Comedian Jen Kirkman on life at 44 and Louis C.K.

Jean MacBride, Staff Writer

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Tommy Lau
Comedian Jen Kirkman took over the stage at Vermont Comedy Club with bootcut jeans and plenty of stories to tell.

Although best known for being a regular roundtable panelist on “Chelsea Lately,” Kirkman had plenty of new material about life as a woman and comedian.

She relished being 44 years old and not caring what other people think. She explained that being in your 20s is stressful and being in your 30s is maddening because of people’s expectations.

Kirkman showed how she defied these expectations from the start. She said she was happy not having kids, especially since the United Nations report on climate change said they wouldn’t live long anyway.

She hilariously related how the faith she was raised with influenced her. She recalled how she was taught by her Catholic mother not to pray too often or someone else with greater issues would be unable to get through.

Although Kirkman exuded a cheerful welcoming presence, she was adept at talking about the inequities of sexism, despite addressing her relationship with Louis C.K. in a way that left something to be desired.

Kirkman easily suggested whirling your arms around in a move called the windmill to become an undesirable target for male aggression. She also observed that every day was Halloween for women, so there was no need for them to experience haunted corn mazes.   

When she addressed her relationship with Louis C.K., she emphasized how women are told not to tell rape jokes while men are, but avoided condemning Louis C.K.’s behavior beyond the realm of practicing comedy.

Maybe this is to be expected from a comedian who doesn’t want to take things too seriously, but nevertheless, I found it disappointing. Louis C.K. did more than tell jokes, he exposed and assaulted women, and I felt the emphasis on what Louis C.K. said inadvertently downplayed what he did.

Despite condemning Louis C.K.’s behavior in a twitter feed, I believe Kirkman as a self-proclaimed feminist should do better at acknowledging the awful behavior of men, even if they’re her associates.

Forgetting this misstep, Kirkman was delightful to watch. Witty and cool, she easily engaged the audience with jokes woven into epic stories of modern life. It is no wonder that Kirkman has two Netflix specials to her name since it’s so pleasurable to fall into her jokes.

She left a hole in the room when she left but had given plenty of jokes for us to remember her by.