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VALLEY FOCUS | North Hollywood

Stand-Up Comedy to Aid Women's Shelters

October 10, 1998|HOLLY EDWARDS

Some of the funniest women in Los Angeles are taking the stage on Sunday afternoons this month to raise money for domestic-violence shelters and programs established by the Theatre of Hope for Abused Women.

Heidi Joyce, creator and host of "Stand Up Against Domestic Violence," said she initiated the semiannual, all-female stand-up comedy show last year to raise awareness of domestic violence and the emotional devastation it causes. All shows will be at the Bitter Truth Theatre, 11050 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood.

Last year in the city of Los Angeles, there were 41,489 reports of domestic violence, of which 29,497 involved a weapon, according to the California Department of Justice Statistical Analysis Center.

Joyce said she hopes the comedy show will not only heighten awareness of domestic violence but give women a sense of their "voice and power."

"Laughter is a lot about hope," Joyce said. "It's hammered into women's heads that they have to be dainty and frail, but do women really have to wear lacy underwear? Men don't wear underwear with hammers and power tools on them. The power balance in an abusive relationship can be very dangerous, and typically in violent situations gender roles are strictly adhered to."

For Joyce, the impetus to work for victims of domestic violence came from her own family. While not physically abusive, she said, her father was a strict disciplinarian who "needed to be the man of the house."

"I was scared of him," she said. "There was a lot of that dynamic going on in my extended family too. The women were expected to be submissive and the men were dominant. It had a very deep impact on me." Joyce said she hopes to use comedy to inspire women to question the roles they assume in all of their relationships.

Tickets for the 2 p.m. shows cost $10. For information or reservations, call (818) 766-9702

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