“There Is No Good News Around Roe in 2022”: Alison Leiby on Performing Oh God, a Show About Abortion

Alison Leiby stars in this year’s breakout comedy performance, Oh my god, an abortion show. It’s a 70-minute record of what happened when she found out she was pregnant – at the age of 35, with someone she had no relationship with – while on tour in Missouri. 2019. Perhaps asking what happened makes it sound thrilling, but the whole point isn’t: Leiby, who has performed for 12 years and writes for shows like Miraculous Madame Maisel, back to New York for an abortion.

But the show she’s been performing since the start of 2020, has taken on new urgency since the leak of documents, published May 2, showed that the Supreme Court voted to overturned Roe v. Wade. Cynthia Nixon on opening night on May 9 with Marisa Tomei and posted on Instagram, “So this is a MUST.” The show even had its own viral moment when Anna Wintour was caught at the premiere having to show her vaccination pass and photo ID to get in. It was so popular that the show extended its run at the Cherry Lane Theater in the West Village until June 30.

But this is not something to look at purely as duty. Leiby’s show is actually very funny, with memorable digressions about a botanical shop called Grdn and the counterfeiting of birth control pills. There are also parts that feel completely deflated, like the anecdote about male doctors not recognizing tampons on X-rays. And then a story about a crowd, beforeRoe The abortion her mother got deserves a movie adaptation of its own.

Vanity Fair: I watched the show on May 2nd with a friend and she texted me as soon as we both got home, “Did you see this Roe v. Wade News?” I didn’t, but I knew it couldn’t be good.

Alison Leiby: No good news around Roe in 2022.

How did you find out?

My manager came and was like, I’m going to take you out to dinner, let’s go Via Carota. The first show is April 25, so it’s next Monday, so this is my seventh time doing the show, halfway through the preview. I got all the words down patted. My phone tends to explode when people tag me and I don’t use it for a long time to watch shows and people are texting and calling. So during dinner, I put my phone in my coat pocket. We had a great dinner and I got up to go to the bathroom last and came back and my manager said, “You need to look at your phone.” I had 57 messages alone and also direct messages on Instagram. Dammit.

How do you feel?

I almost started to cry. It feels like being hit. Not only do I watch the news, but I also watch it while seeing all the emotions from the people I know at once. I really could never have imagined that this is how we got this news, and so early in the start of this show, it has evolved over time. It’s like a show in another world.

How will you be when you get to perform on stage the next night?

That Tuesday was the most intense performance I’ve had in 12 years of performing. The energy of the crowd in the room — this may be the first time people have been in the room together since the news broke and they all seem to have a mixture of joy to be together and overcome sadness and fear together. There are three different points where I feel myself choking or starting to cry. Now I get up and go work on this program in a world where this right is going to be gone. The idea of ​​losing access is sad to me but it’s always been theoretical. That Tuesday night was the first time I performed it in New York, where it felt real. Under current law, New Yorkers are protected, and we’re lucky. But the feeling is, yeah this is happening. And this can happen to us.

I admit, I thought, Well, at least I’m not in immediate danger like someone living in Texas or Tennessee.

I did the show in Austin two weeks ago when I opened it here for a comedy festival and also to learn a little bit about the content and get used to it. There’s a different feeling than any time I’ve done it. I cannot have an abortion under the applicable laws of Texas and Oklahoma and Tennessee. And my abortion was too early and not an event.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2022/05/alison-leiby-on-performing-oh-god-a-show-about-abortion “There Is No Good News Around Roe in 2022”: Alison Leiby on Performing Oh God, a Show About Abortion

Sarah Ridley

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