“Comedy is not spiritual enough and spirituality is not light enough,” says the Oakland resident, who combines both in her one-woman show “The Oy of Sex,” onstage at The Marsh in The City.
“My performance unites these two opposites,” she says. “It’s the culmination of a lot of years of comedy and recovery and awareness.”
Dattner, who teaches enlightenment workshops by day, wants to change the notion that comedy cannot embrace anything earnest. She wants people who see her show to laugh a lot and to see, “There’s more possible for them in love and relationships, that whatever point they’re at in their lives, they can love and accept and enjoy it.”
“The Oy of Sex” tells her real-life personal journey in love and love addiction, beginning with wanting to kiss boys when she was in kindergarten to her first kiss at 15 (“I remember what I was wearing”) to a decadelong wild and crazy series of boyfriends and lovers.
Some of them actually have seen the show (a success in previous workshop versions), including, Dattner says, “the last guy who brought me to my downfall.”
When she called him to tell him he would be in the show, and that she was grateful to him, she says, “We had an amazing conversation. He added so much perspective. It wasn’t as negative as I imagined it, it was really a growing experience.”
For Dattner, “The Oy of Sex” has been years in the making, perhaps even beginning with her compulsion, at 8 years old, to be onstage.
She grew up watching “Saturday Night Live,” and at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where she met Eugene Mirman of Comedy Central and “Flight of the Conchords” fame (“He was the first person I bounced stuff off of”), she got a degree in stand-up comedy.
After college, she came to The City, where she honed her craft, appearing regularly at open mics and showcases at Brainwash, the Luggage Store, Cobb’s Comedy Club, the Punch Line and The Marsh, doing jokes that led to “The Oy of Sex.”
In making the new show, which has been culled from four hours of material, Dattner found the biggest challenge in combining the voices of her younger self (the “bad stuff” she did and more) and her older, wiser self.
Pleased to be bringing a greater consciousness to the material, she says, “It’s so cool, I kind of feel like I’m coming full circle.”
IF YOU GO
The Oy of Sex
Where: The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 8:30 p.m. Saturdays; closes Jan. 18
Tickets: $20 to $50
Contact: (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org