Women Are Funny B*tches
These days there’s a lot of chatter about women in comedy. More and more women are starring in and writing for comedy shows and movies, and are killing it on stage in the stand-up world. (To name a few…all the ladies of SNL, The Mindy Project, Broad City, Samantha Bee, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler).
We can thank the internet for disrupting traditional TV, both the production and consumption of it, and maybe even American society for waking up to the fact that WOMEN ARE FUNNY!*
Great! Let’s all pack up our pink bags and stop b*tching about women being marginalized in the comedy scene, and go back to sipping our sweet tea on the porch.*
*fire escape. Also I hate sugar in my tea.
If only it were that simple. The truth is I’ve been in the improv world for over 6 years now and my heart still bursts with joy when I see an all lady team perform, or a team where ladies are the majority because it is so rare.
Every time I see improv shows at major and underground theaters they’re dominated by men — both in numbers, voice levels, and stage time. Every week I attend jams where anyone can sign up and play on stage, and I’m often the only lady or one of very few (around 10% of total) in the theater.
I’ve been in many shows where before I speak a word, I’m labeled some dude’s wife, girlfriend, teacher, or nurse, and in my head I’m the husband, evil doctor, or bad-ass cop. That’s the thing about improv…you have to go with the reality that is given to you. But in the real world, thankfully, you do not.
This spring the Annoyance Theater launched an all lady workshop called “Set Bitch Free”, and free I felt after spending 3 hours with 15 supportive, funny b*tches. Due to popular demand they added more of these. Annoyance also sometimes runs a lady jam at 11:30pm on a Saturday. For years the Magnet Theater has hosted a monthly mainstage show for lady improvisers of all levels called “We Might Just Kiss”. It was the first show I’d ever performed in where the word d*ck was not uttered.
Major kudos to these theaters, but let’s be real — these shows and workshops are still playing in the margins running only once a month or less. We — women and men — (as a comedy community and as members of humanity) must do more to carve out a space for women only.
- When I play with a group of ladies I don’t have to yell so loud.
- When I play with a group of ladies I don’t have to compete so hard.
- When I play with a group of ladies I take more risks.
- When I play with a group of ladies I can be whoever I want.
- When I can be whoever I want, I grow as a comedian and a person, and that’s good for everyone.
Maybe one day (soon) a woman will be president and maybe she’ll make some jokes.
Speaking of lady bosses, feel what it’s like to play with all women in my communications workshop hosted with BeSpoken — June 18, 12–4pm in NYC. Sign up here.
Hear more about women in comedy from Magnet Theater’s funny lady Megan Gray’s podcast interview.
Originally published at www.lapertoso.com.