One Billion Laughing is stand-up for a good cause
One Billion Laughing is a comedy event in which female comedians tell jokes to raise money for powerful causes. It takes place Tuesday night in Queens.
For Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show," the best way to fight injustice is to laugh at it.
Tuesday night, a live audience will have the chance to do just that at One Billion Laughing, an all-night comedy event at The Creek and The Cave (www.creeklic.com) in Long Island City, featuring some of New York’s top women in improv and stand-up.
The event is being held in conjunction with Eve Ensler’s annual Valentine’s Day One Billion Rising campaign, a global movement combating violence against women and girls. It will benefit Lady Parts Justice, Winstead’s reproductive rights initiative. Lady Parts Justice blends comedy and advocacy to combat bills in state legislatures that threaten women’s bodily autonomy.
“There are so many nut-bars who get elected and do and say these crazy things,” Winstead said. “I thought, what if I got the funniest comedians and writers together, and we launched an assault on the people who propose these laws?” One of LPJ’s viral videos features comedian Sarah Silverman mocking a Texas law requiring women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds to get an abortion.
“When a bunch of strong women in comedy get together and say something is important, it’s time to listen up — they know what they’re talking about,” Winstead said. The comedy marathon kicks off at 6 p.m. with improv, and stand-up begins at 8. Winstead will perform alongside women including Sabrina Jalees of "Best Week Ever," and Bonnie MacFarlane, of "Last Comic Standing" and "Comedy Central Presents." Tickets are $50, including a silent auction and open bar.
The event was co-produced by The Creek and The Cave owner Rebecca Trent and stand-up comic Peggy O’Leary, who will also perform on the show. Like Winstead, O’Leary sees comedy and reproductive rights advocacy as a good match.
“Comedy is a male-driven industry, so the women who do it are already saying, ‘We can do whatever the boys can do,’” O’Leary said. “The idea of a bunch of old white men telling us what we can do with our bodies is totally against who we are.”
Although the proceeds will go toward Ensler’s efforts against domestic violence and Winstead’s awareness campaigns, O’Leary stressed that the tone of the evening will be more fun than serious.
“The women on this show are so, so funny,” O’Leary said. “Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be some big romantic thing. Let’s all have a good time.”