There’s a million different ways to get an important dialogue started and get the world to pay attention, though perhaps none better than by taking people’s breath away with a laugh! On sex and dating, Manhattan-based comedian Mary Beth Barone has a lot to say. Self-proclaimed “America’s Stepdaughter,” and also known as a “deadpan darling,” Mary Beth has blessed the New York comedy scene with her keen and hard-earned insights. At only 28, she’s already secured a stand-up residency at PUBLIC Hotel NYC, been named one of Comedy Central’s Up Next, seen on Viceland and Double Homicide, and been featured in Forbes and Buzzfeed (to name a few). She’s a young voice for women, killing the game in a male dominated field.
Among Mary Beth’s many projects is Drag His Ass: A F*ckboy Treatment Program, a live, stand-up show she created and hosts about fuckboys. As we all know, fuckboys come in many forms. Can’t you just picture him? Clarks laced up, vape in hand, cockiness gushing out of his pores? His IG feed is bursting at the seams there are so many half-naked babes on there, and he only seems to remember your number at 2:47am? Odds are, you’ve dealt with a fuckboy before. All stereotypes aside, we know these dudes. They’re disrespectful. They’re deceiving. They might even believe they’re honest about their intentions, but they play with your feelings and prioritize their cumming over your well-being.
To hear more about Mary Beth’s approach to fuckboys, her motivations in comedy, and the hurdles she’s faced, we sat down to ask her a few questions.
Can you tell us about your Drag His Ass Show?
Drag His Ass is a fuckboy treatment program. I originally started the show to talk about my process of getting over my fuckboy addiction (a six-step process! you can find out more about at my shows). And then I decided to invite other comedians to come on to talk about their experiences with fuckboys. The first show was these other comedians and I telling our sides of each story, but for the second show, I had a fuckboy come on stage and we did a fuckboy redemption. THAT was a lot of fun, so every show since then we’ve had the redemption as the final segment. And it’s so great! We really do want to create a community, and to bring people together over not such a fun topic.
What’s the audience look like?
The audience is usually a lot of women, and a lot of gay guys, but for the last few shows, as word’s gotten out, more straight guys are trickling in. I think it’s a good point of entry for everyone to learn about the topic because, although we are dragging people, what I say in the show is that a fuckboy can look like anything. We’re not just dragging straight dudes: anyone can be in the line of fire! I feel so lucky to have such a great group of people that come and support the show, because it really sets the tone and lets the comedians have fun with what they’re doing. We do it in New York and in LA, so look out for dates in 2020.
What’s your message with these shows?
From what I’ve seen, after years of experience with dating and fuckboys, I don’t think anyone on either side is having fun. The fuckboys aren’t really feeling fulfilled, and the victims of fuckboys aren’t having fun either. So what I would like to do is try to help heal dating in general, because I feel like we’ve lost the plot a little bit. Dating should be fun, and it hasn’t been for me in a long time. There just seems to be a lot of tension and anxiety surrounding dating nowadays. I’m sure it’s exacerbated by things like texting and social media. In general, we all need to do better.
So what I would like to do is try to help heal dating in general, because I feel like we’ve lost the plot a little bit. Dating should be fun, and it hasn’t been for me in a long time.
Can anyone *really* rehabilitate a fuckboy?
I think so, but they have to want to change. My approach with rehabilitating fuckboys has been a lot of communication and unpacking their habits: what makes them this way? Are they really happy with their dating life as it is now?
I can put in hours and hours of work, and hold people accountable, but if they themselves don’t want to change, then they’re not going to. It has to start with them. And I think a part of that could be not hooking up with them, because people have no incentive to change if they’re going to keep getting what they want.
What inspired you to speak out about fuckboys?
I’ve had a lot of experience with fuckboys. I’ve been single for three-and-a-half years, so I’ve been on a lot of dates and I’ve hooked up with a lot of bad people – some good ones, but a lot of bad ones. At a certain point, I just said, “you know what, I can’t do this anymore.” As a babe with the power, I decided that I don’t have to let things happen to me; I can be in control of who I’m letting into my life. So I decided I wasn’t going to let fuckboys in anymore. And I’ve been doing that for about eight months. You know, I’ve relapsed a couple times, but in general, I feel like I’m in a good place with my “addiction” and I’m just trying to stay focused on what’s important.
As a babe with the power, I decided that I don’t have to let things happen to me, I can be in control of who I’m letting into my life.
Any advice or words of wisdom you could give on navigating the dating scene or relationships?
You’ve got to know what you’re looking for, know what you want, and always be checking in with yourself. In the past I’ve kind of wavered on what I’m looking for. At the beginning of this year, I thought I wanted to be in a relationship, and then for a long time, I thought I didn’t. And now I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. But it’s really hard to be in a good dynamic with someone if you don’t know what you want out of it. And that’s something I’ve definitely struggled with. What helps me in those situations is making sure to communicate. Like I said, you want to be checking in with yourself, but also checking in with the other person. If you’re making your feelings known and you’re putting yourself out there, which can be really hard to do, you’re being upfront with the person and that’s what’s important.
So fuckboys and dating aside, are you yourself out to break any stigmas?
Just being a woman in comedy, there’s inherently stigmas, because people think that women aren’t funny. That’s so crazy to me. How could you say that half of the population just isn’t funny? Being a woman in comedy is kind of an act of resistance. There’s a lot of pressure that comes along with it, you have to make sure you’re always at your best. That’s something I’m happy to take on because I’m not scared of a challenge, it’s like, okay, bring it on.
Being a woman in comedy is kind of an act of resistance.
Speaking of stigmas, how do you feel about stigmas around women who are sexually active and carry condoms?
I think that women who are sexually active or just want to be prepared at all times should definitely carry condoms. That way, there’s no excuse to not be safe. Being sexually active is amazing. You’re in control and you want to make sure that you are always taking every precaution and having safe sex.
What does being a Babe with the Power mean to you?
Being a Babe with the Power means that I’m in control…which I love, because I have control issues. I like when everything’s organized and in its place. Life doesn’t always work out that way. There’s all these gatekeepers and barriers we have to overcome, especially as women, but it’s important to remember that we should take charge of everything that’s in our control.
Thanks to Mary Beth for catching up with us, and we’re excited to follow her on her hard-earned and hilarious journey! For more on Mary Beth and her various projects, check out her website or follow her on Instagram @marybethbarone and @draghisass.
Got any good dating or fuckboy stories of your own? We’d love to hear them (and possibly share them in a future post). Xx
About the Author
A sophomore at New York University currently studying Gender and Sexuality Studies, Tara Jones (@tara.michaela on Instagram) hopes to get her Masters in Human Sexuality and go into either sex therapy or sex education. She wants to bring attention to how injustice manifests in sexual interactions and the orgasm gap. In Tara’s free time, she runs a small business designing and creating swimwear (@bytaraj on Instagram).