Consent, condoms, and comedy
Sex is . . . funny. Why not make sex ed funny too?
What happens when sex education, comedic skits, and a group of UMass students collide? The result is something like colorful confetti personified in the form of the Not Ready for Bedtime Players (NRBP).
Founded in 1988 to shed a factual light on the AIDS crisis, NRBP became a peer-led sex education troupe that uses comedic skits and theatrics to inform their student audiences about sex-related topics ranging from healthy sexuality to relationship abuse.
The group is always developing new material, offering fresh and relatable approaches. One recent bit adapted Lizzo’s hit song “Truth Hurts,” replacing the original lyrics about dysfunctional connections with a tongue-in-cheek version about indicators of a healthy relationship, like good communication and respecting each other’s space.
NRBP hosts free performances all over campus on Wednesday nights during the academic year. Their spring season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting campus closure, but given the riotous responses to their shows, it’s safe to say they’ll be back.
History undergraduate Shai Bocarsly ’23, who wants to be an educator, joined the troupe so that one day he can be a well-rounded source of knowledge for his students. “Sex ed is super important and super underutilized—it’s not very well implemented in schools across the board,” he says. “So, for me in being an educator, this is just something that I should be better at. I’m developing skills here so when I'm actually working I can be helpful.”
Regional planning graduate student Nathalie Irmer ’19, ’23MS says she’s found a “soulful fulfillment” in participating in NRBP by “doing work that genuinely engages people and educates in a way that doesn't feel overbearing, especially on a college campus.”
“This is really members of UMass giving back to the community,” says group director Tommy Claire. “They’re dedicating themselves and their time and their passion for the subject and showing their commitment to each other and their school.”
Watch a short documentary about the Not Ready for Bedtime Players, featuring a cameo from Captain Condom: