Two nights ago at Columbus Stands Up for Choice: Planned Parenthood Benefit, the crowd of over 75 people enjoyed several hilarious comics for a good cause. The benefit, which will run quarterly at Ace of Cups, benefits a different pro-choice clinic each show. Co-hosts and local comics Amber Falter and Pat Deering are not only super funny people, but they’re people who understand that they can use their art form to benefit others.
When asked why they put on the show, Deering responded, “I think comedy does a great job of both raising money AND getting pro-choice advocates and workers into fun, comfortable, safe spaces with people who aren't directly involved (especially young people) but still want to help. Also, it does a lot to help de-stigmatize discussions of abortion - women should never EVER be ashamed to have made a healthcare decision to protect themselves, their family or their future family - and having these public performances along with frank discussion and boisterous, joyful support lets women know that people are on their side.”
Falter added that even on top of reproductive rights, her desire to put on the event came from how society treats women as a whole, “A girl who is told she isn't as strong as boys, or as intelligent, or they are told "you can't do that, you're a girl". And I can see it. It's so deeply a root of who they are and they can't help it. I imagine it subconsciously shapes the ways they think as adults in negative ways. Maybe they didn't apply for a certain professional position because they feel that's a man's job. Maybe they chose an entire career based on that very same conditioning they learned as a young child. It's a scary thing to me. To think that so many women, even though it's 2016, probably have issues like this that they aren't even aware of. I just want us to get to a point as a society where we believe at our core that women are capable, strong, and intelligent people. Because then maybe we'll begin empowering them from the start.”
As an audience member, it was great to be present at a show with such a strong message and goal. It was a very supportive environment, and every comic had a unique lens to bring to the table. On this note, Deering said, “The comics we booked avoid taking the easy, bullshit, hack route of using comedy to attack disenfranchised groups of people and they're hilarious. I know it's super crazy that they could manage to do both of those things at once, right?”
Back in April, Amber put on a comedy show to benefit Women Have Options/Ohio (WHO/O). Due to the success of that show, Pat, who performed that night, teamed up with Amber to make the show quarterly. I’m sure the next show will be an even bigger success, as this one was incredible. “Last night we raised just over $600 for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. Every single dollar is donated to PP. What is so great about the comics that agree to do the show is their passion for the cause. We didn't pay them, they just want to do a great show and help raise the money and it's going to be put to work immediately to provide health - including abortion - services to women and families in need right here in our state,” Falter said.
Be sure to check out the next benefit show in November! The funds will be going to WHO/O again, and it will be back at its home at Ace of Cups. You don’t wanna miss it!