A spacious two-story bar with a pool table, paintings on the walls and a small stage in one corner, showcases a free comedy show called “Haters Gonna Hate” every second Wednesday of the month at Cafe Royale.
Josef Anolin, Chris Riggins, Mimi Vilmenay and Kaseem Bentley are the “resident haters” that perform permanently in the show. They also invite other guest comics to participate in a different theme every night. Black History Month and Valentine’s Day are the themes of this night.
Anolin started the show about two years ago as a way to create a space where local Bay Area comics could perform. The small stage creates an intimate atmosphere where comics can receive immediate feedback from the audience.
Mimi Vilmenay, resident hater, was raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In her nine-minute performance, she talks about some of the stereotypes that Americans have about Haitians and what Black History Month means to her.
“Hey what’s up guys!” Vilmenay says. “Happy Black History month… real talk, you guys. Black History Month is really fuckin’ important to me because guess what? I’m Haitian, you guys. What!?”
According to Vilmenay, nobody believes she is of Haitian descent because she looks white.
“Elephant in the room — I’m not really black you guys,” she confesses. “I’m white, but I feel black. My dad raised me to be a proud black woman. When I was about 11 years old, every day my dad said to me when he dropped me off at school: ‘Never forget that you are black.’”
Brittany White came to the the show for the first time and didn’t regret it.
“I laughed at least once in each comics’ performance” she said. “They each have their own individual moment.”
The next show will be held at Cafe Royale on March 11. The theme will be Saint Patrick’s day.