….“As a comedian I am obviously a big free speech advocate, which is why this recent wave of protests bother me,” he says. “Though most of the protesters have good intentions and show up simply looking to exercise their free speech rights, many come for the sole purpose of starting fights and causing destruction. That’s not how we solve problems in America.”
“What I do is bring a bit of absurdism to the venue, to hopefully keep things lighthearted while also showing how ridiculous it is to characterize these protests as if they are the battlegrounds of a civil war,” says the comedian. “These kids may think they are badass street soldiers fighting against the forces of evil, but it’s hard to maintain that narrative when you’re being heckled by a peanut vendor.”
Gesualdi says that unlike the last time, the protest site was “almost devoid” of right-wing voices, many of whom were chased off by the large Antifa turnout, or because they were warned not to go by the organizer.
“I saw one group of people being chased into the police station by a group of leftists,” he says. “There’s actually a great video of this on LiveLeak, which pans over to me hawking my wares.”
The comedian says that the normal Berkeley protest crowd was peaceful, with “lots of people laughing, asking for pictures, etc.” A trio of Juggalos — fans of Insane Clown Posse — even treated Gesualdi to a bottle of Faygo and he got to sing along to “I’m Gonna Let It Shine” with older hippies.
“It was only when I got too close to the Antifa camp that things started to go south,” he says, describing how he was attacked by two separate black-clad groups.
“One group of Antifa-types took issue with the tiny American flags attached my vendor’s tray of snacks,” he described footage that was captured on his video. “Declaring them symbols of colonialism and white supremacy, they ripped them off and burned them in front of me. I was surprised they were so brazen about it, and parts of the crowd even cheered as the flags burned.”
Gesualdi was confronted by another set of Antifa later on in the day, when one of them declared him a “troll” and encouraged the group to accost him. “Knowing this could end badly I attempted to walk away from the situation, but they followed behind, ringing a cowbell for some reason. Very intimidating.”
He speculates that the reason he was targeted was because few right-wing voices had come out for them to attack, so they were happy to go after him. “They lobbed some rotten tomatoes at me, but thankfully, none of them could throw worth a damn. They blared rape whistles in my ear and got some tomato juice on my shirt, but stormed off in anger when I just ignored their nonsense and kept trying to sell them bags of popcorn.”
Gesualdi says that what really surprised him about the protest was how many people there were going on about the “evils of capitalism.”
“They seemed too much like a stereotype of the classic clueless communist who knows capitalism is evil but isn’t really sure why,” he says. “One young man tried seriously explaining to me that people didn’t want to pay because they were socialist, though I actually had commenters from socialist countries tell me that of course they pay for their food and that kid was a clueless idiot.”
“Others told me to cease my selling and ‘seize the means of production.’ I will have to look into seeing if the state is willing to acquire me a free peanut factory.”
Gesualdi says he won’t let the bad experience deter him from going to future rallies if it allows him to keep exposing their absurdity, but he worries that Antifa will paint a target on his back if he becomes a regular face.
“The Berkeley police were nowhere to be seen on both occasions I’ve gone and I honestly believe it’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed at one of these things,” he says.