It’s hard to pin down exactly what Jaguar Bennett is trying to do in his one-man show, “Mansplaining.”
Ostensibly, it’s a look into the male psyche; a comedic answer to the question of why do men act as they do, which seems like a crucial issue that men might need to address, especially in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp.
But it’s Bennett and he’s angling for a reaction.
“I’m going to blunder in and address that thing with crude dick jokes,” he says.
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The cavalier attitude belies the amount of time and thought he put into crafting the show, which will debut Saturday, March 3 at Veni Vidi Vici as part of this year’s Rogue Festival. The idea for the show exploring the inner working on the male mind had been on the back burner for several years, Bennett says. It was born out of conversations with his wife in which she would want to know why men do certain things.
She would ask and he would tell her, honest as he could.
“She would be appalled,” he says.
Then the Weinstein story broke.
Then the #MeToo movement happened and all the other show ideas he had just didn’t seem worthy of the times.
“The alternatives didn’t seem as urgent or important,” he says.
Plus, hot-button issues fall in Bennett’s wheelhouse. “I like to go where there is a fire,” he says. “I want to go where the comedy is most dangerous.”
But Bennett is walking a line here. This isn’t meant as male-bashing. It doesn’t conform to traditional feminist theory. There’s a sort of puritanical streak to it, too.
“There is this concept we have that whatever is natural must be good,” Bennett says.
“What if nature is wicked?”
He’s sort of ruining the ending of the show, but what if the nature of men is so horrific that it is best restrained? For the good of society. What if some men never got the memo that, hey, maybe you don’t act on your immediate impulses? Bennett believes that is the case.
It’s an idea that people might not agree with and that Bennett himself isn’t even sure is 100 percent correct.
“I’m just a guy who tells dick jokes for $7,” he says – a monetary reference to the price of his show.
If it’s a journey Bennett is taking you on with “Mansplaining,” it’s one you likely don’t want to go on and probably won’t like, he says. If that doesn’t sounds like a guy who wants people at his show, Bennett refers you back to the jokes.
“It has hilarious jokes,” he says. “Underline that.”
Other Rogue shows to look for ...
- BikeFace, March 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, Dianna’s Studio of Dance, 816 N. Fulton St. $12.
- The Dish, March 3, 4, 10, Marcel’s Backyard, 416. E. Brown Ave. $10 (cash only).
- Hotter Than Potter, March, 2, 3, 4, 9, Fulton Street Art. $7.
- Fresno Writers Live, March 2, 3, 4, 10, Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave. $7.
- Magical Mystery Detour, March 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, California Arts Academy, 1401 N. Wishon Ave. $12.
A $3 Rogue wristband is required for most shows. Check Rogue Festival website for specific times and details.
Six other noteworthy events happening this week:
- “The Star Spangled Girl,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, through April 22. 2nd Space Theatre, 928 E. Olive Ave. $18-$20. 800-371-4747, gcplayers.com
- English Beat, 8 p.m. Saturday. Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. $21. All ages. 559-485-5356, www.strummersclub.com
- Jake Shimabukuro, 8 p.m. Saturday. Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $41.50-$61.50. 559-485-9050, www.towertheatrefresno.com
- The Roadshow, 5 p.m. Saturday. Save Mart Center. $10, at the door. 559-278-3400, theroadshowtour.com
- “Romeo and Juliet,” 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. $34-$74. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
- Moment Musical, 3 p.m. Sunday. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 50 E. Santa Ana Ave. Donations accepted. 559-439-1890.