It’s Independence Day in the Crescent City. You’ve got your invitations to some hot cookouts and you know you don’t wanna be the one who shows up empty-handed. We caught up with some of the women of Black Girl Giggles to give us some advice about what we should and shouldn’t bring to a NOLA cookout.
Black Girl Giggles is a group of comediennes, who are black and are setting our city on fire. They also have a dope podcast of the same name. They are keeping us in stitches with their hilarious events all over town, and this week they are holding the Black Girl Giggles Festival with comedic events each night, starting tonight (July 4) through Sunday.
Nita Cherise, who is performing a sketch show on Saturday night at the Hi-Ho Lounge called “Sketch & Improv on These Heauxs,” said she’s grateful to have found BGG this past December.
“It’s just a group of very supportive women” in a landscape where there are “very, very few females” and even fewer “of them are black females,” Nita said.
In a separate interview, BGG President Camille Roane explained a similar dynamic of the group.
“We’ve been on a mission collecting black female comedians,” Camille said, laughing.
She’s been doing comedy shows for the last year and a half, and she met one of the group’s founders, Geneva Joy, right as she began performing publicly.
“It was heartwarming to see someone who looked like you at an open mic,” Camille explained. “We support each other in our personal lives. We support each other in our comedic lives. What I’ve realized is just how important it is to surround yourself with a support system.”
We all could use a supportive tribe, especially one that helps us know how to get it right at a New Orleans cookout.
“Oh, well, I’m gonna mess up the cookout, no matter what,” joked Camille. “I’m gonna play the wrong song or bring the wrong person. I’m in trouble.”
For Rochelle the Comic, another BGG member, helping to manage the expectations of other cookout attendees and hosts is key.
“Look, I can’t cook. Y’all need to know that ahead of time,” Rochelle said she would say when she gets invited to a cookout.
“I’ll be like, ‘I brought water,’ and they’ll be like, ‘Ohhhhhuhhhh, um, thank you,'” she explained, holding out the “oh” with a dramatic impression of polite dissatisfaction. “‘We’re over here bringing baked macaroni, and you spent “$2.50 and five minutes…'”
“And I’ll tell them, ‘But it was more than five minutes. I went to Walmart, and I couldn’t leave.'”
Rochelle says keeping expectations low, especially if you’re not a great cook, will always keep you in the clear when attending a New Orleans cookout, because anything more than the very least you can do is then appreciated.
“Then you bring water and forks. ‘See, all y’all had was this cutlery pack somebody brought with too many knives. You know you were gonna need more forks. See, I did good,'” Rochelle says, as we lower ourselves into our caskets because we are dead from her jokes.
Catch Rochelle tonight from 7 to 9 at Lucky’s Bar for the BGG 4th of July Throwdown.
We created a list for you so you can be fully prepared for a real New Orleans cookout this 4th of July.
What you DON’T bring to a NOLA cookout:
- “You don’t bring your new boo” because you won’t be able to eat in peace with all the questions you’re going to get while you’re there, Camille tells us.
OK, so when can we bring bae to a NOLA cookout? “Marriage. The first cookout bae goes to is the wedding.”
- “Don’t bring anyone who is unexpected,” Rochelle warns. This is perhaps an addition to Camille’s caveat mentioned in No. 1.
“You can’t bring nobody you haven’t been married to or they’re not your partner. No, mm-mm, you can’t bring them. And also, do I like them? Do I know them? You have to be careful, because even if you’re married to them, even if they’re your partner, if they cut up at some other event, don’t. bring. them unexpectedly. Because if they show up, it’s like the music stops. ‘Oh, I know you didn’t bring Jason. I know you didn’t bring Jason unexpected. You know that you need to warn us so we can get our faces together.'”
“Nobody can come unexpectedly unless they are with you. You can’t have a cousin. You can’t have a friend…They’re going to ask questions.” -Rochelle
- Don’t bring water.
“I know it’s hot, but I just don’t like when people bring water.” -Nita
*See above to review Rochelle’s helpful hints on managing your hosts’ expectations if you feel the urge to bring water to a NOLA cookout.
- Don’t bring empty Tupperware if you didn’t contribute.
“You didn’t throw in any coins, but you managed to bring Tupperware? I don’t appreciate that.” -Nita
- You can’t bring just any kind of cake. (See No. 7 below.)
“You can’t be like, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna pick up a Walmart cake.’ No, you’re not! No, you’re not going to pick up that Walmart cake. And you’re going to know that you did wrong, too. Because when you bring it and try to hand it to people, they’re going to be like, ‘Ohhhhhhhhhhuhhhhh.’ And they’re going to put it in the back, as close to the trash can and as far away from the real food as they can get. That’s where your cake is going.”
- **Don’t bring potato salad.
Now, this is a touchy one. Only certain kinds of potato salad can be brought to a New Orleans cookout. There are guidelines. It may be easiest to use this general rule of thumb: If you weren’t asked to bring the potato salad, just bring a different dish.
“You have to be a special cook to bring potato salad. Who are you? What are your credentials?” Rochelle asks, adding that if you bring the potato salad and you weren’t asked to do so, you will not be invited to another NOLA cookout.
What you DO bring to a NOLA cookout:
- Baked mac.
“I like the cutesy stuff. I’m like a Mike’s Hard Lemonade girl. I can’t do hard liquor. I’m weak.” -Nita
“I believe queso should be brought to every event… I’m from Texas.” -Camille
- “Your best Electric Slide game.”
Now that we all know the Electric Slide is about a vibrator, you do not need to change up your Electric Slide moves. “Go about business as usual, and pray your family hasn’t known all along.” -Camille
- Bug spray.
“Because you wanna go someplace after the Cookout and you don’t need mosquito-bitten legs.” -Camille
- Cake that has been approved by other New Orleans residents and natives.
“You’ve got to get recommendations from New Orleans folks about where you can get a good cake,” Rochelle tells us. “You don’t just call just anyone. You ask, ‘How many times have you steered me wrong? Do you know some lines from ‘The Color Purple?'” A couple recommendations include: New Orleans Cake Cafe and the Royal Cakery.
- Manchu or Golden Wings chicken.
You will never go wrong and will be seen as a Cookout Hero if you bring either of these with you to a NOLA cookout. “Ain’t nobody turning that down. Crack chicken. You can bring that at any time. People are going to love you. Somebody comes with a plate of that, you’re like, ‘Come in! Yaaasss!’ The red carpet comes out.” -Rochelle
OK, but can we bring a new boo if he brings Manchu?
Answer: “He’s gotta be holding the pan, and he better hold the pan for a while. He’s got to walk around the whole party, just do a lap. Do a lap. Do a lap,” Rochelle says, as she broke this exception down for us. People will likely ask New Boo, “‘I saw you with the Manchu chicken?… Alright, cool, cool.'”
“‘They will say, ‘Girl, you know she brought an unexpected new boo… but, he did bring the Manchu, girl! He’s alright!… He might be a keeper!'”
Alright now! Want to really impress bae’s friends at The Cookout? Now you know what to do.