Jul 2012 11

by Nicole Powers

“Why are we giving any credence to anybody who says ‘I would like to reduce the number of abortions and the way that I want to do that is to remove all access to birth control.’”
– Lizz Winstead

Lizz Winstead is one of the bravest comedians around today. She talks about abortion with a rare candor, as is a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood. Her work raising awareness and funds (over a million dollars to date!) for the organization has not surprisingly raised the ire of the religious right, but she stands firm, fighting for women’s reproductive rights at a time when in recent history they’ve never been more in peril.

In her new book, Lizz Free Or Die, she devotes a chapter to her own experience as a frightened and bewildered teenager who discovered she was pregnant, and who was even more frightened and bewildered by the reactions of the adults she trusted to give her honest advice, help, and support.

The book also features essays, which are poignant and hilarious in equal parts, on her upbringing in a conservative Catholic family, her coming of age as a stand up comedian in Minneapolis, the roots of The Daily Show which she co-created, and the rise and fall of Air America which she co-founded.

We caught up with Lizz by phone. Though the native Minnesotan currently calls New York home, she spoke to us from Texas where she’d just done one of her numerous Planned Parenthood stand up fundraising shows. This particular one raised money for a clinic that had recently lost every penny of its state funding for essential community services such as teen pregnancy testing and health care.

Read our exclusive interview with Lizz Winstead on