How Not To Cabaret

[Content Note: sexual assault, drug abuse]

I went to see a cabaret show, and for the most part, I had fun. There was a charismatic burlesque dancer, some queer spoken word, an amazing music trio, and cheery hula hoop performers. However, this serving of cheeky entertainment came with a side of offensive material.

These were the acts I had a problem with:
  • A poem called "Ugly girls" trashing women who don't adhere to the Western standards of beauty, by a man who's previous poem (or written exercise) was about a  person with a mental disorder who stalks a girl, going as far as breaking into her home and tattooing her face on his body - a poem meant to be funny.
  • Freestyle Fictionary hip hop group played a game of "versus", which consists of having a 2 a side rap battle, and one of the subjects was cocaine vs. acid - an unnecessary glorification of drug abuse.
  • A member of said hip hop group made a gang rape joke, and when the hostess attempted to comedically protest this by pretending to whack him with her heel, he said "yeah hit me with your heel, i like that" - he couldn't have sounded more like a rapist if he had tried.
Bar the above, I enjoyed the show, it was a nice showcase of Northern talent. However, the few acts that had me sitting uncomfortable in the audience stuck with me more than any other, and I can say that I am glad I got my tickets for free, and I don't intend to pay for any coming shows. I will not post the name of the Cabaret because I have no intention of advertising them, but I will warn about Freestyle Fictionary's member SchizaFlow.

I have also sent said group a message expressing my discontent at their inappropriate material:

Hi, I was at your show last night, and I just wanted to say that I found the usage of the line "after you'd reject me, i'd get my mates and gang bang you" absolutely vile. It was out of order, and the fact that the reaction to Penella's somewhat attempt at a comedic deflection was met with "yeah baby hit me with your heel i like that" or some similar comment made it even worse. Rape jokes are never okay.
Furthermore, the glorification of drug abuse - particularly a lifestyle drug with devastating consequences such as cocaine - in your rap battle seemed highly unnecessary. Were there genuinely no other subjects that you found more engaging?
I would have found the act worthwhile if those elements hadn't been present, but all you made me think about was how glad I was that I got my tickets to the show for free, I wouldn't have paid to feel uncomfortable in my seat while hearing such things. I sincerely hope that was the first and last time you tried to make a joke out of sexual assault and drug addiction.

To which they replied:

Hi Naomi,

We are sorry to see you were offended enough to message us. We try very hard to keep our show fun and unoffensive, but due to the nature of improvisation and a charged atmosphere, this is not always possible.

The tone of the night was edgy and adult-orientated, and our performers took their cue from this, but after receiving your message we checked the publicity from [venue] and noticed there was no content disclaimer, so have fed this back to them for future events.
We work on improving our output and content and thank you for airing your feelings. Regards, Fictionary

To which I couldn't help but answer:

There is nothing adult oriented or edgy about a gang rape joke. It's simply crude and cheap. If you genuinely believe that sexual assault is a laughing matter, don't hide yourself behind "it's the venue's fault". It's not, it's your performer, and since you insist on deflecting blame, your collective mentality as well it seems. This will be the last you hear from me.

which was met with:

I’m sorry you feel this way, we stand by what we said, please feel free to complain to the venue.

Bitch ass wangsters who claim they can rap But all they do is sink to lows to get a clap They make a rape joke, then blame it on the venue Congratulations assholes, what else is on the menu? Murder? Harassment? Assault and Battery? That's why I'm cool with saying Fuck Freestyle Fictionary Bitch.

I stand by what I said.

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