Rape is Real and Everywhere (RIR&E) is what happens when comedians who have survived sexual assault share their experiences and joke it out. This powerful stand up comedy show started in 2015 prior to #MeToo gaining prominence, when stories were less likely to be met with, ‘We believe you.’ After a break following 2016’s sold-out, thirteen-city Canadian tour, RIR&E finally comes home. RIR&E’s Vancouver Fringe Festival September 6th opening night show is accessibly half-priced because we still need to learn, listen and laugh.
RIR&E brings together a mix of Canada’s finest pros and incredible local talent. Veteran headliners Jane Stanton (JFL, JFL Northwest, Winnipeg Comedy Festival) and Ryan Lachance (Yuk Yuks) will co-headline the Fringe run, hosted by RIR&E producer Emma Cooper (Smash Comedy Festival). Be prepared for hilarity, cathartic honesty and vulnerability.
Jane’s comedy expertly weaves themes of loss of innocence, coping and fighting back. Her tone shifts from whimsical to fiercely funny and back in a flash. Ryan, a pro comedian with quad-spastic cerebral palsy, succinctly jokes about dealing with an abusive care aide. “He was way too dedicated to his job.”
Some might balk at a seemingly flippant attitude towards a dark topic, but the show walks a tightrope balancing between humour and heartfelt. Audience members commented that the show is “an exceptional and unexpected evening of discomfort and laughter. Really excellent.” Lucia Lorenzi, a Vancouver academic, activist, and feminist twitter force sums it up neatly by stating bluntly, “This show is 100 percent funnier than being raped.”