The comedy show Rape is Real and Everywhere raises questions about rape jokes.
Is it ever Ok to tell a rape joke? Does the joke change depending on who is telling the joke?
“You can joke about anything you want as long as you are doing it with awareness and adding to the conversation,” said Emma Cooper, a former Nanaimo resident and co-producer of the comedy show.
Cooper said the comedy show is done in a sensitive matter, is a supportive environment and all the comedians are survivors.
“When survivors are joking about our own experiences it’s empowering,” said Cooper. “It gives you a little bit more agency. A little bit more power in the world.”
Cooper said it is about creating conversations in communities about rape and bringing the subject into the open. Cooper said she hopes that the conversation continues after the show in communities.
She said using comedy provides people with a buffer to handle the difficult subject. Often survivors aren’t sure how to talk to others about rape and friends of survivors don’t know how to broach the subject, she said.
“It’s just talking about it. It removes the burden for people about how to act,” she said, adding joking about it allows people to take ownership of the issue.
All the comedians performing in Rape is Real and Everywhere are survivors. The lineup includes Cooper, Jane Stanton, Heather Jordan Ross, Amanda Rae Smith, Randee Neumeyer and Mark Hughes.
Cooper said some people are surprised that there is a male comedian rape survivor in the show. She said there are some people that don’t believe men can be raped but it is a reality.
“Mark Hughes is a fantastic Vancouver comedian,” she said. “It’s an interesting perspective he has.”
Cooper said a lot of survivors come to the show and for some it can be cathartic. However, she added that at anytime during the performance if someone is uncomfortable they may leave.
“I’m really excited to bring this to Nanaimo,” said Cooper, adding that the show is first and foremost a comedy show.
Rape is Real and Everywhere: A Comedy Show is Monday (May 16) from 8-10 p.m. at Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd. The show is for audience members 19 and older.
Tickets are $15 and are available in advance from www.rapeisreal.com.