Comedian Ribs the Sisterhood
Women Are So Focused on Beauty that We’ve Forgotten to Use Our Brains
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
You find the wildest stuff at Whole Foods. Goji berry juice. Ancient Egyptian Kamut flakes. A dried “sea veggie” called agar agar. But the most intriguing thing I’ve ever had there was a frank and funny discussion about feminism with my friend Kimmie Dee.
A stand-up comedian, Kimmie is opening for outrageous comic Doug Stanhope on March 5 at Velvet Jones. We bumped into each other in the produce section, and she told me about the show:
“I’m gonna do it,” she said, glancing nervously at the female shoppers plucking perfect pomegranates from the bins behind us. “I’m gonna throw women under the bus.”
The phrase left me immediately, mischievously, exhilarated. There’s something about standing in a market full of shockingly conscientious goods that makes me want to be bad—and every woman knows that sedition to the sisterhood is bad bad bad. Women’s rights have come a long way, but have we yet earned the right to rag on other women?
But blunt, ballsy, and, in her own words, “shaped like a Bartlett pear,” New Jersey-born Kimmie Dee doesn’t give a flying Kamut flake. Women, as she sees it from her 4′11″ vantage point, have become so narrowly focused on beauty that we’ve forgotten to use our brains.
“I’m so sick of women it’s all I can do not to just walk around smacking them in the back of the head and yelling, ‘Wake up!’” she says. “Women live longer, and we communicate better. With the exception of one weekend of the month, we could rule the world if we didn’t come from a place of insecurity and stupidity. It’s very frustrating to me.”
So she’s sending up her gender in a comedic rant that’s as likely to offend as amuse. “The intention of the comedian,” she says, “is to bring your attention to the outrage.”
A former massage therapist, Kimmie spent years brushing off remarks like “Are you a comedian?” and “You should be in stand-up” until, in 2008, she decided to let her funny flag fly. Listening to the radio on the drive down to her first gig, an open mike night at a dive bar in Thousand Oaks, she heard Eliot Spitzer resign after having been linked to a Garden State call girl.
“I get up on stage,” she recalls, “and my first line is, ‘Has there ever been a better time to be a slut from New Jersey? If I’d known then what I know now, I would not have been giving all this away for free!’”
These days, the butts of her jokes are the Palin gals, the un-Real Housewives, “women who get knocked up on purpose by athletes,” and ladies who have their faces surgically stretched back onto their skulls.
“I went to brunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel recently,” she says. “You can’t swing a hairless cat in there without hitting 40 women that look the exact same. I don’t understand it. I like my face. I like that I can actually turn my head.”
But seriously, folks, her punchlines stem from genuine disappointment in women’s collective focus—a squandering of our intelligence, our voices, our power: “We’re getting Botox when we should be banding together to stop clitoral mutilation, to make a safe place for abused Afghani women, and to tell the GOP that they cannot change the definition of rape.”
Funny? Not inherently. “You put jokes around the perimeter,” she says. “But if you don’t like profanity and frank discussion, I’m not your girl.”
I like those things very much. If you don’t, feel free to heckle or lob fruit. Matter of fact, I know where you can get some perfect pomegranates.
Starshine Roshell is the author of Wife on the Edge.