Now playing until April 16, out lesbian activist and standup comedian Judy Gold brings a new one woman show to New York, and this time she’s serious.
The solo performance, which she has co-written with Eddie Sarfaty, is based on her book of the same title, which criticizes everybody from the extreme Left to the far Right for killing the art of standup comedy.
Her book Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble, becomes a solo performance in which the comedy veteran is taking to the stage to tell the fascists and crybabies to pipe down and let free speech be free. Yes, I Can Say That! is part standup comedy routine and part lecture on why the art of standup is under threat. To lose that art effectively means something is wrong with our Democracy. Gold cites what happens to comics in countries like China, Egypt and Afghanistan, where they are routinely arrested or even put to death — all for speaking openly.
She reminds us that persecution also happens in the USA, where Lenny Bruce was famously harassed by police and arrested for obscenity — whereas Gold believes he was arrested for speaking out against atrocities such as the Vietnam War. Gold takes us through her career as a Jewish, at first closeted lesbian, through her journey of parenthood, celebrity, and coming out, and introduces us to her heroes, Totie Fields, Phyllis Diller, and Joan Rivers, and using slides, anecdotes and comic bits, builds a case for why we need stand-up comedy and why it shouldn’t be censored. It’s a fun and moving night out and yes, there are still plenty of laughs to be had!
Gold has invited celebrity talk-back guests for select performances: Friday March 24: Sandra Bernhard (Actress and radio host, “American Horror Story NYC;” Sandyland); Friday March 31: BD Wong (Director, Yes, I Can Say That!; Tony Award winner, M. Butterfly); Friday April 14: Mary Trump (Author, Too Much and Never Enough; The Reckoning).
This is a show full of fire, anger, and a little mirth as Gold defends her profession (unless it’s Bill Cosby) and reminds us that standup comedy is one of the last forms that can speak truth to power under the guise of entertainment. Silencing comedians mean we do not live in a Democracy.
Yes, I Can Say That! features scenic design and wardrobe styling by Lex Liang (Penelope, or How the Odyssey Was Really Written), lighting design by Anshuman Bhatia (New Golden Age), sound design by Kevin Heard (¡Americano!), and projection design by Shawn Duan (Letters of Suresh). Nikki Lint (The Band’s Visit National Tour) serves as Production Stage Manager.
Tickets to Yes, I Can Say That! begin at $25 and are available now at 59e59.org.