Women's March after-party soars with star-studded lineup
Just hours after the Women’s March on Washington, actors, comedians, musicians, and politicians — ranging from the likes of SNL vet and Minnesota senator Al Franken to stand-up comedian Tig Notaro to iconic feminist singer Ani DiFranco — took the stage at Washington D.C.’s legendary 9:30 Club to raise money for Planned Parenthood in an event sponsored by the 9:30 Club and Funny or Die and billed as the official after-party for the Women’s March. But while the historic march was estimated to have more than 500,000 attendees, with scores of celebrities milling about in the crowds, the 9:30 Club became an intimate living room where hosts Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher led a space full of patrons wearing pussy hats and shirts that read “the future is female” in hilarious, sometimes prolific, moments of support for Planned Parenthood and peaceful protest against Donald Trump’s inauguration. (A poster of Trump dressed up as a “TURD” hung on the drum kit all night.)
The lineup was vague — “A night of music and comedy to benefit Planned Parenthood” — but as the show progressed with New Jersey senator Cory Booker ceding the floor to podcast duo Ronna and Beverly, who then had Lizzy Caplan join them onstage for a round of “chutzpah”-inspired jokes, it was clear that Funny or Die had assembled a star-studded, if ragtag, group of celebs who, like the attendees, wanted to have some fun, stand up for a cause, and goof off with their pals. As the night moved from comedy to motivational speeches to a full-fledged rock show that ended with a fiery performance from the National and a raucous DJ set from Samantha Ronson, the 9:30 Club became another safe haven for Trump dissenters in his new hometown.
With stunning performances from Sleater-Kinney, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, Sara Bareilles, and more, here were the best moments.
1. Sleater-Kinney cover Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” with a little help from some friends
Sleater-Kinney had the best set of the night, performing their own songs “Call the Doctor,” “A New Wave,” “Jumpers,” and “Entertain,” before inviting The National’s Matt Berninger, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth to sing backup on a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.” They all rocked out, dancing around the stage and singing lyrics like “Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes / Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord / And when you ask them, ‘How much should we give?’ / They only answer, ‘More! More! More!'”
2. Ani DiFranco shows the dream of the ’90s is alive… in D.C.
Just days after releasing a new tribute song dedicated to former POTUS Barack Obama, ’90s singer-songwriter and outspoken feminist Ani DiFranco performed her 1998 track “Swan Dive,” eliciting major cheers during the line about tampons: “I’m going to do my best swan dive into shark infested waters / I’m going to pull out my tampon and start splashing around ’cause I don’t care if they eat me alive.”
“Let none of us question anymore if it matters if we march,” DiFranco told the crowd. “I’ve heard of that lately. The feeling we all have today that’s going to carry us. All the hope we gave. It’s going to carry them.”
She then moved into a performance of “Play God,” a 2016 track focusing on women’s reproductive rights. “Reproductive freedom is a civil right,” she said before playing. “It’s a civil rights issue. The stuff you need to be free in this society. This song comes from that place.” DiFranco played from her gut, snarling into the microphone while giving one of the most electric performances of the night with just one acoustic guitar.
3. Tig Notaro “crowd-surfs”
Known for her stand-up specials on cancer, death, and heartbreak — they’re funny! truly! — Tig Notaro used her time a wee bit differently than the night’s other performers. Hopping off the 9:30 Club stage, Notaro asked to “crowd-surf” and walked through the venue with a microphone, asking concertgoers why they were there and who they were fighting for. It was a moment of sobriety and unity in the packed music hall. Watch the entire thing below.
4. Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, and Morgan Walsh read Yelp reviews of Donald Trump’s businesses
They always say, never read the comments. The same is certainly true for some of Donald Trump’s businesses, which have some pretty damning Yelp reviews, according to Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, and Morgan Walsh, who performed dramatic readings of real reviews from his golf courses, hotels, and restaurants. Highlights include the dozens of patrons who commented on TVs in the bathroom mirrors and the runner who got lost on a jog, wound up at the Trump hotel, and praised a Trump-branded water bottle.
5. Sara Bareilles leads a “Brave” singalong
Sara Bareilles came onstage to introduce Cecile Richards and then led the crowd in an a cappella singalong of her 2013 song “Brave,” which was used extensively during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. With the word “defy” written on her hand, Bareilles sang half the song with help from the audience before posing with Richards and the crowd for a big group photo.
Before performing “Jumpers” with Sleater-Kinney, Carrie Brownstein took a moment to mention her own bouts of depression and the importance of self-care during a time of resistance. Here are her comments in full:
There are so many big things we’re confronting right now — oppression, injustice, marginalization, discrimination. At the core of that, before we can form a resistance, I wanted to talk about self-care. I suffer pretty heavily from depression and despair and it takes me a long time to get out of the cement of melancholy and despondency and I want you to remember, for those of you who suffer from depression, remember what it felt like out there today to feel people pressed up against you who have your back and to look people in the eyes. Take care of yourselves. We cannot have resistance without existence.
7. Cory Booker and Al Franken’s massive applause
Two performers who received the most applause of the night came all the way from the Senate: Cory Booker and Al Franken. Both vocal opponents of Trump, the two senators made a few jokes and spoke about the importance of Planned Parenthood and peaceful protests. When Franken walked onstage to thunderous claps, he laughed and told the crowd, “This surprises me because the White House press secretary just told us nobody was here!” And when Booker ascended the stage, he shouted out the “great American prophet, Chris Rock” before launching into a tender tale of an elderly woman he knows in Newark, New Jersey, who inspired him to “let us stay faithful.” He told the venue, “We have to understand that what defines us is not what happens to us. It’s the way we respond.”
8. Janeane Garofalo makes the most of a short set
Legendary comic Janeane Garofalo had precisely nine minutes, she told the crowd, to whip folks into a frenzy with a mini-stand-up session about hating coconut water, gluten intolerance, and the Hunger Games‘ Prim Everdeen. “How do we resist in 2017?” she asked, landing on the night’s theme. “Number one! Have your CVS Extra Care Card ready!” Greeted with hearty laughter, she let out one last, “Thanks, Obama.”
9. The National dedicates “I Need My Girl” to a “f—ing hero Hillary Clinton”
The National took the stage for their own six-song set late into the night, performing just before DJ Samantha Ronson took the crowd home. But a day of marching and protesting didn’t stop the venue from losing it when frontman Matt Berninger — of Sleater-Kinney backup singing fame — dedicated the band’s 2013 song “I Need My Girl” to a “f—ing hero Hillary Clinton.”