Words by Jacqueline Avery

Rape is a “taboo topic” in just about any form, so it seems strange for a self-proclaimed feminist and seasoned performer like Adrienne Truscott to be using it as the basis for an hour-long comedy show titled Asking For It. But don’t worry; it’s not in a Daniel Tosh kind of way.

“I don’t ever make a joke about rape, the act,” Truscott says, “because obviously there’s nothing funny about that. But I think there’s a great deal of stuff surrounding it, from the way it’s talked about to how it’s voted on, that can be comedy.”

She points out that in many ways, comedy is the best way to broach commonly avoided subjects. “People are disturbingly comfortable with the idea that in a group of 100 people, there will be one or two or likely more women who’ve been raped. I think a far less comfortable scenario is to point out that someone in that group has raped somebody.”

Hilarious, right? Well, not typically, but Adrienne Truscott seems to make it work, if the popularity of Asking For It at the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond is anything to go by. Of course, at the Edinburgh Fringe the show was free, on at 10pm and involved a half naked lady, so I doubt Adrienne had any trouble attracting an audience there.

Her decision to be so naked when discussing such a potentially offensive topic might seem like overkill, but to Adrienne the half nudity is a crucial part of the shows message. “I’m dressed up, wearing make-up, drinking real booze and I have no pants on. According to the logic of somebody asking for it, that would be really asking for it.”

But by taking it to this extreme, Truscott highlights the true absurdity of that whole idea. “It doesn’t take a girl in a miniskirt, it takes someone prepared to rape that girl in a miniskirt.”

Although this is her first solo stand-up comedy show, Adrienne Truscott is not new to comedy or new to on-stage nudity for that matter, having been performing in the Wau Wau Sisters for more than ten years. This means that Adrienne is in a powerful position when she’s on stage, naked or not.

“I think there’s really empowering ways for women to perform naked and I think I know how to do that, I think I’ve done it long enough and I’m a mature enough performer to do that in a way that’s progressive and interesting.”

Asking For It is exactly what the ‘is it okay to joke about rape?’ argument needs: a brilliant (and brilliantly funny) woman who can stand up in a largely male-dominated form and upstage those who are making lazy, uninformed ‘rape jokes’… without even putting her pants on.

Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else is on at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 27 March to 20 April.