This weekend, Nicole Byer and Alice Wetterlund from MTV’s hit show, Girl Code, came to JMU for the Spring comedy show. As a huge fan and serial quoter of GirlCode I was so excited to see their stand-up comedic skills. In the end, however, I’m still not sure, as a feminist, how to feel about their performances.
Blending feminist rhetoric and comedy has always been hit or miss, but from my conversations many people are either for or against the performance that took place last night. Nicole Byer threw a ton of jokes about her race and about sex. She spoke about her position as a “liberated sexual woman” and followed it up with “comedic” horror stories about her sex life. It wasn’t positive or empowering at all. It was exactly what you’d expect from a comedian who chooses to go down the raunchy self-exposing path.
However, it was Alice Wetterlund who sparked the most opposing responses. Some were completely uncomfortable with her while others applauded her satirical approach on social commentary. Wetterlund immediately opened up with the audience that she was a feminist. By doing so, however, she simultaneously alienated some listeners while captivating others. One joke was about how men say that they “hit on women” as a commentary to the trouble in using certain violent language. She also talked about football and the hypocrisy of how the very same players who wear pink for breast cancer are also often in the media for crimes of sexual assault. I found most of her set to be quite satirical and dry and I loved it. But I also see the trouble in calling yourself a feminist and then joking lightheartedly about rape…and then justifying said jokes with more.
The line between sharing humorous commentary and offending audience members is a fine one. Personally, I don’t think that Wetterlund was in the wrong – completely. For the most part, I truly enjoyed her satire and wit. We can agree that she was successful in that many people are having conversations regarding everything she said. The differing reactions of audience members will vary. Where do you stand on the performances?