Topic of sex broached with comedy

Ryan G. Murphy

On Monday night, dating, sex and sexual assault were all seen in a new light – they were laughed at.

Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S), the University’s sexual assault peer educators, and Greek Affairs co-sponsored “Sex Signals,” an educational comedy about dating, gender and assault.

The performers, Jarod Miller and Amber Kelly, are two of the six nationally renowned actors and educators of Catharsis Productions, who tour colleges across the country.

“Sex Signals” has been in production for four years and offers a diverse look at dating and gender roles on college campuses. In a style similar to the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” the performers improvise dating scenarios and simulate typical bar and party scenes associated with college life.

The first half of the performance offered a look at the stereotypical roles men and women have in society. With help from the audience, Miller and Kelly showed that women are often wrongly perceived as passive and proper, while men are stereotypically seen as dominant and aggressive.

In one scene, Miller asked the audience for an example of a typical pick-up line used by students. One male audience member offered, “What’s your sign?”

Miller then used the suggestion to act out a comedic bar scene, which resulted in enthusiastic laughter from the crowd.

The tone of the audience quickly became serious, however.

Still in character, Miller and Kelly acted out a scene in which Miller’s character had been accused of raping his girlfriend.

After the scene, Miller and Kelly opened up the floor for discussion about sexual assault and date rape.

Of the program’s unique design Kelly said, “Using comedy in our routine breaks down the barriers people sometimes have coming into a show about sexual assault. If dating issues and sexual assault are made easier to talk about when the lights are on, it might be easier to talk about when the lights are off.”

Ultimately, the show is designed to give students a new look and a better knowledge about themselves and their peers when it comes to issues of dating and sexual assault. “Hopefully the show helps to create a vocabulary for students to talk about these issues,” Miller said.

“Sex Signals” was brought to campus as the opening event for S.O.S. Sexual Assault Awareness Week. In their two years of operation, the peer educators of S.O.S. have performed numerous programs about sexual assault and date rape at the University. Sexual Assault Awareness Week is the hallmark event for the educators and they felt “Sex Signals” was an obvious choice for a performance.

“‘Sex Signals’ is such an effective program because the students can relate to what the actors are saying about dating on college campuses,” Stacy Andes, assistant director of peer education said. “Using comedy in talking about something serious like sexual assault is an excellent way to get responses from students.”

Many students responded positively to Sex Signals. “I absolutely loved the performance,” said senior Erin Brand, “I think it was a good college-aged presentation because it linked humor with issues of sexual assault.”

“It was both comedic and informal,” freshman Allison Konick said. “And it spread important issues that affect college-aged students.”

The performance was housed in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center, with approximately 500 people in attendance.

For more information about “Sex Signals,” visit