Before I met Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson at an East Village coffee shop, I knew a few basic things about the comedians. Fisher is Jewish and grew up in New Jersey, likes makeup and chubby-ish men; she has issues with the concept of monogamy and only has sex with people she considers to be her friends. Unlike Hutchinson, she never uses a vibrator or watches porn when she masturbates. Hutchinson, on the contrary, loves watching porn -- especially with her boyfriend, Stephen, with whom she's lived for two years. She moved to New York from Pennsylvania and worked for a little while as an actress, but she shares her true passion -- stand-up comedy -- with Fisher, her good friend.
Fisher and Hutchinson, who perform together as the comedy duo Sorry About Last Night, might be good friends with one another, but (unfortunately) they are not my friends. I have met them only twice, but to me it feels as if I hang out with them once a week, for the hour or so it takes me to listen to each installment of their show, "Guys We Fucked: The Anti-Slut-Shaming Podcast."
It is on "Guys We Fucked" that the comedians-turned-activists share the most intimate details of their lives with over half a million followers, talking frankly and humorously about anything sex-related that comes to mind -- from the erotic appeal of strangulation to whether they enjoy licking buttholes.
The show's premise was simple enough when Fisher and Hutchinson started it last December: They wanted to combat slut-shaming by opening up about their own sex lives, and encouraging others to do the same. In its first year, "Guys We Fucked" has grown enormously, both in terms of followers and also in its message and content. Initially an opportunity to sit down with their former — and, in Hutchinson's case, current — sex partners, the show now regularly features an array of guests -- dominatrixes, fellow comedians, Jenni Farley of "Jersey Shore" fame -- as well as feminist commentary on current events. Each week also features a segment with questions from listeners --or, as Fisher and Hutchinson dotingly call them, "fuckers."
As the show continues to grow, the hosts have had to adjust slightly the way they interact with fuckers. Specifically, they've had to ask for money. The two are currently trying to raise funds through an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund new ventures in year two, including touring, studio upgrades and -- they hope -- more famous guests.
Fisher and Hutchinson sat down with Salon recently to talk about streaming their most personal stories online, the pickup artist movement, developing their own sex-positive feminism, and what they've learned from a year of "Guys We Fucked." This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
How did you come up with the idea for “Guys We Fucked” and how has it evolved since your original idea?
Fisher: Basically, I was going through a mental breakdown because I got dumped in a Panera Bread by the guy I thought I was going to be with for the rest of my life. I would go and cry at Krystyna’s house every day, and my hair was falling out … [She and I] had been working together for a long time, and I was just had this idea of going back, kind of like John Cusack does in "High Fidelity," and learning about myself and what I’m doing wrong in relationships by talking to people I dated. Krystyna and I had a meeting one day and fleshed it out to this larger thing that was both personal but could be anti-slut-shaming, to reach a broader audience more than just our narcissistic intentions.
What drew you to anti-slut-shaming? Was that something you’ve been involved with before?
Hutchinson: We’ve experienced it; every woman has experienced some form of slut-shaming in her life. The interesting thing for me was, I didn’t realize that it was wrong until we actually started talking about the topic and I realized how often it occurred in our lives on a daily basis. A lot of people were talking about it, but the key for anything with us has always been humor. People who talk about sex and slut-shaming and all that stuff, a lot of times it’s dry. It’s an important thing to talk about, but we wanted to bring humor to it, because we bring humor to everything, because we’re comedians. We thought that would be a really interesting combination to try to tackle -- raising awareness of the issue by making people laugh about it.
Fisher: We also wanted to do something that was anti-slut-shaming from a woman’s perspective. We’re women who have a boyish mentality, so I think that’s the key -- to do something from a woman’s perspective that doesn’t make men feel like they’re evil.
I feel like a lot of issues you just raised about the tone of the show and wanting it to appeal to men and women are wrapped up in a lot of the same concerns people express when they try to distance themselves from feminism. Are you trying to draw that distance?
Hutchinson: I’d like to think we’re fading away the reputation feminism has of being a buzzword and being anti-men. When we started on this podcast, if you brought up the word “feminism” to us that’s one of the first things I would think about -- but we kind of realized, coming into our own as the show formed, that feminism is really just owning your shit and feeling good about your decisions and just being equal with men.
You all have done such a good job at sticking to your focus on slut-shaming and sex-positivity and female sexuality, but do you feel pressure, now that you’ve embraced feminism, to expand beyond that and take on other feminist issues?
Hutchinson: I wouldn’t call it pressure; I just feel it’s more of a social obligation because the podcast got so big so quickly. Our main goal is just to talk about sex and be funny. That was always our main goal and it is always, going into every episode. But what came along with that, now that a lot of people listen to us, is that I want to be up on all the current events and have read up on them well enough to be able to talk about them. It’s important to bring up certain social issues that are happening, like the catcalling video that everyone was freaking out about last month.
How do you find a balance between protecting your personal life and practicing what you preach? You’re promoting this message to your listeners but you also have to weigh what happens in your own life.
Fisher: I think we’ve made a pretty sincere promise to be honest and we’ve really stayed with that. I ran into my ex-boyfriend -- who all this nonsense started because of -- and I really didn’t want to talk about it because I knew I was going to be sobbing. I did talk about it and I did sob, which annoyed me because I hate doing that, but it turned out to be great. Other people have been through the same thing and the only thing to salvage me feeling this way was that misery-loves-company kind of thing. Sometimes I dread doing the podcast because I’m like, “Fuck, I don’t want to talk about this,” but that’s the reason why I think people listen to this podcast. We have the issues, but there’s also this running soap opera that is two non-famous, regular, 20-something-year-old girls. We’ve created almost this reality-show version of a podcast, but it’s way realer than any reality show you’re going to see.
I often wonder if people telling their stories fixes these problems. Do you feel similarly? Do you ask yourselves the same question with regard to slut-shaming -- is this podcast fixing it?
Hutchinson: Yes, I think talking about it is what will fix the problem, and that’s why Corinne and I made a commitment to be really, really honest on the podcast. Every time we hop on the mics we’re just going to say what we think and talk about things that maybe we don’t want to talk about because it’s really important. Because that way, everybody hearing it who’s going through something similar can go, “Oh, that’s fine.”
Did you expect so many people to be reaching out to you?
Hutchinson: No, we were really overwhelmed by the response that the show got so quickly. Thinking back, it makes sense that people clung to it, because the one thing every human being has in common is sex. Even if they’re asexual -- they have shame about sex or people pressure them and they’re not sure why they don’t like sex, so that’s something every person has in their life. They all have a different perspective on it, but one of the things that’s similar is most people carry some sense of shame in some area of their sex life. Laughing about that is so necessary, so I feel like people found an outlet where they could feel relaxed about those things that they feel bad about.
Fisher: I think the key here is not so much sex and relationships but shame and suffocation and alleviating yourself of both of those things.
I think your podcast and all of the mail you get, as well as the pickup-artist movement, both show a very real need to be talking about sex stuff in a way that is basic. There are lots of people wanting to have sex and not knowing how to go about having it. How do you corral people who would otherwise be drawn to the pickup-artist movement and need this information?
Hutchinson: We just kind of started doing it, without really wanting to corral anybody towards anything. We originally thought our audience would mainly be girls our age, but it’s ages 14-80, male, female, everybody. It’s people of all ages and all situations. A lot of cam girls follow us on Twitter and love the podcast, which I think is amazing. A lot of people are virgins; it’s all types of situations. I think the rub to that is just approaching it with a sense of humor that makes people feel more relaxed. The pickup-artist culture is just stupid. You don’t need to pretend you’re a douchebag or be a douchebag to pick up women, and the quality of women you’re picking up might not match with the quality of women you actually want. Pickup-artist bullshit is all a front.
In the very first episode, you say, “have a lot of sex and be proud of it.” Is that still the message?
Hutchinson: No. In terms of the message it’s, “Do what you want with your body and if other people can’t deal with your choices then fuck ‘em.”
Fisher: If you are a person who has a lot of sex, OK! You should always be proud of yourself.
Hutchinson: We’re very into having people on the show who aren’t as sexually active, who don’t have sex that much and aren’t as obsessed with it as we are. That’s OK, there’s a lot of people out there like that. Sometimes we’ll have people write us and say, “I’m not as experienced as you …” and that doesn’t matter.
You’ve done a lot of episodes lately that go well beyond hetero sex talk. What moves have you made to become more inclusive?
Hutchinson: We just think of people we know or have met before who lead very different lives from us, or very sexually explorative lives, or just have something about them that we think is different and unique and is not something we understand. I texted Corinne recently about Terry Richardson -- I was walking down the street and I saw Terry Richardson and I looked at him and was like, “Oh, shit! I should ask him to be on the podcast!” And then I was like, “Wait a second, he’s kind of super-rapey and I don’t think …” I think it would have been a good conversation, but my feminist meter was like, “Warning, warning, he’s horrible!” But we want to speak to the people who are horrible because with social issues like catcalling, for example, if you don’t speak to the shitheads who are doing it you’re never going to get anywhere.
Do you worry about falling into that trap, now that you’ve identified and adopted this feminist stance? Do you worry about being like, “Well, we know you’re a shithead so we don’t want to hear from you”?
Hutchinson: Yeah, I think ultimately it’s always better to talk to the shitheads.
Fisher: We have shitheads on all the time; we know a ton of them.
Hutchinson: We’re all pieces of shit in some form or another, so it’s like, “That’s the area that you’re not really doing well in that I’m really angry about, so let’s talk about it.” We’re never going to bring anyone on the podcast and make them feel like an asshole or talk down to them or be condescending or be nasty to them. That’s not the point of the conversation. The point is to just talk about opinions and experiences and exchange and enlighten each other.
What are you looking forward to, in year two?
Hutchinson: Our careers. They’re getting better because of the podcast, which is really exciting.
Do you feel like the podcast has changed your ideas about your careers and what you want to be doing?
Fisher: For me, this is exactly what I always wanted to be and thought I should be doing. It’s comedy with a purpose, which is the basis of everything I’ve ever done. It was straddling the difference between my two goals: being the next Michael Moore and being the next Chelsea Handler. That’s really different, but I knew something existed that would be in between these things, and here it is. We’ve had conversations about it before as snark-comedy duo Sorry About Last Night, but I would always be like, “What is the message we are trying to say?” When you’re a comedian you have this beautiful opportunity to, without being preachy or boring, make a point.
Hutchinson: Yeah. In the back of my mind I just want to be funny, but the idea was introduced to me after doing this podcast that you can be funny and make people feel better about this area in their life that they really don’t feel good about. That’s 12,000 times more rewarding, and it’s something I never even thought could happen, that I could do. Whenever you set out to do something great it never works, but whenever you set out to do something really genuine and something that speaks to you, that’s when it works. I feel like people who are like, “We're going to change the world!” never change the world, but if they were just like, "We're going to be true to ourselves and really tackle things we think are important,” that’s when you take off.