Young Comedian Beth Stelling is a shining star on the comedy circuit and as many comedians do, she uses her own life as inspiration when writing jokes. However, it turns out that for months the female comedian has been holding in an awful secret; an abusive relationship.
Stelling was with her abuser for two months before finding the courage to break up with him now she’s taken to Instagram to tell her story about her emotional, physical, verbal abuse and rape. As well as the difficulties of escaping his presence in her life.
Beth, who released a Comedy Central special and album Simply the Beth earlier this year; wrote the post after she finally started talking about the abuse on stage. For a while her ex-boyfriend convinced her not to talk about him in her act as some of the comedy scene would know who she was talking about. After a while Beth found she had to open up. She said: “I don’t want revenge or to hurt him now, but it’s unhealthy to keep this inside because my stand-up is pulled directly from my life,”
Since starting to talk about it on stage she has had fans come up to her showing their support and asking her to continue spreading her message.
The full message posted on Instagram read:
Same girl in all of these photos (me). I’ve had an amazing year and you’ve seen the highlights here, so these photos are an uncommon thing to share but not an uncommon issue. You may be weirded out but do read on. I have a point. There are many reasons not to make an abusive relationship public, mostly fear. Scared of what people will think, scared it makes me look weak or unprofessional.
When I broke up with my ex this summer, it wasn’t because I didn’t love him, it was because of this. And I absolutely relapsed and contacted him with things I shouldn’t have, but there are no “best practices” with this. When friends or comics ask why we broke up it’s not easy or comfortable to reply; it doesn’t seem like the appropriate thing to say at a stand-up show, a party or a wedding. It’s embarrassing. I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It’s not simple.
After I broke up with him he said, “You’re very open and honest in your stand-up, and I just ask that you consider me when you talk about your ex because everyone knows who you’re talking about.” And I abided. I wrote vague jokes because we both live in L.A. and I didn’t want to hurt him, start a war, press charges, be interrogated or harassed by him or his friends and family. I wanted to move on and forget because I didn’t understand. I don’t want revenge or to hurt him now, but it’s unhealthy to keep this inside because my stand-up is pulled directly from my life. It’s how I make my living. My personal is my professional. That is how I’ve always been; I make dark, funny.
So now I’m allowing this to be part of my story. It’s not my only story, so please don’t let it be. If you live in L.A., you’ve already started to hear my jokes about this and I ask you to have the courage to listen and accept it because I’m trying. Already since talking about this onstage, many women have come to me after shows asking me to keep doing it. Men have shown their solidarity.
An ex-girlfriend of this ex-boyfriend came to me and shared that she experienced the same fate. Then there was another and another (men and women) who shared other injustices at his hand that..
Stelling has received an immense amount of support from the comedy scene including Kumail Nanjiani from Silicon Valley who tweeted: “This makes me feel many things but chief among them is that Beth Stelling is awesome and I’m happy we’re friends.”
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or visit thehotline.org.