Binge Fringe Magazine

OPINION: Lil Wenker – How Life as a Milkmaid Prepared Me for Life as an Alternative Comedian

Late summer of 2020 saw me quarantining in New Haven, Connecticut with a small group of my best friends and my then-boyfriend, an Italian boy with a taste for the finer things in life (hot). The boyfriend turned out to be only a quarter Italian (less hot), and the finer things in his life turned out to be an intense love for Freud and Jung (much less hot, verging on cringe).

It also turned out that  my savings from working at the grocery store dried up quicker than my big Italian love affair. From a local ad I found just the place I was looking for, a place where I could live rent-free in exchange for ‘character-building’ work: a dairy farm in a town so small it doesn’t exist on Google Maps.

So my best friend Hero and I moved in with a bachelor farmer called Tommy Eucalitto, who lovingly referred to us as his milkmaids.

Though I could, and have, written essay upon essay about this experience — my conversations with the neighbor “shroom Dave,” chasing the pigs through the Dunham’s (yes, Lena Dunham’s parents’) yard, the forever unresolved sexual tension between me and Tommy, today I write to you about the vital lessons I learned from 5 am milking and mucking.

For, as everyone knows, behind every great clown is a 20 year old girl covered in shit dreaming of one day becoming an alternative comedian.

1. The audience, like a cow’s udder, needs coaxing. Squeezing too hard just makes everyone uncomfortable. So instead, take your time, massage (the vibe? the udder? The metaphor’s getting away from me), and listen to what they want.
2. You have to just get up and do it. When 5 AM or a show calls, rain or shine, you have a job to do. And yes, cows are cute and comedy feels amazing when it goes well, but at the end of the day it’s a job.
3. You will spend a lot of time in the shit, and no matter how much anyone tells you otherwise, it always stinks!
4. The amount of placenta produced by a cow birth is shocking. (This one is really only relevant to milk-maiding)
5. Something about the industry attracts a lot of white men.
6. Damnit, it makes for a fun life.

My latest show, BANGTAIL, isn’t about cows as much as it’s about cowboys! Specifically, a cowboy-turned-accountant looking for his purpose. Come and check it out on one of the following dates:

Photo Credit: Hudson Hughes

Lil Wenker

Lil is a Guest Writer at Binge Fringe. She is the Co-Creator and Performer of BANGTAIL, alongside Director Cecily Nash, a woman-led clown show about Cowboys. Lil is also the Co-Founder of Chekhov's Gum Theatre.

Pronouns: She/Her