Girls Beware: Are You People? at Arcade Comedy Theater finds humor in sexist advertising

Girls Beware: Are You People? at Arcade Comedy Theater finds humor in sexist advertising
click to enlarge Artwork for Girls Beware: Are You People? - PHOTO: HANNAH LEVINSON OPPER

Photo: Hannah Levinson Opper

Artwork for Girls Beware: Are You People?

Let’s go back to the so-called good old days, when hot dogs cost a nickel, and ads pressured women to smoke during pregnancy and give their infants Coca-Cola. 

The latter will get a healthy dose of spoofing during Girls Beware: Are You People?, an all-female improv show at Arcade Comedy Theater on Sat., Jan. 28.

Producer Hannah Levinson Opper says she will join several other women to create original performances inspired by projected educational videos and ads primarily from the 1940s and 1950s. She describes the concept as “an improvised Mad Men, with a group of female improvisers exploring the world of women created by men in a writers’ room.”

She came up with Girls Beware: Are You People? after noticing how strongly people reacted to the old educational videos she used as a backdrop to a musical performance she did in New York City.

“After the show, everyone kept focusing on how absurd the video was, which was weird to me because in my mind I was like, ‘What about those epic song lyrics?’” she says.

She believes the clips resonate with audiences because of how backward they seem now, especially in the era of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement. She curated much of content and reflects on how strange, and even dangerous, much of it seems. She cites one especially weird ad from the 1930s in which a toilet paper company claimed their competitor’s product was “full of splinters.”

“The blatant sexism and lack of product research at the time is inherently humorous, and honestly sort of horrifying, but we aim to explore it through the comedic perspective,” says Levinson Opper.

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