Natalie Jose Credit: Courtesy Natalie Jose

In her latest hour-long special, One of the Greats, Chelsea Peretti took aim at the sexist idea that female comedians lean too heavily on menstruation for material. If men got their periods, she said, they’d never shut up about it, especially onstage. But when a woman dares mention her reproductive organs, in conversation and especially in comedy, it touches off a collective male groan.

That certainly won’t be the case at the East Room’s Planned Parenthood Stand Up Benefit, featuring a powerhouse lineup of local ladies: Reena Calm, Ali Clayton, Kristin Clifford, and Natalie Jose. Together they’re some of the strongest voices in Chicago comedy right now, each speaking her mind about body image, family life, the contemporary plight of women, and whatever else she damn well pleases. 

Clayton is a bisexual southern belle obsessed with her mother’s celebrity obsession: “My mom tells me Steve Harvey is her favorite comedian. I tell her Roseanne is my favorite mom.” Clifford is a wannabe police officer who has accepted she’s just not cut out for the job: “I run slower than I walk, and I would just make tiny gestures at criminals,” she says. “It doesn’t work.” As a kid Calm thought she’d be happy if she were cool—now she just thinks it would be cool if she were happy. And Jose spends her summers slinging beer at music festivals, where she’s learned a very valuable lesson: “It’s so important that kids have a place to go to do drugs.”

Rounding out the show is the night’s lone male performer, Nicholas Rouley, who is very funny in his own right. 

Planned Parenthood Stand Up Benefit, Wed 12/2, 8 PM, East Room, 2828 W. Medill, eastroomchicago.com, $5.