Comics stand up against sexual assault

Well before the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby took root in public discussion after years of claims to which few paid attention, a group of Twin Cities comics had plenty of reason for putting together this weekend’s comedy benefit for the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

It stems from the 2013 assault on a female server by a Los Angeles-based comic performing at a Mall of America comedy club.

After Adam Richmond’s show, he allegedly assaulted her at her home.

Richmond told police he “was maybe a little aggressive. I tried to kiss her, I might have grabbed her.”

In June, Richmond was found not guilty by Judge Daniel Mabley in Hennepin County District Court who said prosecutors didn’t prove the woman didn’t consent to sex.

“We felt strongly that he was going to have to step up for what he did,” Twin Cities comedian Jenn Schaal said today, describing the outcome as “ridiculous.”

“So in July, a group of comics put our heads together to come up with something to make sure that victims know they have a support system,” she said. “Victims and survivors are often blamed for what happens or told it’s their fault.”

Richmond’s trial “sent ripples” through the comedy community, according to Schaal.

“I think in society, women as whole, it seems more difficult for us to be seen and heard for what we have to say. It’s not just comedy,” she said.

That shouldn’t be a problem at Sunday’s benefit (7 p.m. Amsterdam, $10, 21+).

The show is headlined by Aparna Nancherla…

h… and Tracy Ashley.

“This is a cause you should care about,” Schaal says. “For one thing, aside from Cos, we’re shifting quite a bit and not standing for this kind of behavior –catccalling, inappropriate behavior. We’re finding our voice.”