Last night, I had the immense privilege of attending the Ms. Foundation’s 19th Annual Comedy Hour at Caroline’s. The event featured several talented stand-up comics (female), an introduction by Gloria Steinem, and a large plate of grapes at the cocktail hour. I was in Heaven.
The event is entirely unwritten by Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of Caroline’s, with many additional sponsors. It was great opportunity for the Ms. Foundation to discuss many fruitful projects its been funding, and for empowered women to get on stage and assure the audience that they didn’t hate men. (I almost walked out at this point, seeing as I had really just come to male-bash, but then I thought, that’s what you have friends for! You can take a break from male-bashing to watch the show.)(sarcasm).
Actually, I know that Steinem is in complete support of men, as I saw her speak last year at 92nd St. Y with Alice Walker last year. When my darling mother grabbed my arm and dragged me through a crowd so I could meet Steinem, I was able to tell her about that. In reality, my meeting with Steinem was a horrifically awkward encounter that made me feel like I was 12. My mother pushed me up to her, took her arm and said, “This is my daughter.” (My mother had introduced herself 10 minutes earlier.)
We shook hands. Then my mom, bless her soul, said, “Remember how we were talking about how young feminists don’t exist? That’s why I thought you’d want to meet RB.”
“I didn’t say that,” Steinem said. She smile at me. “You guys are doing great. We love you guys!” (Thankfully, I resisted suggesting that she check out my total rejection of feminism in “The Man Drought.”)
Instead, I said, “Thanks. You did touch on the subject in a really interesting way at the talk with Alice Walker. I was there. That was great. Really wonderful!”
“Oh,” she said. “You’re so sweet.”
That was it. In conclusion, thanks mom, because a) I met Gloria Steinem and b) I have more evidence proving that everything I do is wildly awkward.
Luckily a night of fantastic comedy ensued, and frankly, I like being awkward, and Gloria Steinem is irrefutably awesome.
But all in all, the night was amazing. Really, the only thing that was bad about it was that we ended up missing the debate. Not only do I not know if Joe the Plumber is actually a plumber, but I missed his blessed introduction to the world. What I didn’t miss was a day full of laughter about Joe the Plumber at the office, recounted brilliantly by Liz in Plumbergate: The Rise and Fall of Joe the Plumber.
One of the most memorable parts of the evening was when Steinem, in her introduction explained, “Laughter is the only emotion that is free. You can compel fear, you can even compel love, but you laughter cannot be compelled.”
Let me be frank. It’s true that laughter cannot be compelled, and I thought this was an elegant, revelatory observation. But if Plumbergate does not compel you to laugh, there is most certainly something wrong with you.