First of all, great interview with Charlie Rose. I love the title of your book and I look forward to reading it - or maybe I’ll listen to you read it on Audible on my way back to Reno next weekend.
I love that you’re vocal about supporting Hillary. I just got back from a day of registering voters in Nevada - did you know that Nevada has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the nation? I wasn’t just there to get the word out for Hillary and register voters, though. The Democrats need to hang on to that Senate seat and elect Catherine Cortez Masto. When they do, it’ll be another historic moment because she’ll be the first Latina Senator. Yeah, that’s right. We still haven’t elected a Latin American woman to the Senate. Almost as infuriating and depressing as Reno. Anyway, it’s 7 hours to Reno round-trip from Oakland, CA, so that’ll be a great time to listen to your first book. I say first because I have a feeling there will be more. I hope so.
Second of all, the rest of my family doesn’t see it but I think you look just like my cousin. Ever since I first saw you on Last Comic Standing, I felt familiar towards you because you don’t just say stuff my friends and I say - you look like family. When I watch you, it feels like I’m watching a relative goof around in the living room after dinner and before pie. I relate.
But, I can’t relate to what it’s like to be scrutinized by the public by drawing attention to sexism like a badass, and at the same time having a friend who said stupid shit about rape. So thank you for just staying focused on the actual issue. I wonder if rape could actually be one of the most important things to talk about.
I wonder what men are thinking now that there is so much more dialog about rape and assault. I wonder if any of them are reflecting on their own behavior. Or if most of them are in some kind of denial. Or how many of them don’t remember anything because they were blackout drunk, too.
I wonder, if everyone could talk about rape and share how they’ve been affected and traumatized without being questioned or criticized, would we handle it differently in our courts and in our culture? Would we stop pretending that it doesn’t happen? That it isn’t serious? That it isn’t a violation? That it isn’t a crime?
For the most part, straight men came up with the laws and systems that define rape and punish (or fail to punish) its perpetrators. And I think that’s a big reason why we’re not seeing rapists serve time. But I wonder if and how women are playing an active role in supporting these systems, by staying quiet, by shaming rape victims, or by opting to simply not get involved.
And I wonder, do strong, opinionated, vocal women scare straight men because they don’t appear to be easily rapable? Are women like us threatening what men perceive to be their right to have sex wherever and however they want?
I wonder if that fear could be what's underneath the hate directed at Hillary. Maybe on some unconscious level, straight men are afraid of women who dissent and disagree because they’re afraid of being told ‘no’. Maybe the idea of being sexually rejected feels life-threatening to them. Do Hillary haters just have mommy issues?
I talked about rape in two of my shows. Well, rape-adjacent. I tried to not make the material feel like a bomb going off in the middle of my stories, and neither of my lines about the actual rapes got a laugh. Then again, I’m not a comedian. But also that wasn’t the point of my stories. I needed to tell my truth, and those particular details about my truth aren’t particularly funny. But that brings me back to thanking you.
Thank you for sharing the hilarious and honest material that is your life, Amy. It is absolutely crucial that I laugh about the stuff that hurts. Otherwise it drags me down and tries to kill me. When I listen to you, I know I’m not alone. There’s someone who feels almost like a sister out there, sharing and making me laugh.
I don’t have skin thick enough to withstand the bizarrely harsh backlash that comes when a woman talks about rape in the public eye. A 99-seat theater feels plenty big enough for my rape-adjacent truth. So thank you for bring your story to a bigger audience who needs to hear it.
Sarah Elovich is a writer and performer based in Oakland, CA.