Second City’s 'She the People' Examines Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Hilariousness

Carly Heffernan of She the People

I am woman, hear me roar…with laughter is the mission of “She the People: Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters Doing it for Themselves.” Created, designed and performed by the funny feminists of The Second City, this new sketch comedy focuses on American women trying to balance family, career and cocktails amid today’s politically-challenged climate.

Carly Heffernan directs the show she’s written with Carisa Barreca, Marla Caceres, Tien Tran and Lauren Walker. Together they “bet 72 cents on the dollar that it’s time women everywhere reclaim the C-word: comedy.” To elaborate on this goal and the new show, Rebellious caught up with Heffernan herself to hear what she has to say.

Janet Arvia: Why is this show relevant, now more than ever?

Carly Heffernan: This year has shone a light on the smorgasbord of concerns for American women. On the macro you have everything from reproductive rights to under-representation in most major industries. Then there’s the daily onslaught of micro-aggressions: mansplaining, dated notions of femininity, unrealistic beauty expectations. To be able to see these very visceral challenges reflected on the stage and find humor in them is equal parts cathartic, inspiring and necessary. 

So, comedy is key when delivering political and social messages?

Comedy reflects real situations, characters and observations that the audience can relate to. I think it’s natural to be more swayed by personal experience and storytelling, and if the messenger is charming enough to make you laugh while sharing their perspective, it goes a long way to opening up a mind to new points of view.

What can audiences expect from She the People?

The world! This amazing cast and wonderful writers have created a hilarious take on today. Audiences will recognize themselves, friends, family, co-workers, even their elected officials all onstage. They’ll see situations they’ve been in and the ways they wished they could have responded if society/the law allowed it. There’s a great mix of smart, silly and straight up sexy comedy. 

Will any iconic figures be represented in the sketches?
Beyoncé will make at least a cameo because she’s the leader the world so desperately needs.

Any thoughts on what theater desperately needs?

I’ve been in comedy for almost 10 years, and this is the only project with an all-female cast and crew that I’ve ever had the privilege to work on. It’s been exciting, joyful and so very, very funny. I hope it’s an experience that gets repeated with far more frequency in the future.

“She the People” opens Sept. 29 and performs on Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. at Chicago’s UP Comedy Club on the third Floor of Piper’s Alley, 230 W North Ave. For tickets ($26+) and more information, visit www.upcomedyclub.com or call 312-337-3992. Follow Carly Heffernan on Twitter @carlyheffernan.

Photo of Carly Heffernan courtesy of The Second City.

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to contribute to our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.