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Helltrap Nightmare’s Sarah Sherman on Her “Gross Weirdo” Brand of Comedy

Her experimental comedy show will join forces with Wham City for a night of cringeworthy comedy.

Sarah Sherman
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Over the years, Sarah Sherman (a.k.a. Sarah Squirm) has taken the stage with quite the lineup of props—pubic hair, cans of clam juice, handfuls of worms—which the 24-year-old uses to tell tales of hilarious, if horrific, self-discovery. On January 18 at the Hideout, she will perform Helltrap Nightmare, the experimental comedy show the Logan Square resident founded in 2016, joined by members of Wham City (of Adult Swim fame) for a night of cringeworthy comedy.

On being an outsider

I grew up in Long Island, where popular girls named Samantha got nose jobs at 16. I was pale and sperm-like and leaned in to the “gross weirdo” thing to reclaim some of that shame.

On performing standup

It’s like just this total quick-and-dirty pleasure—provided you’re a damaged masochist. For me, I want to do all the artsy-fartsy stuff but still crush it in front of a crowd of Trump dads in Ohio.

On giving the mic to misfits

The problem with a lot of alt-comedy is that it’s very white-male-centric. I want to create space for weirdos to get up to some freaky stuff.

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