Adrienne Truscott is best known for her controversial stand-up comedy debut, Asking For It. In the performance, Truscott wears very little — essentially just a bleach blonde wig, a blue mini dress, and a jacket. Performing with her privates out, she makes rape jokes.
Yet unlike her male contemporaries (we’re looking at you, Daniel Tosh), Truscott’s rape jokes are not at the expense of the victim. “I tend to find, in particular, a dude making a lazy joke about the act of rape or wherein the rapist is a regular joe or the victim of the rape is just a stupid chick who’s asking for it happens to offend my sensibilities,” she says. “I never censor anyone else from what they’re doing. If they’re happy to get on stage and sound like a fuckwit, that’s their prerogative.”
“I like making jokes about how fucking ridiculous rape culture is and the fact that people pretend it doesn’t exist and the fact that there are morons in government, like yet another member of congress who said you shouldn’t be able to get an abortion in cases of rape or incest because if you get pregnant after that it’s what god intended,” Truscott explains, referencing former Indiana state senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s disturbing viewpoint. “For me, you don’t make a rape joke at the expense of the victim or at the fact that it’s a far reaching act of violence at epidemic proportion. I don’t find that funny. The fact that, you know, the president of our country has several sexual assault allegations against him yet manages to become president is a situation that’s ripe for satire and joking about.”
But in her upcoming performance piece, THIS, Truscott performs in a completely different way than the stand-up routine she became known for. Before she was a stand-up comedian, Truscott performed as a dancer, in cabaret, and as half of the trapeze Burlesque group, The Wau Wau Sisters. With THIS, she combines her passions for all types of performing arts to create an experimental piece different than anythings she’s done before. But of course, because of the current political climate, there are hints of politics in the show.
“As a woman I’ve been given the opportunity to make art which is amazing and great but the way the world is right now, I kind of wish I could just be doing activism or I just wish I was a lawyer,” Truscott says. “So a little bit of [the show] is just trying to figure out the relevance of just making art that might be personal or something in a moment where the world feels so deeply political that I don’t know if my energies are put to best use by making art right now. Part of me feels like I just want to spend all day calling congress people and protesting and marching. It’s hard trying to focus on art when it feels like the world is falling apart.”
And as much as Truscott’s work is political, she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as political after talking about rape for three years. “I think as an artist, especially a female artist, it’s not always our job to make art that points out how fucked up the world is. I think it’s also important to make art that speaks to you in the moment,” she says. “Like trans people or queer people or people of color or women, you don’t have to be the gatekeeper of making all the political art to show the world back to itself.”
Regardless of what medium she performs in, Truscott just loves to perform live. “I think especially in this digital world these days that a bunch of people live together in a room is still a way you can have a radical moment of people paying attention to themes and each other and their own thoughts and like, feeling their world and feeling discomfort or anger,” she explains. “The same way you can argue like a motherfucker with someone online and you will behave differently with that person in a room... I feel like guys who troll me online or say stuff or think they have power over me because they don’t like that I made a show called Asking For It with my pussy out, those dudes don’t speak to me the same way when they come to my show. Because a woman with agency in the same room with other people is a very different entity than a woman online or a woman in a meeting. So I think particularly in this moment, women with loud voices, whether choreographed or whatever, are really important.”
Check out Adrienne Truscott’s THIS, at New York Live Arts from April 5th-8th.
Top Image via New York Live Arts
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