i found this vaguely irritating article about women in comedy because i’ve been getting excited about going south to this women’s comedy festival this weekend. festival woo! lots of funny people!! i’m a bit nervous… and growing more so. we will see how i fare down there.
but that is not the point! this related article is:
it’s an article from the huffington post and it just has rubbed me the wrong way, and i’m not entirely sure why. i guess first because it’s like a cut-and-paste Feminist Report on Women in Stand-up Comedy. it has everything it’s supposed to have:
a litany of “first women to” names and dates,
assertion that a gentleman of unenlightened thinking only considered women to be “baby-making machines,”
a reference to eleanor roosevelt,
an Appropriate Mention to Women Of Color (wanda sykes),
the use of the phrases, “You Go Girl!”, “Get out!”, and “Not!”,
and a bulletted Call to Action.
that’s the bulk of it…
aha! i just figured out why i’m miffed with it. yes the cut-and-pastiness, and the catch phrases. but more because there’s nothing about art and nothing about being funny in this article! the author doesn’t seem to have anything to say about what women are talking about – or men for that matter. this woman doesn’t give a shit about being funny. she cares about filling a quota. she just wants the numbers to be even and then everything will be right with the world. that’s fucking dumb.
are there more women starting comedy than we think but fewer make it? do they quit early at a higher rate, do they just exist but without the ability to get work? some kind of actual information would be useful. or let’s talk about why things that women think are funny are not funny to men, or why we persist in thinking that when it’s clear that all that kind of thing is breaking down anyway. the kinds of things that men are talking about, the things that women can say that men can’t and vice versa. let’s talk about how it’s weird to create small niche interest groups (Women Comics and Black Comics and Gay Comics and Hispanic Comics) because grouping like that is usually a way for big companies to sell small things more easily, and how often is that ever good for new ideas and realness?
i think out of the ideas in the article it’s mostly the quota thing that bugs me. who wants to be on a stage to make sure the numbers are even? maybe that is how it has to be to get over prejudices… but that seems to me like it would perpetuate that stereotype, that quota-filling allows men (and women!) who don’t want to think women are funny to write them off as the requisite broads who didn’t have to work as hard because they had secured spots. when of course they are working as hard, everyone’s working as hard as they’re gonna work, but the perception is that the women did not earn their spots and thus the problem persists. grr it’s a problematic problem.
yes it is kind of absurd that there are no women comics on a major festival (although …–
breaking news at this hour: this article is an ultra-irritating ruse because the headline says “No Women in New York Comedy Festival” but the first line actually says “The New York Comedy Festival ad features ten men and no women.” upon investigation there are women in the festival, just not any headliners, i guess. there is the show afterbirth, which is about parents and thus of course has a number of women in the cast. why not just say that?? frump.
so THIS is why i feel weird about going to the women’s comedy festival… i don’t know. of course i think it is good to spotlight women in an entertainment field where women are few and far between. i had a really good time not advancing in the san francisco women’s comedy competition this year, and i’m really excited about this weekend. it’s always awesome to group performers in different ways to see what is the same and what is different with them. this article just made me irritated is all, and i had this donut i had to eat so i had to distract myself with words… no resolution, no reason, nothing is settled or illuminated. typical. good night for now friends.