Comedian Who Left Second City Over Racist Audiences Is Back With 'Crowd Sourced'
By Chicagoist_Guest in News on Nov 18, 2016 8:28PM
Peter Kim, photo via Second City.
By Peter Kim
What the fuck is going on? Are we dead? Is this hell?
A few weeks back, before the election, pre-full-blown-apocalypse, I left The Second City due to an overwhelming increase in hate speech from Trump supporters and others in the audience. And now, just days after the election, we are seeing a surge of hate crimes across the country, all in the name of their golden haired demagogue: Donald Trump. I feel like this is the perfect moment to gloat and say “I told you so!” but that would just be petty.
For a gay Korean comic who relies heavily on exercising his 1st Amendment right, now is truly a frightening time to be alive. Every day, I walk with my head held high, knowing that just for being me, for believing in my right to be treated as a human amongst other humans, I am prime target for a hate crime. I know that as a live performer, if I offend someone in the audience, he might wait for me outside the theater to physically retaliate against my verbal slings and arrows. But, I took a free introductory Capoeira class, so I’m totally cool.
That’s a lie. The truth is, I still feel uneasy walking into Piper’s Alley. I want to say that I’m totally over the trauma, but I’m really not. So I felt very uncomfortable knowing that I had to go back into that building for a show that I booked Monday nights in the Training Center before I quit.
During the summer, when assholes from all over the country were coming to my shows and screaming obscenities, I happened to watch Todd Barry’s “Crowd Work Tour” on one of my off nights. It’s a road documentary about a comic touring different cities and only performing crowd work. It made me really sad that he was having so much fun with his crowds while I was getting beat up by mine.
So I decided to start a show where I talked to my audience members and dialogue with them in a healthy way. I was sick and tired of being afraid of my audience members, I wanted to have fun again.
The Trump blindside is still something I’m processing. I haven’t slept soundly in days and everything tastes like the cardboard box that shredded wheat comes in. I’m not interested in ever being caught off guard again. Instead, I’m interested in starting the process of dialogue with people of all political backgrounds, yes, even Gary Johnson voters. (Yes, I almost threw up typing that.)
So this is an open invitation to everyone to please come participate. Let us meet eye to eye and talk face to face about what the fuck just happened. Let’s delight in the levity of comedy and find relief from the common human condition. We’ve had two shows so far, and it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I think people are in need of comedy more than ever, especially shows like this where we get to know each other and roast each other in a safe environment.
Given our President-elect’s (almost vomited again) penchant for respecting women, we will be donating proceeds to Planned Parenthood, because I believe that if we don’t protect women—our largest oppressed demographic—the rest of us don’t have a chance in hell. And believe me, we are definitely in hell. The next show, on Monday Nov. 21, will also be crowd sourcing Thanksgiving for the Night Ministry, so bring canned and non-perishable goods.
Peter Kim is a Chicago based writer and performer whose credits include The Second City e.t.c., Laugh Factory, Chicago Magazine and Vox.com. His new show ‘Crowd Sourced w/ Peter Kim’ will be playing a limited run Monday nights in November at the Judy’s Beat Lounge @ The Second City.