Bethany Van Delft: Boston’s Queen of Comedy

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By Karla Amador

Boston, MA — Boston’s queen of comedy Bethany Van Delft made history in 2019 as the first woman of color (and woman!) to be crowned ‘Best Comic’ by Boston Magazine. “It was crazy to receive that news. I was so surprised,“ she exclaims. “I am proud of my progress and felt like things [really] do change in little increments; it’s exciting!”

Van Delft understands that comedy is subjective and that as a female comic of color not everyone is going to be a supporter of her stand-up, but chooses not to get too caught up in what the critics have to say. 

“I try not to focus so much on whether I will get a critic’s approval and just work hard to get funnier,” she explains.

Van Delft’s comedy album, I’m Not a Llama is an honest, transparent, and courageous debut that transforms challenging real-life situations into tools for persevering through it all. Her creative process, however, was not without its anxious moments. “Sometimes in life, [certain] experiences can lead someone toward isolation and often there are moments during those experiences that are not spoken about.” 

She recalls battling doubtful thoughts and pestering “what ifs?” but on the other side, Van Delft found her flow. I’m Not a Llama presents the world as Van Delft sees and lives in it. Raised with her siblings in a politically-minded and multiracial family in the Bronx, by her Dutch Marxist father and Black Puerto Rican activist mother, Van Delft is not afraid to speak and stand up for her beliefs. She received tremendous gratitude and support from The Moth’s Main Stage, for her inspirational story on stepping into motherhood, “Light & Hope” which aired in 2014. 

Additionally, she is a fierce advocate for her daughter Lulu, born with down syndrome, and is active in special needs community organizations such as Mass Families Organizing for Change and the Federation for Children with Special Needs Parent Consultant Institute. In 2017, the Federation honored her with the Patricia Blake Parent Advocacy Award, for exemplifying the belief in the potential of all children with disabilities to achieve.

“My mother taught me to engage in the behavior I want to see elsewhere in the world,” explains The Moth StorySlams host. “I was encouraged to always believe in myself and to change the narrative through life’s challenges.”

Her advice is to bring yourself back to your challenges and that’s where your inspiration will be. If you want to hear more from Bethany Van Delft you can download and stream I’m Not a Llama here