Kate the Wasp Gives Salvation Army Bell Ringing a Shot, Makes Some Important Points in the Process

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from comedian Kate Hendricks’ pearl clutching character Kate the Wasp, so let’s take a moment to check in with her, shall we? This time, Kate the Wasp gives being a Salvation Army bell ringer a shot, and, well… let’s just say that it doesn’t go as planned. Hopefully our delicate flower of a friend found her day ring-tin-tingling to be a learning experience.

To be fair, the video isn’t new — Hendricks first posted it in December of 2013, making it just about a year old — but given that the holiday season is kicking into high gear, I think now’s a good time to give it another look. Accompanying a seasoned bell ringer named Joyce, Kate spent a day trying to bring in donations outside of New York’s Grand Central Terminal; clad in a red Salvation Army apron and ringing a tiny bell as daintily as possible, she gave it her best. Either the city wasn’t feeling particularly charitable that day, or else Kate just isn’t cut out to be a bell ringing; she tried a variety of different tactics on the passersby coming and going from the busy station, but largely came up short. These tactics included, but were not limited to:

Giving Compliments:

“I love the mink!” she gushed. “That’s gorgeous!”

…But the mink-wearer just walked right on by. Kate's face right afterwards said it all.

Spreading Holiday Cheer:

Her “Happy holiday!” turned into genuine excitement for one brief, shining moment…

…But then the passerby went not to drop something in the kettle, but rather to pick up a copy of AM New York or Metro or whatever newspaper was in the red bin next to Kate’s setup.

Being Honest:

When told just to say whatever she had in her heart, Kate dutiful let loose a smiling, “I’m cold!” As you might imagine, this one didn’t go over so well.

And Singing:

Apparently no one ever taught Kate the words to “Lean on Me.”

But hey, she did manage to catch at least one person donating on camera:

Every little bit helps!

What I find most interesting about this video, though, is the way Kate the Wasp draws attention to a few uncomfortable truths — which, as a satirical figure, is what Hendricks’ character does when she's most successful: First, in a nod to some of the Christian organization’s past controversies, she wonders whether they’re allowed to reach out to non-Christians; and second, she observes that during their day out, almost no white people have stopped and donated. However, as uncomfortable as these questions and realizations are, they’re worth examining — and in fact, they’re worth examining because they’re so uncomfortable.

First, consider Kate the Wasp’s question of whether they, as bell ringers, should be reaching out to people who aren’t Christian. Although the Salvation Army’s official stance offers support for all faiths and orientations, it does have a few troubling instances in its history. For example, 18 employees sued the organization in 2004 for “imposing a religious veil over secular and publicly financed activities like caring for foster children and counseling young people with AIDS”; furthermore, anti-LGBT activity has peppered the Salvation Army’s history for decades. Whether you have an issue with the Salvation Army specifically or not, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of who you’re donating to — not all charities are exactly what they seem.

And as for the whole “white people aren’t stopping” thing? That’s about us as human beings. Obviously not all white people are privileged — but if we’ve learned nothing else from our current climate, it’s that by and large, they’re statistically likely to be more privileged than most. ‘Tis better to give than to receive, so those of us who do experience a good deal of privilege should check it and working towards creating it for everyone — and not just during the holiday season, either. It’s a year-round necessity.

If Kate the Wasp decides to return to the Salvation Army this year, she might want to take some advice from a few of the more creative bell ringers out there. Between Tinker the miniature horse (who, I’ll be honest, I’m kind of convinced is Lil Sebastian), this dancing superstar, and this dude dressed in a space suit, she’s going to have some pretty stiff competition.


Images: KatetheWasp/YouTube (8)