Tonight at the Hi-Tone, five comedians and three bands will take part in a 4-hour marathon show benefitting PERL, People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws. The show is being produced by comedian and radio DJ Kate Lucas. Lucas and PERL executive director Meaghan Ybos talked to Memphis is Funny about the upcoming show, and the importance of PERL and addressing the rape kit backlog.

How did the show & fundraiser come about?

MY: Our board member Brad Watkins, the executive director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, connected me with Kate about a year ago.  I met Kate at Garibaldi’s one day and she said, “I’m thinking of a comedy show…a consensual comedy show.”  I knew right then that I loved her.

KL: Yeah, the benefit was Brad Watkins’ (Midsouth Peace and Justice Center) idea. He had been working with Meaghan and suggested that we get together to do something to raise funds and awareness for PERL. I’ve worked with local comics and musicians for a while, so I got together with some great people and lined up a show. All of our artists are donating their time to this cause. I think this is an issue that has touched more lives than people realize, and people want to help change that. I’m honored to be working with some awesome and talented people.

The benefit is for a very serious issue, how do you go about making sure the show is fun while not losing the importance of the bigger situation?

KL: PERL is taking on a very serious issue. It deals mostly with survivors. There’s a lot of strength that comes with that title, and I think humor is a big part of survival and moving forward. I want to celebrate the amazing women (and men) that are working to change the system, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than with comedy and music.

MY: Yes, the benefit is for a very serious issue: the de-facto decriminalization of sexual violence in our community.  But the show will still be fun, while not losing the importance of the bigger situation.  I am not a comic myself, but I understand that comedy is a way to address serious, awful things, and to do that with honesty.  In that sense, I can’t think of a more appropriate event for PERL than a comedy show.  Also, a fun format like (we will also have live music) this heps us engage with young people, many of whom have experienced or will experience sexual violence.

What are you most excited about for tonight?

KL: It’s been really eye opening to work with PERL, and see how the system drastically mishandles the issues of sexual and domestic assault. I am honored to be able to help get the name out there, and I always love being able to get comedians and musicians together for shows because I think you get a more diverse audience and a different vibe. Just helping out with this cause any way I can, that’s what I’m looking forward to.

MY: I am most excited to see members of our community come together tonight and celebrate not only PERL but also the local artists who have generously donated their time and talents to this cause.  Memphis has made a joke out of rape.  Now, the joke is on Memphis.

“Consensual Comedy” a fundraiser benefitting PERL, featured comedians LaToya Polk, Jada Brisentine, Katrina Coleman, Richard Douglas Jones, and Lisa Michaels, and bands the Midtown Queens, Low Society, and the Incredible Hook. The show is from 8p.m. to midnight tonight at the Hi-Tone. Entry is $10.
RSVP on the Facebook event.

People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws is a grassroots nonprofit advocacy group that monitors law enforcement response to sexual violence. More about PERL on their website.