Men who identify as feminists or as having feminist ideals are in a tough spot right now. I firmly believe that because feminism is equality of the sexes, the efforts of people of all genders is required to make progress. Many though, seem to disagree.
The world of comedy is very, very male-dominated but men addressing misogyny and sexism in a practical, feminist manner in their comedy is becoming more and more common.
“People were mad at me for ‘accusing Bill Cosby of rape’ after I did that bit. I didn’t accuse him of anything, all those women he raped did!”
When I saw actor and comedian Hannibal Buress in Portland, ME last Thursday, I was hoping he’d address the Bill Cosby Controversy and he didn’t disappoint. He’s credited for really bringing attention to the rape accusations spanning as far back as 1969 that had been seriously swept under the rug.
“Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. Well, yeah, you’re a rapist, so, I’ll take you sayin’ lots of motherfuckers on Bill Cosby: Himself if you weren’t a rapist. …I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. …I’ve done this bit on stage, and people don’t believe. People think I’m making it up. …That shit is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it, trust me. You leave here and Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than Hannibal Buress.”
He also talked about the amount of death threats he’s received. People have messaged him saying, “Bill Cosby is not a rapist, you are.” It’s ridiculous, but I’m glad he said it and I’m glad he’s stood by it. No one gave much notice to these earlier women’s accusations, but I’m glad Buress could use his platform to bring this to light. He was also freaking hilarious.
Azis Ansari’s Netflix special “Live at Madison Square Garden” was surpisingly serious for a standup special. Ansari covered everything from the horrors of the meat industry, internet cruelty, the harsh realities of the immigrant experience, to misogyny. These heavy topics matched with his upbeat, energetic delivery made people laugh and think.
I know he’s come under a bit of pressure for his bold statements on feminism and misogyny, but I love it. Here are some of his quotes-
“You know what I realized recently? Creepy dudes are everywhere. It really sucks ‘cuz women have to worry about creepy dudes all the time. And it’s very unfair because men NEVER worry about creepy women. That’s not a thing.”
“I did a show once with a female comedian. She got on stage and the first thing that happened is some idiot in the front yells, ‘Take it off!’ If you’re a dude, never yell, ‘Take it off!’ Unless a woman has placed a tarantula or a scorpion on one of your shoulders, there’s no reason to yell, ‘Take it off!’”
He also asked how many women had experienced a creepy man following them and an insane amount of women’s hands when up. He was relatable like a good comic is, but really made solid points as he did. Feminism needs both genders working together to make changes, and Ansari is fighting the good fight the best way he knows how- with humor and clarity.
He sold every one of the 18,200 seats in Madison Square Garden and reached so many more people on Netflix. He wasn’t mansplaining as some claimed, the opposite really. He was showing his disgust with the issue. It’s become clear that at this moment in time, people are more likely to listen to a man than a woman, even when it’s about women’s issues. Until this changes, I have no problems with these men using their celebrity and voice to make a difference. And make us all laugh, that’s good too.