Progressively More Sexy
Radio host Stephanie Miller gets her Long on this Saturday
By Richard Whittaker, 1:29PM, Wed. Nov. 9, 2011
Some people just cannot take a joke. Since Stephanie Miller launched her Sexy Liberal comedy tour, she has had venues cancel, and her tour website and Twitter account hacked. "We're just laughing," said Miller.
It's not surprising that she's seeing the bright side. The show, which only started gestating in May, has already pulled in over a million dollars in ticket sales. Miller said, "I guess it makes the right wing crazy to see liberals succeeding at capitalism."
Along with fellow political humorists Hal Sparks and John Fugelsang, Miller has been touring the country for a night of comedy and audience Q&A. The liberal tastes of the show seem to have annoyed someone: Before their recent Los Angeles, show, one mapping website got hacked to show that the venue was closed. "Like I said at the show, 'Nice try, idiots. I guess liberals are smart enough to use Mapquest."
Although it is nowhere near as controversial a title as Sarah Silverman's recent Live from N*****head, the comedienne and star of the syndicated The Stephanie Miller Show has already taken some serious flack for the innocuously-titled tour. "The name of the show started as a joke," she said. "We think it's sexy to be liberal. It means you're empathetic and you're open minded. But the bonus is how it has annoyed the right wing."
The conservative resistance has been surprising, and there have even been venues that have canceled after their boards of directors got cold feet. Producer Roland Scahill said, "I was dumbfounded." However, those moments have been balanced out by the positive progressive response: Even though her show is not carried locally, local fans launched a Facebook campaign to get Sexy Liberal on an Austin stage. Scahill said, "We felt a necessity on our end to listen to these fans."
Much of the tour's crazy booking schedule has been driven either by social media demand, or last-minute urges to head to where another progressive voice might be needed. For example, Fugelsang suggested a quick trip to Madison, Wisconsin to help with the recall elections. Scahill said, "A thousand seats sold out in less than 48 hours. I got the ticket counts and thought there must be something wrong with their ticket services."
That kind of response has meant the tour is able to donate to local and national progressive charities and causes at each stop, like the Wisconsin recall effort, MarriageEqualityUSA in New York, and the Trevor Project. Miller said, "You get to the point where you think, 'This isn't really a show. It's kind of like a movement.'"
If the tour goes right, Central Texas residents may not have to resort to Internet streams and live shows to get their fix of Miller. As Republicans overreach and conservatives try to tighten their cultural stranglehold, liberals and progressives are becoming more vocal. She said, "The cities like Austin and Fort Lauderdale, where we don't have a radio station any more, this is part of my syndicaters going back to these companies and markets and going, 'Why are you saying there's no demand for progressive radio, when this show with no station has sold out?'"
The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour. 7pm, Sat, Nov. 12. The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside. $25-$129. www.sexyliberal.com.