Adrienne Truscott Returns To The Stage and This Time She’s Keeping Her Pants On
Adrienne Truscott spent the better part of three years standing on stage, not wearing pants and telling jokes about rape. Truscott set out to challenge and enlighten people about rape and rape culture and if she had to stand on stage and show you her pussy to get your attention, well then, she would. Her award-winning show, Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It, set the bar high. This summer she’s returning to NYC with her new show, Adrienne Truscott’s A One Trick Pony (Or Andy Kaufman Is A Feminist Performance Artist and I’m A Comedian), at Joe’s Pub on June 27th, August 4th and September 23rd. She recently talked with us about her shows.
In Asking For It you were on stage naked from the waist down all while talking about rape. Have you always been this comfortable with your body?
Ever since I was a little kid I thought it was hilarious to run through a room naked. Of course, as a kid, I wouldn’t have known the word provocative but I knew this is a thing and it might make people laugh and it might make people scream in shock, but it will definitely get their attention. As a grown-up I sometimes feel that I use it more maturely. I know this gets people’s attention, once I have their attention I’m going to try and do something smart with that.
You’ve described Asking For It as a feminist rant disguised by light-on-its-feet stand-up comedy. It was partly inspired by male comics making jokes about rape, in particular Daniel Tosh, who suggested that a woman in his audience should be raped. Should male comics talk about rape at all?
I would never censor another comic. My beef with Daniel Tosh and a bunch of those guy’s rape jokes wasn’t that they should stop doing them. I just wanted to comment on them and do ones that I thought were better.
There’s a fine line between just being crude and being satirical. How did you decide what jokes to tell?
I sort of figure out is the joke smart enough? Is it clever enough? Is it worth it? Am I the right person to be making it? I try not to censor myself, but I definitely check my shit.
You started that show in 2013 long before the #metoo movement and sexual assault were national conversations.
It felt like a different playing field in 2013. It felt really risky to be making that show then. There’s a million reasons why that show could have failed. On paper ‘A half-naked lady does an hour of rape jokes’ doesn’t sound like it’s going to succeed but it did and then I was like “Holy Fuck, what’s the show that I make after this?”.
Were there expectations that you’d follow up with another heavy subject?
What am I going to do? A musical about cops killing African American men? I don’t want to get much heavier than rape right now. It’s heavy enough. I thought it would kind of be understood that maybe she wants to do some lighter fare after a half-naked show about rape. Some people were like “What’s the next taboo subject she’ll take on?”. That’s the show you want me to make but that’s not the show that I want to make. I’m going to make the show that I want to make.
How would you describe your new show Adrienne Truscott’s A One Trick Pony (Or Andy Kaufman Is A Feminist Performance Artist and I’m A Comedian)?
It’s an autobiographical show, filled with dick jokes, stories of stripping and it’s all wrapped up in a big homage to Andy Kaufman where I try to steal as much of his material as I can.
Why Andy Kaufman?
I was thinking about Andy Kaufman a lot because he was kind of the comic that made me go, “Fuck, I can never be the first one that thought of that.” I felt like that all the time when I would see Andy Kaufman. I was thinking about when you wish you could steal material and you can’t but is there a way to flip it to do something like the material but it’s a genuine homage to somebody.
Between telling rape jokes and re-appropriating some of Kaufman’s performance art you must get a wide variety of reaction from audiences.
I don’t like to play to a crowd where everyone already likes me. It doesn’t feel very edgy to me. I like when I feel that there’s risk in the room and somebody you might have to win over and I’m happy to piss people off too.
For more information about Adrienne Truscott and her touring schedule visit her website.