Comedian Ashley Austin Morris using stand-up as platform to combat domestic violence

MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- Female comedians are using their stand-up acts as a platform to remind all of us there is nothing funny about sexism, and Ashley Austin Morris is one who has made it a focus in her funny act.

Morris is one of those familiar faces who is not yet a household name, but she is in the forefront of the effort to combat domestic violence, and she thinks comedy can help.

"So there's a lot of stuff about being a woman," she said. "There's a lot of stuff about getting rid of shame, of aging or shame of your face. Your cheekbones here, and you go, 'not today,' and you draw a new one on, right? And it's like a smoke signal to me. It's like, 'Look, I won't use big words or challenge your belief system.' You know what I mean?"

Before landing parts on prime time shows like ABC's "Desperate Housewives," Austin grew up in Texas and now lives in New York City.

"I don't know a single woman, not a single woman, who hasn't had an encounter with sexual assault/abuse," she said.

Austin has been performing at Stand Up NY and donating a portion of her salary to a nonprofit that works to end sex trafficking.

"We have some women who are born and literally, they live in cages in India, basically," she said. "And they are only here to service men sexually."

It's hard to find any funny in women who are so often marginalized, but she does find opportunities in this #MeToo movement.

"Because I can't really make you laugh about something if you haven't acknowledged that we all share this experience," Austin said. "And now it's all in the open, and we can all laugh about it. Women in the workplace, you want to lean in, but not get me too'd, so it's like aah."

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