Kurt Metzger, Comedy & Rape Culture

The following is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for Esquire. Read the full article here

I live and perform in Chicago, where I host a show called Feminist Happy Hour. It’s also a city where white men dominate most performance spaces, especially comedy rooms where rape jokes and victim blaming are celebrated as much as the Blackhawks. And it’s not just the humor that’s toxic, as women who perform in Chicago experience assault that happens offstage as much as it does onstage.

The intersections of power and race and privilege make white-dude comics a very specific trope. Comedy, as an institution, is already inherently sexist (and racist, and homophobic). There is an informal agreement among comics that nothing is off-limits, which works out best for cisgender, straight, white guys. If you’re the most powerful person in the room, nothing is off-limits.

But this issue isn’t just Chicago’s problem, or New York’s. There is a larger cultural conversation about comedy, accountability, and the experiences of being a woman, which was triggered last week by the UCB rape investigation, Inside Amy Schumer writer Kurt Metzger’s Facebook post, and Schumer’s problematic responses to it all. After engaging in online messaging with a friend of mine, Metzger asked to call in as a guest on Feminist Happy Hour.


The Hardest Working Feminist in Chicago

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Alicia Swiz may be the hardest working feminist in Chicago.  In the past few months she’s developed her #SlutTalk into a standing room only event at The East Room in Logan Square, brought the #ShoutYourAbortion movement to Chicago to start a chapter, and began promoting a feminist lipstick company, The Smear Campaign, in Chicago. Between all that she’s still the rock star professor, telling funny stories at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, and hosting SlutTalk at Taboo Tabou. She’s our favorite and a doll so we can’t wait to hang out with her on May 11th at 8 PM to discuss Dating Dudes.  We got lucky and caught her between all this crazyness to catch us up on her life.

Read more here