in Melbourne, a friend of mine had made the cover and brought it into work. I thought it was just a dirty magazine and couldn’t believe how beautiful your pictorials are! I’ve been a fan ever since but I only buy it for the articles. *wink*
Anything else you'd like to add?
Catch my sweet rig on Underbelly: Chopper Files later this year. I play Stripper #3 so it’s super emotive & relatable. You can also access exclusive behind the scenes content while helping me raise funds for my tour by signing up to my Patreon.
Ho Life or No Life tour dates:
Perth: 8-11th Feb, 7:45pm @ Laneway Palace - BUY TICKETS
Melbourne (MICF): 14-22nd Apr, 10pm @ The Butterfly Club - BUY TICKETS
Follow Chase on Instagram.
Top image by: Rachel Lena Esterline
Poster by: Connor Dalton
Bottom image by: Jason Matz