Comedy

2 Comedians Talk and Sing Frankly About Being Rape Victims in Survivors Are Horny Too

New York comedians Kelly Bachman and Dylan Adler perform a song in their two-person show Rape Victims Are Horny Too, a comedy that deals with the trauma of sexual assault survivors. The duo is bringing the show to Dallas on Wednesday at the Dallas Comedy Club.
New York comedians Kelly Bachman and Dylan Adler perform a song in their two-person show Rape Victims Are Horny Too, a comedy that deals with the trauma of sexual assault survivors. The duo is bringing the show to Dallas on Wednesday at the Dallas Comedy Club. Jordan Asleigh
So many of the news stories surrounding comedy these days seem to involve a portion of a comic's audience getting upset over their choice of material. The truth is that comedy is still going through a renaissance in which performers can confront dark, uncomfortable subjects in ways that take into account the humor's effect on different audiences.

Take, for instance, the New York-based comedy duo of Kelly Bachman and Dylan Adler. They've been performing a two-person musical comedy show called Rape Victims Are Horny, Too that will take the stage at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dallas Comedy Club (it's under the name Survivors Are Horny, Too at the request of the club).

"It's a very genuine show," Bachman says. "We're not laughing at the idea of rape. We're laughing at the experiences we've had with healing. It's an unfortunate experience for a lot of people."

Bachman and Adler started their show in 2019 at New York venues such as Caveat and the Upright Citizens Brigade theater before the latter closed in 2020. Bachman hosted a stand-up show called Rape Jokes By Survivors where she, Adler and other comics talked openly about their sexual assaults and the changes and feelings it created in them.


"That was something I put together because when the MeToo movement was getting a lot of traction or movement at the end of 2017; there were a lot of comedians making jokes about rape that were really punching down on victims," Bachman says. "I didn't want to ask anyone not to tell jokes like that, but I would rather hear jokes from survivors ... about their experiences. The stuff I was seeing wasn't what I was interested in hearing about the topic."

The pandemic put their show plans on hold the following year, so Bachman and Adler took the time to write songs about the touchy subject. They performed them online and took it back to theaters all over New York City.

"We're not laughing at the idea of rape. We're laughing at the experiences we've had with healing." - Kelly Bachman

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"Talking about it, it was difficult to write, but to talk about shared experiences so deeply with her and write material out of it was really cathartic to perform the show together," Adler says. "The feeling is not linear and I think I was kind of working through certain things and other facets of trauma that I kind of repressed."

The goal of their show is to bring out the feelings they held for years in hope people recognize them and come to terms with them in their own way. Adler says the only way to do that is to be honest about their feelings even if they are difficult for some to talk about in a serious context.

"For us, we were just very excited to try working on material that felt very charged and very personal, like things that we were still processing and some things that we haven't processed yet and making something that makes us laugh out of darkness," Adler says. "Fear was really transformative, and I feel like people were very drawn to that, which meant a lot to hear."


Instead of punching down, Bachman says they are punching at the feelings and experiences they went through in order to overcome them.

"The best way I describe it is we're kind of the Weird Al of rape," Bachman says with a laugh. "We do a lot of song parodies, and we make it about our trauma, and I'll do stand-up in between the songs. We have a cover of Abba called Trauma-Mia, Here We Go Again and Shania Twain's Man, I Feel Like a Victim. We had so much fun writing it and it came out of us so fast because it felt good to laugh. It was like therapy together."

The show isn't just about their emotions. The goal is to help people in the audience who are fellow survivors to confront and feel unafraid about sharing how they really feel.

"A lot of people who come are fellow survivors," Adler says. "People will message and say it was very cathartic, and I appreciate you talk about this kind of stuff. I feel like so many people feel that but they can't assert that or say it. The message of the show is we want people to feel able to be open and express their truth and how that trauma has affected them. That's a big goal for the show." 

Dallas Comedy Club, 3036 Elm St. (Deep Ellum). Doors open at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17. Tickets, $11.75, can be found on prekindle.com.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.