Chrissie Mayr knew the media fix was in long before the Jan. 6 rally that descended into chaos last week.
The podcaster and stand-up comic figured the press would downplay the crowd’s size by covering its earliest stages to minimize Trump’s support.
“Oh, look there are 40 people there. It’s a non-event,” says Mayr, who attended the protest as a citizen journalist. “It’ll show the people at home [who support Trump] you’re alone in your feelings and show people on the Left that this is not a thing.”
When a small fraction of the protesters violently invaded the Capitol building, resulting in the death of five people, the media quickly changed its approach.
“We’ll take this and run with it, use it to our advantage to make [all Trump supporters] look terrible,” she says. “Violence is never good, never justified, whether it comes from the left or the right.”
It’s the latter point that can’t be ignored, she says, from the protracted violence tied to Antifa and Black Lives Matter to Democratic politicians who cheered on the mayhem.
Mayr says she didn’t even know the Trump rally turned ugly until after she returned to her hotel room and turned on the news.
“The WiFi was out Wednesday. It was hard to post in real time, hard to see what was going on,” she explains of her vantage point on the north side of the Capitol building. The disastrous turn of events didn’t come as a complete shock, though.
“You can’t tell people all summer long that protests are supposed to make people feel uncomfortable,” she says. “Everyone logs that in their brain.” Add the media’s warped take on Trump’s base, she adds, and you had a recipe for trouble.
“75 million people are being told over and again their reality isn’t real, that they’re in a cult,” she says.
Mayr explores topics like the protest and the rising attacks on free speech via her self-titled podcast. Her right-of-center perspective is both rare and unwelcome in comedy circles today, but she isn’t ready to clam up.
Her ideological opponents want just that, though.
She’s been hammered on social media by fellow comedians eager to single her out for supporting Trump. Some want her silenced, or at least unable to find work once live comedy returns.
“We need to make a list of all the comics we know who were at the rally … and make sure we never book these people again,” she says of some of the social media messaging she saw after the riot. It’s not much different than what she experienced last year, partly due to the aggressive nature of her comedy.
“This seems to happen to me every few months,” she says. “I make a video or put out a tweet … and they make it about them.”
She didn’t start her comedy career in such a pugnacious way.
Mayr was a registered Democrat and “card-carrying feminist, hating men, doing all the right things,” she jokes. Slowly her sense of humor “matured,” she says, and she began exploring politically incorrect topics on stage.
“Comedy can’t be woke,” she says, noting some comedy club patrons arrive at events with their arms folded, ready “not to laugh.”
She says politics routinely invades the stand-up ecosystem, particularly behind the scenes.
“With comedy there’s this kind of hierarchy. You do it for a few years, you know whose [butt] to kiss. You know who the bookers are,” she says.
Comics also learn what to say in order to stay in the latter group’s good graces.
“You can’t say anything [this booker] wouldn’t agree with,” she says. “It’s just like Hollywood, a liberal, woke echo chamber – ‘look at me, look at me, I’m saying the right things.’”
Mayr leans on the recent book, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Jon Ronson to process what she endures for bucking the comedic tide.
“It helped me understand the psychology of shaming. We don’t have a public square to tar and feather anyone any more,” she says.
Liberals may be swift to call Mayr out, but she’s not so easily defined. She proudly recalls producing “Comedy at Stonewall,” a monthly showcase at New York’s Stonewall Inn that featured new and established gay stand-ups.
“It was so damn good … I put my own money into advertising. I dealt with so much s*** from the booker of the venue,” she says of the show, which ran for six years. “I love the gays, but I hate that I have to say that.”
Mayr also hosts “The Wet Spot” on Compound Media, the independent company run by former radio superstar Anthony Cumia. Both that show and her own podcast deal with sexual material in ways that don’t align with part of the conservative movement.
“Everyone is definitely not cool with it,” says Mayr, who wants the show to evoke the “old school Howard Stern” style of programming.
The pandemic coaxed her to lean into the podcasting space, allowing her to interview unconventional guests other shows might avoid. She recalls interviewing Buck Angel, a trans man who doesn’t adhere to the core philosophies of the movement, as one of her favorite guests.
Mayr, who will be headlining at the Hyenas Comedy Club in Dallas Feb. 19-20, says liberal comedians shouldn’t be cheering on the rise of censorship.
“If free speech isn’t important to you, you should really … do something else with your life other than being comedian,” she says, fearing more of her fellow comics will have to feel Cancel Culture’s wrath before we see a cultural shift. “It’s gonna take a lot of people being silenced for them to see the importance of the First Amendment.”
You’re the crazy girlfriend who calls her bf crazy before breaking all the dishes while screaming https://t.co/xtyXhOojK1
— Chrissie Mayr🕳🐇 (@ChrissieMayr) January 13, 2021
She holds particular anger for Stephen Colbert, the far-left host of “The Late Show.”
“He’s such a shill. It’s gross. There’s no independent thought or creativity coming out of these people any more,” she says.
Colbert’s current state of mind, she argues, is a byproduct of fame. “You do so well. You get so much money, fame and fortune. It lifts you up and you have the luxury of being out of touch,” she says. That became clear early in the pandemic when A-listers like Gal Gadot warbled “Imagine” from their palatial homes.
“The bubble has been popped on celebrity,” she says. “We have these new figures coming up that we trust. They’re down here, with us, [like] Tim Pool. He doesn’t come off that way … he’s not being, ‘wink-wink, look at how great my life is.’”
Mayr battles Cancel Culture on a regular basis, but she has no appetite for returning fire on her liberal peers.
“I would never deny your right to perform or try to keep you from getting work. Find the people who love you and keep getting better,” she advises fellow comics, regardless of ideology. “I can’t imagine standing in somebody’s way.”