You don’t have to guess what Kate Clinton’s going to be talking about during this surreal election year, but that doesn’t affect the anticipation around how she’ll articulate people’s fears and concerns. And her current show doesn’t disappoint. It might be gallows humor, but it’s much-needed gallows humor.
Clinton assures us that this is definitely a wake-up call, and the call is this: Hell is on the way. Scary funny. And yet in this bizarre political landscape, having Kate Clinton reflect back, empathize, and express with sublime humor the fear of that outcome is somehow very reassuring. Things can’t go too far off-track, one feels, as long as she is here and talking about them.
She cannot avoid the national sick fascination with the Republican Party and the “giant vulgar talking yam” that’s its nominee for president. “I’m Trump-grumpy,” she confesses, to hoots of laughter and nods of agreement. Referring to the convention speeches, she observes that Trump’s daughters all resemble blonde Bond girls, while his son has the look of a creepy preppy killer. “For the first time in my life, I had to get up and sage the TV,” she says, and, again, there are nods along with the laughter: this audience is completely with her.
She’s not just taking aim at Trump, though: Bernie Sanders—a man who “combs his hair with a balloon”—gets his share of the Kate Clinton ire. And there’s more. “Last year we were here celebrating marriage equality,” she reminds the audience, “partying like we were the Secret Service.” How far we’ve come since then! Like many of us, Clinton wonders about the weird attraction to making laws around porcelain: “You know you’ve got a bona fide civil rights movement when it comes back to the bathroom,” she says, enumerating recent states’ anti-transgender laws.
Provincetown itself doesn’t escape her sharp eye and sharper tongue; it’s “the town that theme weeks built.” She zeroes in on women’s presence in particular, connecting Baby Dyke weekend, Girl Splash, and Women’s Week, and mourning that we no longer have the “running of the mullets.” She brought proposals to the PBG, she shares: create an analog week, during which visitors would have to leave their devices at the border (“Truro will pay for it”) and also the option of making the town a tax haven (“we already have all these shell shops”).
She deftly connects Orlando with Stonewall—“do not mess with our party space”—and complains that really it’s gay people who effectuate change: “Now we have to change the gun laws. We have to do everything around here!” But if you really want change, she adds, you have to elect women, and she proposes a new group: Old Bats for Hillary.
The humor may be tinged with sadness this year, but “it’s just nice to be together,” Clinton says, and everyone has to agree. The world out there is scary. Let Kate Clinton make it a little more bearable for you.
Kate Clinton presents Wake Up Call at the Paramount at the Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St., Thursdays – Saturdays at 7 p.m. through September 4. For tickets ($25) and information, call 508.487.1430 or visit onlyatthecrown.com.