The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A D.C. comedian was assaulted at night, and it could shape her next big gig

(Courtesy of Paris Sashay)
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Paris Sashay had finished a stand-up gig at Takoma Station Tavern last Saturday evening, met up with some friends at Cafe Asia in downtown D.C., and was headed to her car around 3 a.m. with her sister when a group of men began cat-calling her.

Sashay, 23, ignored their advances and kept walking toward her car in the 1700 block of I Street NW. The  men, according to a police report, appeared to be following them, approached them from behind and pushed both women to the ground.

Sashay was wearing high heels and says she fell hard, losing consciousness, breaking her nose and knocking out some teeth. Her sister didn’t suffer any major injuries.

“I hit my face so hard. My sister put me in the car and took me to the hospital,” she said. “When I got up, the whole room was spinning.”

Sashay says she, and many other women she knows, often are verbally harassed on the streets of D.C., but none of her previous encounters on the street had escalated to a physical assault.

“I just got so many stories, that this happens to so many women and they don’t come forward,” Sashay said.

The injuries came at a particularly difficult time for Sashay: She is scheduled to make her stand-up debut at the DC Improv Comedy Club on Thursday evening, which she committed to this month.

Despite her injuries, Sashay said she decided that she will still perform, and might even incorporate the assault into her act.

She describes her comedy as honest and open, and says her recent experience is something many of her audience members can relate to.

“I have been waiting since I’ve started doing comedy to perform at the DC Improv and I don’t want to miss it,” she said. “I feel like they’re putting me in a super power position and I have to save the night. Too many people are coming through the same situation and they are not coming forward.”

The DC Improv show is 8 p.m. Thursday at 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW.