Call Redialed: NEW Adrienne Truscott Interview: "Adrienne Truscott's One Trick Pony (Or Andy Kaufman Is A Feminist Performance Artist and I’m a Comedian)" at Joe's Pub
I LOVE Adrienne Truscott! Her comedic genius pushes the envelope every time. From rape culture to being labeled a feminist performance artist, Adrienne tackles it all in her comedy shows.
Her latest show, Adrienne Truscott’s One Trick Pony (Or Andy Kaufman Is A Feminist Performance Artist and I’m a Comedian) is no exception! The title alone peaked my interest and after seeing this show in June at Joe's Pub, I can't stop thinking about it. Adrienne brings up a great point about her style of comedy as compared to that of Andy Kaufman. It's such a smart show! Part stand-up comedy, part multi-media, part wrestling, this show combines many aspects of performing into one.
Adrienne will be bringing Adrienne Truscott’s One Trick Pony (Or Andy Kaufman Is A Feminist Performance Artist and I’m a Comedian) back to Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street) for two more performances, Saturday, August 4 at 9:30pm and Sunday, September 23 at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!
1. In June, I just saw your fantastic new show Adrienne Truscott’s One Trick Pony (Or Andy Kaufman Is A Feminist Performance Artist and I’m a Comedian) at Joe's Pub. When did you come up with the idea for this show? Thanks for coming! Well, it occurred to me immediately - why am I called "a feminist performance artist" and someone like Andy Kaufman was always called a comedian - and he never told jokes. Once I had debuted Adrienne Truscott's Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else! at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe I was psyched that I had done an hour of stand up (about rape culture and rape jokes, sure, but seriously someone had to do it!) and I noticed that I was referred to not as a 'comedian' but as a 'feminist performance artist' - every show I've ever made was humor-based and I'd finally done stand up and I wondered why the distinction. Was it because it was about rape? Was it because I didn't wear pants? I just had the "balls" to take my pants off on stage instead of in "green rooms" - fuck, if I was a dude, dropped my pants in a green room and then did an hour of rape jokes in 2013 I'd be an American hero and have gotten a special on Comedy Central!
2. What did you learn from this show that will now inform your August/September run? Well, this is a little heady perhaps but this show started out as a failure - critics hated it when I first did it - I think they wanted something more obviously political like Asking For It, but I was trying to make a show that behaved like a failure because I was pretty sure I might have second album syndrome! But I loved this show even if critics didn't - so I just said fuck it and kept doing it - and it's gotten better and better, and has found really fun audiences. I think maybe it is a show that's more New York-y than I realized. But here's the thing - I don't think women and female-presenting artists get much in the way of second chances if they fail - so I decided failing was a feminist act thought fuck it - think about it - John Travolta is still making movies! I'm not just going to put the show away because some (mostly male) critics didn't like it. Failing or at least looking it in the face feels like a feminist act and that makes the show even more fun for me!
3. One of my favorite parts of the show was the wrestling. Are you ever nervous that the person you pick will take the wrestling too far? Ironically, it's usually the opposite. I'm worried they won't wrestle me properly because they think I'm small or not strong enough and then the wrestling is boring for me and for the audience. There's nothing worse than wrestling someone who won't come at you - like shaking a limp hand. Oh boy though, once I picked this huge guy and I don't think he like the show and I jumped at him but he body slammed me and I landed backwards on my head. He was like a fucking truck! ! I genuinely thought I had a concussion. The best was once I thought I was just picking a big strong guy and he turned out to be a pro-wrestler Colt Cabana. Another time the person I picked was a critic reviewing the show - so I got to, at long last, literally wrestle with my "reviews." So sweet. (He loved the show and was a great sport and wrestler!).
4. What is something you wrestle with today that you would like to resolve? I wrestle with trying to write this book that I'm working on so that I don't put my body through these kinds of things all the time! And my ego wrestles with frustration that no one picked up Asking For It as a special on Comedy Central, HBO or Netflix, etc. There are now shows that came after mine - great shows - which were directly influenced by mine and they have filmed specials - I know my show was a game-changer and it took guts to do it five years ago, before #metoo was viral, before #TimesUp - and I think it would have been great for women and men who don't live in cities with clubs and theaters to see it - but that's just me being mortifyingly honest!
5. How do you hope this show will change the way people see you? Oh, no biggie, I just hope they will now see me as THE inter-gender comedy wrestler of all time?
6. What do you feel is something people should know about this show before coming to it? That they won't see another show like it any time soon.
7. Which part of the show makes you the most nervous to perform in front of an audience? I don't think I have an answer for that. I don't get nervous. Not because I'm a badass but because I think I know what I'm doing well enough to do it or I wouldn't do it. And I think this show is twisty, twisted and super fun.
8. What did/do you admire most about Andy Kaufman? His commitment to a gag and his manipulation of context. It was beyond banana cakes brilliant.
9. If you could ask Andy Kaufman any question, what is something you'd like to know from him? Easy, I'd ask him if he'd like to wrestle me.
10. I have a component to my interviews called "I Can See Clearly Now" where I try to clear up misconceptions about my interviewees. What do you feel is the biggest misconception out there about yourself that you would just like to clear up right now? That there's no point to putting me in a category. I make all kinds of different things - dances, theater shows, articles, essays, stand up shows - switching things up is part of my process. Or maybe that I am very happily a feminist performance artist who switches contexts and genres at my own discretion who uses nudity to address how we see "female" bodies AND to sell tickets, that I'm gimmicky as fuck and I'm aware of all of that and happy as a clam about it.
Thanks for interviewing me!
More on Adrienne:
Adrienne Truscott is a choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer and as of late, comedian. She has been making genre-straddling work in New York City and abroad for over 15 years and has performed at the Brisbane Festival, Edinburgh, Adelaide, Melbourne Comedy, Brighton and Perth Fringe Festivals, as well as the Sydney Opera House, and many other iconic venues. She has worked with cult cabaret legends Kiki and Herb, Meow Meow, and John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus).