We may like to think that there are no taboos anymore, that we’ve become desensitized to sex and everything else that used to shock us. The one thing that can still make us laugh and cringe, sometimes at the same time? Honesty. Which is what Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman have been looking for since they started their show, Stripped Stories, in 2007.
The show, which they host regularly in New York City, features comedians, writers, and just plain folks telling stories about their sexuality, the more true, the better. As Ms. Rozzi points out in this e-mail interview, the stories don’t have to be wild – they don’t even have to be graphic. They just need to be true, and honestly told. Rozzi and Leitman bring their show to Mottley’s Comedy Club tonight at 8PM, with Jessica Sutich, Tim McIntire, and musical guest Mindy Raf.
What inspired you to create Stripped Stories?
We created Stripped Stories after realizing that most of our conversations with both each other (since the show began, between the two of us we’ve experienced marriage, divorce, singlehood, break-ups, and more) and other people seemed to always lead back to sex. We wanted to create a forum where people can speak honestly and humorously about sex without judgment, hence the creation of Stripped Stories.
How do you find the guests?
Either people approach us after seeing the show with stories or we invite folks to send in story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are people generally nervous before they go on? Does anyone ever back out at the last minute?
Yes! Although we often have experienced comedians/writers on the show, some still get nervous as this is a very revealing show and some may not be used to such a personal level of performance. We love getting people to challenge themselves and share these stories onstage. Everyone who has sone the show has agreed it’s been a unique and positive experience.
Have you ever had someone tell a story that thought was wild and embarrassing that turned out to be kind of normal? I’d imagine the threshold for what people consider brave to reveal can change kind of drastically.
Well, stories don’t have to be “wild.” The show is now about sharing your craziest experience, the show is about revealing the humor and perhaps the heart behind sex. Stories range from tales of first kisses to wild orgies and everything in between. So it’s not about how extraordinary one’s sex life is, it’s about their honest sharing of that sexual experience and how they felt about it, what they learned from it, etc.
How many stories do you and Margot have? Do you still have new material after hosting this for two years?
Every time we think we’ve run out of stories we remember more. Like I said, the story could be tame or wild, so whether it’s me sharing my thoughts and experiences watching porn last week, or me sharing my experience of a wild night I had last year, we find stories all the time. We also sometimes retell our favorite stories. The story needs to have an element of sexuality, it doesn’t need to be about literal sex.
How has the show changed since the first one?
The show hasn’t changed much as we have changed. When the show started, Giulia was engaged and Margot was going through a break-up, then Giulia got married, Margot gota boyfriend, Giulia got separated/single, Margot got engaged, now Giulia has a boyfriend and Margot is married. Who knows what’ll happen next year?
Do you always do an after party? Is that usually a fairly casual affair?
It's us drinking post show at the venue or a nearby bar. It’s a great time and audience members tend to come up to us wanting to share stories with us.