Lizz Winstead has a cold. The New York–based comedian is speaking with me from her home town of Minneapolis, where she has been working on a book due out later this year — and where she caught a heckuva bug.
"Just so you know," she says with a noticeable Minnesota twang, "I'm not trying to sound sexy."
To say Winstead is an outspoken advocate for the leftist agenda is a significant understatement. She co-created The Daily Show and served as its head writer. She co-founded the Air America radio network.
Now, the comedian is embarking on a journey that would send Glenn Beck straight to the tissue box: as she makes her way back to her Brooklyn apartment from Minnesota, Winstead will stage a number of solo performances to benefit Planned Parenthood. The act hits the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline on Monday, July 18.
"I've used Planned Parenthood my whole life for health-care needs across the board, from pap smears to breast exams," says Winstead. Though she has sat on its Board of Advocates for over two years, recent attempts to defund the organization at the state and federal level have compelled her to do something more.
"What finally took me to the brink was that it feels like women's health care has become this bargaining chip," she says. "There's nowhere else in our tax code where we decide what we will and won't pay for. [If that were the case], I could say that I don't want my tax dollars going to war — I don't support that; it goes against my moral compass. And yet, it's women's health care that was bargained in the Hyde Amendment, it was bargained during the health-care debate, and they're trying to bargain with it now."
In addition to lamenting politicians' lack of concern for women's reproductive health, Winstead finds their focus on eliminating Planned Parenthood poorly timed. "My uterus doesn't create jobs," she says. "In fact, it doesn't do the job it's supposed to do any more. . . . The hypocrisy of putting Planned Parenthood at the foreground of debate and legislation is absurd."
When I suggest that her benefit tour sounds like Sean Hannity's paranoid fantasy, she chuckles. "It's a liberal cabal," she says. "We're in charge of everything. The liberal media includes Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann and maybe two other people . . . I don't know what world these people live in."