On Saturday night, the Riot Theatre was packed. Half an hour before the show, tens of people were still coming into the venue, just to see the sign “Sold Out”.
“Laughing Liberally Boston”, a monthly progressive political comedy show, hit the stage on Jan. 9 at the Riot Theater in Jamaica Plain. “Laughing Liberally” acts as a national organization of comedians, unified in humor to spread left-wing ideas.
“Audience members range from politically-uninvolved Democrats to hardcore progressive activists,” Matthew Filipowicz, the show’s host, said. “And not everyone’s going to laugh at every joke. What matters is that there is a space for [people] to come together and bond over left-wing ideals.”
In Filipowicz’s opinion, humor is a great tool to point out flawed statements that some people make, especially on the political arena. Filipowicz opened the show criticizing the Republican candidate Donald Trump by calling him out on racism and sexism.
“Who does he have left to attack? Kittens?” Filipowicz said, provoking bursts of laughter from the audience.
Each “Laughing Liberally Boston” event features an interview segment with a local political figure, journalist or activist. This part of the show doesn’t involve jokes, but instead sheds light on issues that are raised by the host or the comedians.
This particular show, Laura Clawson, the labor editor of left-wing news site “Daily Kos”, shared her take on the current political situation. She specifically focused on the fact that while liberals mock Trump, many other Republican presidential candidates are not any better.
Despite the host’s emphasis on political jokes, the show was not limited to those. Comedian Kwasi Mensah, whose family is from Ghana, told personal stories of situations involving race. Once during the performance, his lighthearted mention of slavery was followed by silence as the audience toyed with how to react.
“You guys would rather me make a joke about my penis,” Mensah said.
While the subject of slavery might be taboo even at a progressive show, sex is not. Comedian Pamela Ross shared everything with the audience, from menstrual period problems to more intimate topics. Emily Rutkowski, too, brought a new layer of liberalism to the show by targeting issues of fat-shaming, based on personal stories.
The next “Laughing Liberally Boston” show will be held on February 13.