140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.)
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Comedienne Jennifer Blaine plays eight real-life superwomen—including Madeline Albright, Arianna Huffington, and Cindy Sheehan—along with her beloved character Ruth, an elderly woman with a penchant for dirty jokes. Together they conspire to save the world. "Blaine's comic genius is like Lily Tomlin and Tracey Ullman.” Philadelphia Daily News.
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“Dirty Joke” centers on one of Jennifer’s most popular characters: Ruth, an elderly Jewish woman with a penchant for off-color humor. Ruth sings, dances, tells jokes, and makes light out of the dark moment in which she finds herself -- struggling to hold onto her apartment. As Ruth convenes the first live “Superwoman Conference” (which includes 1 man), Jennifer portrays 8 real-life changemakers who have made a significant impact on our world:
Madeleine Albright: The first female U.S. Secretary of State, who advocated for democracy and human rights;
Arianna Huffington: President and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of 13 books—twice named to the Time 100;
Caroline Casey: Blind Irish activist who rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sightsavers;
Kiran Bir Sethi: Pioneering Indian educator who founded the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, focused on engaging young people and making cities more child-friendly;
Majora Carter: Founder of Sustainable South Bronx who coined the term “Green The Ghetto,” and the recipient of MacArthur “genius” Fellowship;
Cindy Sheehan: American anti-war activist who protested outside of President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch after her son was killed during the Iraq War;
Wangari Maathai: Nobel Prize-winning Kenyan activist who, as founder of the Green Belt Movement, planted millions of trees with women’s groups;
Muhammad Yunus: Nobel Prize-winning “banker to the poor” who established Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, fueled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right.
Beyond celebrating each individual’s incredible accomplishments, Jennifer brings to life their lesser-known and very relatable struggles, fears, and insights. Jennifer explains, “When I craft a character, I start from an inner sense of who the person is and what motivates them. I study their history, listen to them speak and zero in on their gestures, posture and gait. Then there comes a shifts from being just a snippet into a living, breathing tribute.”
Inspired by one of Jennifer’s relatives, the character of Ruth challenges the audience’s expectations of what an elderly person will say or do. Although she is deeply attached to her home and her intention to keep it, she willingly enters into other character’s worlds and worldviews. Ruth provides the throughline of comic relief because, as Jennifer explains, “Laughter is a gateway to talking and thinking about larger social justice issues.”
“Dirty Joke” marks Jennifer’s 4th collaboration with director and fellow Wesleyan University graduate Vashti Dubois -- who conceived of and produced the critically acclaimed 2012 Philly Fringe show “EvictionProof PeepShow Home.” Vashti co-founded the Mumbo Jumbo Theatre Company in NYC in the 1980s, championing female artists of color such as Lynn Nottage and Lisa Gay Hamilton.