Lizz Winstead on #Grapegate, #Pointergate, and Ebola Scares

Lizz Winstead.

Lizz Winstead.

In a year as horrid as 2014, Lizz Winstead isn't lacking in material.

The locally born writer and performer returns to the Twin Cities this week for Plan B from Outer Space, a comedic look back at the terrors of the past year. The program also includes performances by Sam Breckenridge and MST3K alum Frank Conniff.

See also: Lizz Winstead on Voting and Vaginas


"I cull my material throughout the year. In the past, nothing much happened in December. Now it has become a massive, news-breaking month with Bill Cosby and the budget and everything else that is happening. I am writing up to the last second," she says from her home in New York City.

The show offers Winstead a chance to wax funny, and for the audience to shrive themselves of some of the past year's horrors. "It's the comedic version of 'Kumbuya' with a couple of 'motherfuckers' thrown in there. We will do it together," Winstead says.

Actually, "Kumbuya" doesn't really cover 2014. "This is a 'how do you take your bourbon, neat or two shots of neat?' year," she adds.

You'll be able to take a look back at the midterm elections, the continuing war on women, the Ebola panic, Donald Sterling, police shootings, ISIS... oh, I think I'll have that drink now.

"Sadly when you do a comedy retrospective, it is mostly the low lights," Winstead says.

"The Ebola panic was an epic fail. I was proud of New York. When they heard there was a doctor with Ebola, we all asked, 'Does he have a rent controlled apartment?' The bowling alley he was at had a 'Doctors Bowl Free' night and it was packed."

Then there was Minnesota, which managed to get itself on Winstead's radar for several stories, including ISIS recruitment in the state and Pointergate.

And we can't forget that other gate: Grapegate.

"I canceled my subscription to the New York Times based on the fact they are quoting an heiress about Minnesota," Winstead says.

Then there's the internet. "It is literally a Superfund site at times. You really need a Silkwood shower," Winstead says.

One of the difficult parts of Winstead's job is dealing with the important stories that aren't in and of themselves funny, like police brutality and the freshly released report on American torture.

"I think how you find the humor in it is you take on the hypocrisy and the motivations of the powerful, the hypocrisy of how a white person gets to walk down the street and how a person a color gets to walk down the street," Winstead says.

The activist performer has also focused her attention on the war against women. Most recently, she's been active in Lady Parts Justice, which focuses on local solutions.

"We want to engage and re-engage young people about what is happening using humor and pop culture in the spaces they are in. We have taken feminism and incorporated the activism into our everyday lives," Winstead says.

That includes finding the scary senator who appears to know nothing about women or reproduction and cutting him off before he gets to that stage. "We look at the local level, like the city council or the school board. We want to cut these people off before they have a war chest," Winstead says.

But first, you can give 2014 one final kick in the ass before 2015 rears its head. "I always warn people that like when you go see the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, there are so many hits that there is some stuff I can't touch," Winstead says.


Lizz Winstead: Plan B From Outer Space: The Year in Review 7 p.m. Saturday, December 27; 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 31 Cedar Cultural Center 416 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis $40-$65 For tickets and more information, call 612.338.2674 or visit online.