When it comes to porn, don’t forget to read the comments.
Porn has comments?
I, for one, did not know this. But Monica Hamburg, Montreal-based comedian, podcaster, performer, and all around balls-out performer, is willing to serve as high priestess for anyone wanting to be initiated into the psyche of the porn’s vocal audience. Hamburg has turned porn comments as well as other elements into a comedy panel show with some of her fellow comedians as guests — Pornomedy. And this Halloween, the show focuses on horror porn.
If this is something of a mic drop, Hamburg explains what her show is about, how she came up with the idea for the show, and what makes porn into horror porn.
Pornomedy is both a podcast and a live show. For the latter, Hamburg brings together a few of her favorite local comedians together in order to discuss the astoundingly absurd comments left by porn’s viewers. In the upcoming show for Halloween, she’s bringing together Peter J. Radomski, Jacob Meza and Ilana Belfer.
Hamburg first became familiar with porn’s comments because, as she says, “I watch a lot of porn.” Hamburg further explains, “I like fantasy and I like sex, and porn has both. I became curious what the comments were. When I looked, I was like, ‘What is happening here?'”
What she found was nothing she expected: people asking absurd questions, making demands of the actors and directors, and getting into fights. She was especially struck by, “The entitlement that men expressed, writing things like ‘I don’t like that she has tattoos.’ Well, she didn’t get them for you, Buddy. There are a lot of comments about women and their body parts. It’s a microcosm of what happens outside of porn, the opinions men have about women that they don’t always express. It’s super sexist, super entitled, and super clueless about women and their bodies and how sex works.”
She further points out how little the commenters seem to know about the making of pornography. “The commenters think they can speak directly to the creators and actors and it will magically change,” she says. “They try to direct them. It’s as if they don’t realize there’s many people involved in the production and they’re seeing the end product.”
Although occasionally ready to jump into the fray, Hamburg stays away from commenting. “I go to free sites,” she says. “So, I’m something of an entitled porn consumer myself. But, I don’t comment. I never comment. I have a fundamental lack of understanding why people comment. I get tempted sometimes because I’m angry, but then I remind myself why I don’t register on the sites. It’s to avoid doing this. Not registering is a healthy block. It’s hard enough not to argue and Facebook. Arguing with anonymous people on porn is another thing altogether.”
Fortunately, she has the perfect venue for her commentary — Pornomedy. And for Halloween, she’s offering a seasonally appropriate theme, horror porn. Hamburg says horror porn involves all things speculative and contains elements of the supernatural. This Halloween’s line up will include complaints about the realism of a film about Satan having sex with an alien, high standards for monster sex, and romantic fantasies about Gremlins.
“I’m limited in my exploration of horror porn because it doesn’t work for me,” Hamburg says. “I explore it for research though. Think, zombie sex. It’s pretty much anything you would see in a horror film plus sex. Horror porn is its own genre. Anything with scary things. Anything with a monster in it, fantastical creatures. Slasher type movies. There’s a whole goth subculture. too.”
When we begin to discuss the relationship of porn to snuff films and more specifically the excellence of Pascal Plante’s recently released film Red Rooms, she says, “I feel like a lot of people have fantasies that skirt the line of what’s okay. They get weirded out if you talk about it, but there has to be a safe way to put these fantasies out there, explore them where it is safe for anyone. No one is getting killed or attacked, but it can be explored. It parallels horror films. I don’t want to be murdered, but it’s interesting to feel that fear. That’s my theory.”
Turning back to horror porn, Hamburg is very clear that there’s a place for many things in porn. “I try not to be judgemental. Everyone should be into what they’re into. I don’t make fun of people’s interests.”
And that’s the appeal of Hamburg’s show. It focuses on the people who have something to say about other people’s interests.
“I try not to insult the content. I would never insult porn actors or fetishes. What I find funny is when people get weird about what they’re watching. Especially if they’ve just watched it and say they came and are angry at the content creator.”
Monica Hamburg is a busy comedian and you can keep up with her HERE. She’s hosting at the Comedy Nest on October 18. Pornomedy: Horror Edition takes place Friday October 27th at 8 p.m. at Cafe Eevee (1251 Rue St Zotique East, Montreal). Her other show Funny Over Forty: Exceptional and Exhausted with Jennifer June Chapman is taking place on Friday November 24th, at 8 p.m at Saint Houblon (St Houblon Restaurant, Côte des Neiges, 5414 Av Gatineau, Montreal). Tickets for Pornomedy HERE and for Funny Over Forty are HERE.