Violence against women is a devastating problem around the world and right here in the Cowichan Valley, and an upcoming show will be making a difference one laugh at a time.
I am Woman, Hear Me Laff is a comedy show coming up Thursday, March 10, headlined by comedian Jen Grant, that will help raise money for Cowichan Women Against Violence, an organization that offers resources for families and children suffering the effects of domestic violence.
“I love being a part of any fundraiser that helps victims of any kind of abuse where they can’t defend themselves or want to defend themselves, or even do defend themselves and still get treated terribly,” said Grant. “Sometimes I think wouldn’t it be nice if we had a world where people didn’t do that?”
Grant likes to base her comedy on the shared kinds of embarrassing experiences that all people have.
“Life is funny and it’s everywhere. I talk about myself and how I’m always embarrassing myself doing dumb things,” said Grant, who’s originally from Ottawa and now based in Toronto.
“I think it’s fun to joke about that stuff ‘cause it kind of takes away the whole pretending everybody is perfect thing. We’re all just kind of fumbling through life sometimes,” Grant said.
In the past Grant has worked with some big names, including well-known American comedian Louis CK.
“I worked with him in a small club on Long Island… It was a really great experience to be around someone I know has had so much success and written so much, too,” Grant said.
Grant got into comedy when a friend urged her to try out an open-mic night at a standup comedy club. She’d always wanted to be a performer, but hadn’t realized her perfect groove would be onstage until she got up there.
“I think part of it is wanting to be a creative person and just having that in you to want to perform, but I think another part of it is really just thriving off of being heard,” Grant said.
Grant made national headlines in May of last year when she opened up about sexual harassment she faced in the form of verbal abuse while doing a comedy show for a corporate function.
“In my case I was doing a corporate show and this man sexually harassed me from the audience and I think it’s like when you’re a comic you’re supposed to take it no matter what the audience member says, and it’s like: ‘No,’” Grant recalled, noting that a large part of sexual intimidation rests on the threat of being physically overpowered.
“Even though I’m in this country club there’s a thing that hits me in the core of me going ‘he could if he wanted to.’”
Profits from I am Woman, Hear Me Laff will go to support the work CWAV does in the community, in particular to expand counselling services for children.
“Our organization has a range of services for women and children who’ve experienced abuse and we also in our victims service area work with any individual who’s been the victim of violence, so that is available for men and women,”explained Jane Sterk, executive director of CWAV, noting this will be Grant’s second year performing for the benefit.
In addition to Grant’s headline performance, the show also features fall-down-funny, standup hijinks from Katie-Ellen Humphires, Michelle Shaughnessy, Jane Stanton and Sarah Hagen.
“They were fantastic, so we’re really excited to have them for a second year,” Sterk said.
Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for students. Get them at the Cowichan Ticket Centre or by phoning 250-748-7529; or order them online at cowichanpac.ca.