'A sneaky way of getting a point across': Rebecca Kohler on her new comedy album, Guilty and Disgusting

Stand-up and comedy writer Rebecca Kohler talks patriarchy, online dating and bodily functions.

Stand-up and comedy writer Rebecca Kohler talks patriarchy, online dating and bodily functions.

"I often feel guilty, and a lot of the album is kind of disgusting. So to me, it was the perfect title."

Guilty and Disgusting, the second comedy album from Rebecca Kohler was recorded at the Vancouver Yuk Yuk's back in February—a month before the pandemic hit and put a pause on live shows. 

The Canadian Comedy Award-winning comic says her favourite thing about standup is connecting with the audience.

"I feel like if people laugh, it's them saying 'I get you,'" she says. "There's nothing like getting on stage and making people laugh at yourself with your own writing."

An Ottawa native, Kohler moved to Los Angeles from Toronto five years ago. Although she had already been established in Canada as a comedian, Kohler says the competition in L.A. makes it difficult to get stage time.

The album cover of Rebecca Kohler's "Guilty & Disgusting." (Howl & Roar)

"But it's super fun because there're so many people," she says. "It's kind of exciting and hard, and... exhilarating and inspirational at the same time." 

Besides being a standup comedian, Kohler is also a writer behind many popular TV comedies  including Schitt's Creek, Kim's Convenience and Workin' Moms

Writing for comedy shows vs. writing for standup

"Anything I write for myself is in my own voice and usually 99% true," she says. "When you're [doing] stand up, you're writer, director, performer—you are the entire show."

In Guilty and Disgusting, Kohler gets real and personal about being naked in the gym change room, holding onto her 'thirties' and enjoying lesbian porn as a heterosexual woman.

Pornography is not only the p-word Kohler tackles in her album.

"Women perpetuate the patriarchy as much as men do because we are also raised in it," she says in the track titled "Pornogra-phy." "It's like we're all part of the same cult, and it's called society."

Kohler loves telling jokes about the patriarchy, and she loves it more when men laugh at them. 

"If I can make a guy who has never thought about the patriarchy or systemic sexism… think about it and maybe make him giggle, I feel like that's one of the most powerful things you can do," she says. "I really think comedy is a sneaky way of getting a point across."

Working as a standup comic for two decades, Kohler says the tides have turned for female comedians. "There were so many things that women felt like they couldn't talk about because it would make them sound tacky."

But Kohler no longer worries about if her jokes are too much to handle for the few. "If I see one guy crossing his arms… well, that's his problem because everybody else is on board."

On the album, Kohler shares some unusual episodes from her sexual experiences and her tips for online dating, such as the importance of zooming in on dating profile pictures.

I'm hoping that I can just bring levity to people's lives with my experiences- Rebecca Kohler

"I feel so sad for the state of all live performance, but especially standup because it's so close to me," says Kohler. 

She says she misses performing on stage and feeling the energy from the audience in the room, and she hopes that her album can bring people some laughter during this difficult time.

"I haven't really been able to watch anything totally stupid because so much heavy stuff is going on right now, so I want something that makes me think that also maybe makes me laugh," Kohler says. "I hope that this [album] is a good combination of those two things."

"Guilty & Disgusting" is available now from Howl & Roar Records, wherever you stream or download albums.


About the Author

Vicky Qiao is a writer and journalist based in Toronto. She has a keen interest in culture reporting and believes that storytelling transcends boundaries. Vicky recently graduated from the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication program at Western University.

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