A seven-foot wall of donated tampons made a colorful backdrop to a Thursday night event that brought four Bay Area comics out to tell their best, worst, and most outrageous menstruation stories. We’re still gushing over how the event raised $5,100 for San Francisco nonprofit Simply the Basics to provide free hygiene products to the homeless, and collected more than 500 boxes of menstrual products to hand out as well.
“Having a period is stigmatized no matter what socioeconomic class you’re in,” says comedian Kelly Anneken, who hosts the Handmaid’s Tale recap podcast Red All Over. “It’s got to be even harder if you’re somebody who lacks the resources to handle your period.”
Headliner Dhaya Lakshminarayanan engaged in some puppet action with her handheld maxipad puppet Maxi, festooned with googly eyes, pipe cleaner limbs, and tiny sandals. “She’s someone I have around to remind me of my friendship with ‘my friend,’ Lakshminarayanan tells SF Weekly. “Menstruation is so much less gross than snotty boogers and everything else that comes with the flu, so why not talk about this?”
The topic of period sex came up often, in particular, how to get oral during that time of month. “My clit ain’t on its period,”quips Aviva Siegel.
Host of the monthly Mermaid Show at Exit Theater Cafe Kristee Ono tells of how she hacks homemade tampons in a pinch. “You just mash stuff together and hope that it works,” Ono says. “My greatest invention is wrapping toilet paper into a little strip. For ladies, there’s this little pocket-like thing in your underpants. You can stuff it in there and it stays and catches stuff. But it’s not something that really works long-term.”
The event was held at Reddit headquarters. “I’m really excited to do a show here at Reddit, the company that gave us the Red Pill,” Anneken says, referring to the notorious online antifeminist forum. “Can I get an amen? Can I get an a men’s rights?”
But Reddit has been extremely generous to this cause, with staff donating hundreds of boxes of hygiene products and toiletries in recent weeks. “We just joined the Tenderloin neighborhood recently when we moved into this building,” a Reddit spokesperson tells SF Weekly. “It’s really important for us to be good neighbors to the communities we’re in physically. We walk by Simply the Basics everyday.”
Simply the Basics CEO Meghan Freebeck was thrilled with the $5,100 total raised. “It goes to provide basic needs for people experiencing homelessness,” she says, also noting there are Period Parties regularly. “Every other month we have a different event. We’ve had panelists, we’ve had spa days, we do different themes. But we’ll definitely want to repeat this one.
Audience members were also allowed to come up and tell their own period stores, highlighted by Rebecca Gray’s performance of the delightful song “My First Period” seen below.