Ring My Bell: bidding farewell to Sinner Saint’s Nicole Lucas
Last summer, comedienne and burlesque MC Nicole Lucas and I discussed the finer points of “vacation sex” versus “weekday sex” over noodles and mutual hangovers. It was the type of discussion you get into with Nicole, taking the banal private parts and drawing the funny out of the mortifying. As host(ess) of Sinner Saint, Nicole has grown into her role as voice of the burlesque troupe. “I couldn’t even walk in heels when I started,” she confessed. “I did my first show in flats and my nicest pair of jeans and a sparkly shirt, with more makeup than I’d ever worn in my life and I still looked schlumpy. I’ve gotten progressively more into drag.”
Long before she started doing standup and perfecting her burlesque face, Nicole grew up in Lake Tahoe and wound up sitting next to comic A.J. Jamal on a plane when she was eight years old. “I thought his life was so glamorous- he got to work at night and fly on Southwest,” she said. The seeds of show business were planted; she ended up studying music business in Seattle and flirted with playing in bands until realizing she liked the parts when she got to talk between songs best. On a bet with an ex-boyfriend, she wrote three dirty jokes and went to an open mic- it was intimidating, but she did it, and liked it enough to return weekly. When friend and one-time Babeland co-worker Audrey McManus became Sinner Saint’s producer, Nicole became one of several rotating hosts until the troupe chose her as MC.
The precarious role of the host is rarely given proper credit and frequently misunderstood. Most onlookers expect a simple cattle call that runs girls on and off stage, never noticing the position itself or the finesse required to get it right. Burlesque patrons are rowdy and Nicole is responsible for focusing the audience in an entertaining way, moving the show along while simultaneously performing crowd control and using her comedy to roll with whatever may occur backstage or on the floor. She presents herself in character as a randy but streetwise girl with slightly questionable tastes- but she doesn’t show her (ample) boobs. “Well I showed them to Audrey once for her bachelorette party, but it wasn’t in any sort of choreographed way,” she says.
This month Sinner Saint will lose one of the best burlesque hosts- and most talented comediennes- in Seattle when Nicole Lucas relocates to sunny Austin, Texas. She’ll be attending the University of Texas in pursuit of a Linguistics major while continuing her comic career. “I’ve loved working with Sinner Saint, and it was really hard to make the choice to leave,” she told me. “My goal is to never have a real job again.”
**Nicole Lucas’s last night hosting in Seattle will be December 23. Go and show your love for an amazingly talented woman and friend to the Seattle burlesque community during Sinner Saint’s phenomenal holiday run, The Sacred and the Profane.**