Brooke Van Poppelen, right, and Kyle June Williams are raising money for a new organization every month.EXPAND
Brooke Van Poppelen, right, and Kyle June Williams are raising money for a new organization every month.
Courtesy Brooke Van Poppelen and Kyle June Williams

Two Local Comedians Are Standing Up to Trump's Nonsense With Pussy Control

Perhaps the one thing we can thank Donald Trump for is the recent influx of benefit shows. In L.A., there’s no shortage of talent to tap to bring out an audience who will gladly donate their dollars to a worthy cause. And now there’s a new monthly comedy/variety show where every event supports a different worthy cause.

Comedians Kyle June Williams (Squirrel Comedy) and Brooke Van Poppelen (truTV’s Hack My Life) took cues from NYC pal Giulia Rozzi, who organized a comedy show as a Planned Parenthood benefit that was so popular, it sold out immediately, and they had to hold extra shows.

“I wanted to do a show every month where all the proceeds would benefit a different charity or organization that directly goes against what Trump and his idiotic gaggle of men stand for,” Williams says. “Last month was the L.A. LAGBT center, this month is Planned Parenthood.”

They’re calling it Pussy Control this month, for obvious reasons. Williams, who produces the successful variety show Squirrel Comedy, says this likely will be the biggest show she’s planned.

“I’ve been waiting for comedy to have a deeper meaning,” Van Poppelen says. “Postelection when everyone came out of the fog of bewilderment, it was three weeks of being really untethered. We refocused, and people started connecting and said, ‘Let’s get mobilized, fight back, donate money to people we love.’”

Van Poppelen says next on the list are #NoDAPL organizations and the ACLU, among others. Every show will be themed around the charity or nonprofit, so this month’s is heavy on the ladies, featuring Phoebe Robinson, Sarah Schaefer, Nicole Byer and Amanda Seales, with Guy Branum as the lovely token gentleman. Female drag queen extraordinaire Wendy Ho and a Supremes cover band called Nasty Woman will play music, and a ton of prizes like VIP passes to Chelsea Lately will be raffled off — there are also extra-special secret guests. But what Van Poppelen seems most excited about is that this isn’t just a benefit show; it’s a salon of sorts.

“We’ve got representatives from Planned Parenthood actually coming in to speak to everyone. And we hope people come early and stay late, because we want this to be a place where people can talk and connect,” Van Poppelen says. “I think the whole mood is going to be celebratory. Obviously we’ve got a bunch of clowns onstage, and the Planned Parenthood talk may take a serious turn … but I want it to. It is serious.”

They’ll be handing out programs at the show, but those will double as activist tools by listing organizations and governmental representatives, with phone numbers and websites, so everyone feels that they have the tools to make at least one phone call for something that matters. Van Poppelen says that idea came from her monthly meetup, Lady League, which started as a group to network over cocktails.

“Our first two meetings, we went bowling,” she laughs. “Now it’s like we have to topple the patriarchy.”

While Williams and Van Poppelen are the producers of the series, Van Poppelen stresses that the two are wide open to collaboration, a thought that grew stronger after L.A.’s successful Women’s March.

“I had this feeling like, ‘Are some of the women at this march just in it for the selfie?’” Van Poppelen says. “It just brought up a lot of conversations about the idea of white feminism, and I’m not saying I’m not guilty myself. But I wondered if all the Planned Parenthood love was just feel-good stuff for white ladies, while black women and Latino women face very layered and unaddressed challenges.”

This is the kind of frank talk you might not see at other comedy shows, but Williams and Van Poppelen are ready to Make American Comedy Deep Again.

Two Local Comedians Are Standing Up to Trump's Nonsense With Pussy Control (2)EXPAND
Courtesy Brooke Van Poppelen and Kyle June Williams

Pussy Control, Hotel Café, 1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Jan. 29, doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. $20.

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