Adrienne Truscott's (Still) Asking For It (A Stand-Up Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else!)

Theater, Comedy
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
Adrienne Truscott: Asking for It!
Photograph: Courtesy Sara Brown Photography Adrienne Truscott: Asking for It!

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Theater review by Helen Shaw 

When Adrienne Truscott premiered the first version of Asking For It, rape-joke discourse was piping hot. Truscott’s searing one-woman performance piece began in 2013 (the year of Patricia Lockwood’s “Rape Joke” poem) and it was still touring in 2015 when it came to Brooklyn for the COIL Festival. Wearing a jean jacket, a wild blonde wig and a nothing from the ribcage down, Truscott held up a picture of comedian Daniel Tosh—who had responded to a heckler in 2012 with “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?”—and told rape joke after scathing rape joke. She made sure her crotch was right at your eyeline. Then she did shots.

I mention this history because Truscott’s updated and inclusive multi-performer iteration of the show, (Still) Asking For It, is strongest when it makes you remember its roots. If your first thought at seeing Truscott brandish that Tosh photo is “Ugh, old news,” then imagine that Tosh were still on Comedy Central, still one of its signature faces, embarking on his eleventh season. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? It turns out it isn’t. And if you think you’re tired of this conversation, imagine how women must feel. Truscott gives us enough of the original material to make us to seethe a bit, and then she cedes the stage to a series of similarly costumed collaborators: Mari Moriarty, Jenn Kidwell, Shamika Cotton and a rotating list of visiting comics. Kidwell in particular, wearing shit-stomping boots with her no-bottoms uniform, revs the show’s old engine. She asks us to imagine what a culture of vengeful survivors might look like, and what would happen if all those who had been terrorized by rape culture rose up. She means it as a terrifying thought experiment, but the audience surged to its feet as the lights blacked out, ready to answer her call.

Joe’s Pub (Off-Off Broadway). By Adrienne Truscott. Directed by Ellie Heyman. With Truscott. Running time: 1hr 15mins. No intermission.

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By: Helen Shaw

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