A presidential election year in a swing state like North Carolina typically makes for a particularly interesting run of live entertainment leading up to the election in November.
Whether that’s actor Tim Robbins opening for Pearl Jam in Asheville or the Beastie Boys and Sheryl Crow playing a club in Charlotte or the Foo Fighters performing a marathon set during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the outcry to “Get Out the Vote” can make for truly memorable concerts regardless of your political affiliation.
Lady Parts Justice League swoops into Visulite Theatre on Wednesday in similar fashion. While the name sounds like a fabulous punk band that would play the Milestone, it’s actually a female comedy group founded by “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead to educate and entertain while addressing sexism, reproductive rights, and equality during an election where misogyny, double standards and rape culture is front and center.
The Observer spoke to the comedian, author and producer last week about Lady Parts and her hopes for the election.
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Q. Was it important to you to bring LPJL to NC before the election?
I’ve followed North Carolina since Pat McCrory’s election and since your house has gone from sane to inexplicable. We looked at it as a state full of people who I love and feel have a legislature who isn’t representing their interests. These people deserve some fun and to know the rest of the world isn’t looking at them like, “How did you elect these people?”
Q. What’s the format for the show?
It’s a mix of standup, video elements and sketch. We talk about the current political landscape and what it’s like to walk the Earth in the current political landscape as female. It’s an intersection of Asian, black, queer women and old white ladies having opinions. We have a whole spectrum of insight and points of view.
Q. How did you become so passionate about reproductive rights?
I’m somebody who used Planned Parenthood to get my birth control and I myself have had an abortion. I know what it means to have access to all forms of reproductive healthcare. I know the importance of that being in my own hands. There aren’t enough advocates out there talking about reproductive rights and justice. You hear a lot about fracking and the environment and those are important, but if women do not prioritize putting this issue on the front burner, no one will. So many politicians have said truly astounding things. To have taken a motorcycle maintenance bill and inserted all kinds of draconian abortion language? There is hypocrisy and humor to be mined, and with my track record (working on) “The Daily Show,” “Air America” and Rachel Maddow, I’ve used humor to shine a light on hypocrisy. I use the tool I know works.
Q. Your online videos are funny, but also educational.
That’s what we want to do with the videos. When you’re busy and everybody is working a couple jobs, life is hard. My team is mostly in the twenties faced with all this stuff. People respond when you can be funny, learn something and give people a call to action.
Q. How do you feel about the election?
I’m sort of optimistic. When we do shows and a couple hundred people come out and talk to us afterwards and make a commitment to stick together and help out with the clinics, I feel like our message resonates. If people laugh, it means they haven’t given up hope. Humor gives me encouragement.
The thing that scares me the most isn’t Trump. It’s the legions of people who have been given permission to be misogynistic, bigoted, racist and Islamophobic and now have a voice and have been legitimized – exactly who Trump hoped to engage. (But) you need to drive people into the light, so you can see the hatred. Now we’ve done that. Take your flashlight, show the face of the flasher.
One thing that’s fun to go out with a team is (to see) young women and young people finding their voice. So much of the platform is on the internet. I don’t want them to feel chased out because they feel bullied. I want to show that they are in their own power and are stronger than the people who are going to try to chase them out of the public square.
Lady Parts Justice League
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave.
Details: 704-358-9200; www.visulite.com.