Binder of Funny Women
How producing Chicks and Giggles Made Me A Feminist
Right before I left my job at KPMG, I had lunch with a colleague. I had no idea what I was going to do next, but I knew I did not want to be an auditor any more. She suggested I take acting classes, and I wished I did. Two years later in 2004, I had the idea of starting a stand-up comedy show featuring all women. I hadn’t done any stand-up, and I only knew one female comic, but I did it. I posted an ad on Craig’s list looking for comedians. I scouted comedy shows all over town looking for talent. I created a blog for the show. Chicks and Giggles debuted in May 2004 at the Laugh Lounge on the Lower East Side. The show was well received. It got a mention in the New York Times, The New Yorker and even a short article in Bust magazine.
Anyway, spring of 2008 was the last show of Chicks and Giggles.The show was popular but penniless. I still support women in comedy virtually by spreading the word on social media about comic’s shows, podcasts, web series and tweets. There are a lot of funny women out there, but you often can’t tell by looking at TV. Saturday Night Live is the legendary institution of sketch comedy. Lorne Michaels is to comedy as Anna Wintour is to fashion. [Analogy by Liz]
Like Anna, some people think Lorne has a diversity problem. I agree to some extent. Many of the featured and prime time players of Saturday Night Live come from either sketch/improv groups. Upright Citizen’s Brigade, The Groundlings in Los Angeles and Second City in Chicago are like the Ivy League feeder school for the people who audition for SNL. The thing about improv groups are the classes. The classes are not like inexpensive continuing education classes; it can be expensive. I even considered taking an introductory class about three years ago, but I couldn’t justify spending the money. So if the barrier to entry is money for classes, then some people regardless of gender or race are not going to go that route. Improv is not for everybody. Stand-up is not for everybody, but comedy is for humans.
Anyway, when I read about this year’s new SNL class, I wasn’t surprised since I kinda know how the SNL sausage is made. It is a pretty much a brat party. [By brat, I mean the white sausage, not ill-mannered kids.]
There are a lot funny women who have taken the show online by doing web series, Vine videos and podcasts. These women are comedy writers and content producers. I have a long list, so if anyone reads this posts and wants to find a “binder of funny women” they can ask me and give me a producer credit.
Some of the funniest comedians I know include Michelle Buteau, Sara Benincasa, Carolyn Castiglia, Abbi Crutchfield, Robin Carson Cloud, Claudia Cogan, Livia Scott, Ann Carr, Marina Franklin, Calise Hawkins, Giulia Rozzi, Jenny Rubin, Catie Lazarus, Brooke Van Poppelen, Leighann Lord, Jess Wood to name a few.