On the same day the cast of The Avengers was assembling for its London premiere, the film’s writer-director Joss Whedon was in New York, attending the twentieth anniversary celebration of Equality Now. In fact, Whedon penned some comic skits for the ceremony, with actors like Laura Linney, Eliza Dushku, and Daphne Zuniga reading his lines. How did he make room in his busy schedule for this feminist organization’s landmark anniversary? “This was a terrible idea for me to do all this [at the same time],” Whedon acknowledged to Vulture. “But it’s very important to me … It’s hard to have a sense of humor in situations like this, but it’s crucial. You have to challenge the status quo, because people don’t want to talk about [sexism]. The status is not quo.” As for those sketches he wrote, Whedon explained, “The point is to put a dramatic face on [the issue] while at the same time come out with a kooky evil robot from the future.” And he did exactly that in the following skit, starring Daphne Zuniga as herself and UCB actor Neil Casey as a chintzy-looking evil robot. Vulture transcribed it for you … enjoy!
Daphne Zuniga: What equality means to me is that women are given their moment, their chance to stand alone before everyone, with dignity, and to know that no man is going to try to upstage …
Evil Robot: [comes on stage, making robot noises]
Zuniga: … with dignity…
Evil Robot: Evil! Evil!
Zuniga: Oh, no. Evil robot from the future.
Evil Robot: I am an evil robot from the future!
Zuniga: I just said that.
Evil Robot: It’s my line. And I am an evil robot from the future.
Zuniga: What do you want, evil robot? Have you come from the future to destroy humankind?
Evil Robot: I come from the future to destroy … Stop saying my lines! I come all the way from the future!
Zuniga: What is it like?
Evil Robot: All the humans like to have a good time, jet packs, it makes me want to barf. Not the jet packs, those are pretty cool, but all the singing and dancing, all the people building things together, and getting along. Ergh! So that’s why I was nominated by the Robot Council to come back in time to destroy the human race.
Zuniga: So I suppose you’re going to tell us your evil plan. I can’t believe Laura Linney got the [female genital mutilation] thing and I got this bit.
Evil Robot: Ouch! Ouch! What, you think I can’t feel? Okay, here’s the plan. The plan is to pit one half of the human population against the other, so robots can take over the land … and the jet packs.
Zuniga: Really? Really?
Evil Robot: That’s the plan.
Zuniga: You think humans will go for this?
Evil Robot: They’ll love it. There will be oppression, there will be bloodshed …
Zuniga: Starting now?
Evil Robot: Starting now.
Zuniga: So you’re going to create the inequality between the sexes?
Evil Robot: Between the what?
Zuniga: Wow, you’re tripping me out. You’re going to invent the oppression of women?
Evil Robot: No, no, where are you getting this from? That would be insane. Random. Why would men hate women? Men need women. They literally need each other. Why would men hate women? That’s nuts. They can’t reproduce on an assembly line like we can … which in my opinion is way hotter.
Zuniga: So violence against women isn’t a part of the future?
Evil Robot: No. Why are you fixated on this?
Zuniga: No femicide? No honor killing? No sex trafficking? No female genital mutilation?
Evil Robot: [agitated] Where are you getting this stuff? Please, no! No!
Zuniga: Well, then, who were you planning on turning against each other?
Evil Robot: Figuring it out! Um, Vikings. Steam-punkers. Vegans. The people behind Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which is still running in the year 10,220. People who wear weird things. [motions to throat]
Evil Robot: Yes. It’s a work in progress.
Zuniga: Nothing about women?
Evil Robot: No! You’ve got to talk to somebody, because you’re fixated on this for some reason. No, no, nothing about women.
Zuniga: Great, great. So you’re not against equality. So why are you here tonight?
Evil Robot: I uh … [clears throat] I wanted to see if maybe you’d sign my Spaceballs DVD.
Zuniga: [signs DVD as the robot starts to walk away] No, no, wait, maybe we’re the evil ones, and you’re the …
Evil Robot. No, no, I’m evil. And I hate all of you … equally.