Being a Hillary supporter in Brooklyn can feel a bit lonely these days. Bernie Sanders fans are attending waterfront rallies in Greenpoint, watching the candidate walk the boardwalk at Coney Island or hanging with his posse that includes the Hulk, the Night Nurse, the Penguin and the literal human embodiment of Apple. Back in February, we reported on the trend that NYC comedians were holding lots of fundraisers for Bernie Sanders, but none for Hillary.
Filmmaker and comedian Heather Fink noticed this too — and she noticed her friends were staying in the closet about their Hillary support, since everyone else had flocked to Bernie. So in response, she put together a late-night comedy show and party this Saturday, with a lineup featuring Jena Friedman, Liam McEneany, Mo Fathelbab and more. It’s partly to rally support ahead of the April 19 New York primary, and partly to tell others it’s OK to vote for Hillary.
“There are all these Hillary supporters online, a lot of them message me privately: ‘I don’t want to say anything publicly … I don’t feel comfortable saying it, all my friends are for Bernie,’ ” Fink said. “I was like fuck this, I just need to do this event. If I build it, they will come.”
The event, called Chillary NYC, will be held Saturday (April 16) from midnight to 4am at Gold Sounds, 44 Wilson Ave. in Bushwick. In addition to Friedman (a former writer for David Letterman and producer for The Daily Show) and Fathelbab, who ran the anti-Trump special at the Experiment Comedy Gallery and many more comics, the event features dancing, Hillary-themed drink specials, and what’s being billed as “NYC’s hottest pantsuit competition.” Fink said the event won’t be overly political and it’s open to anyone who is “Hillary curious” or has “bi-presidential orientations.”
Fink, a 34 year old living in Greenpoint, made the event a late-night affair so it had the feel of a party and not a political event.
“I can’t leave work at 3pm to go to a rally,” she said. “I had better speak up otherwise there’s only one voice being heard. I want to dance and be positive and have fun.”
This election has taken on a tone we rarely get to see in NYC politics: With the nomination still in play rolling into New York’s late-in-the-game primary vote, it’s led to a lot of liberal-on-liberal rage, dividing otherwise harmonious sects of progressive Brooklynites into Feel the Bernites or #ImWithHerers (even if everyone says they’ll eventually support whichever Democrat runs in the fall). This presented a challenge to Fink when booking the show: She’s been personally harassed for supporting Clinton on Facebook. She lost a good friend over political arguments; a few days ago someone else called her a c word and a b word online.
She had to search the #imwithher hashtag to find acts who are Clinton supporters — finding comedians was easy, finding musicians was tougher. Supporters tend to express themselves in private messages, not publicly, she said.
Voting for Hillary is like putting a bandaid with Neosporin over an infected wound. Voting for Bernie is trying to heal it homeopathically..
— Jena Friedman (@JenaFriedman) April 1, 2016
“I really had to scour and search,” she said. Fink supports Hillary for her support of women’s rights and reproductive issues, but also because she’s a tough lady who’s unquestionably had to put up with a lot of sexist and hateful bullshit in her career.
“She’s one of the most uniquely qualified individuals we’ve ever had run for president in our lifetime,” Fink said. “She’s so intelligent and so capable, she can navigate these shark-filled waters actually having accomplished something.”
She got an offer from the campaign to make the party an official Hillary Clinton campaign event, but declined so she could keep it looser instead. She hopes people who come feel more emboldened to support Hillary, or at least consider her.
“I hope that everyone can sort of come out of the closet, if people are scared to admit [their support],” she said. “If some comedians have a really good Bernie joke, sure, but this is not about hating or being negative on any candidate.”