It’s International Women’s Day. This means really bad jokes will be told by really bad comics. Let’s figure out why.
The ‘women aren’t funny’ debate isn’t a debate. We all know this. The only people that actually think women aren’t funny are delusional. The problem is delusional people can still take the stage.
But the ‘women aren’t funny’ debate is a good starting point to ask why more women aren’t on stage. Why aren’t there more women doing stand up? Fronting bands?
It’s been done. The top 5 comics and bands lists, ever or working today, includes women. So why does every lineup seem to be a whole lotta dudes? Maybe it’s the programmers.
The owners and bookers at the best comedy club in D.C. (DC Improv) and best rock club in D.C. (Black Cat) are either run by females or corun by females. They do feature talented female performers. There are independent bookers that run shows out of bars and theaters who do not book women. These shows are not good. You don’t know about them. They’re not covered on this site for that reason. So it’s not the bookers at good places.
I’ve been to all-female comedy shows and allfemale music shows. They tend to do remarkably well. The audience leaves happy and the venue makes a lot of dough. They’re the kind of shows that make you ask why there aren’t more all-female comedy and music shows. So it’s not the audience. Maybe women are hard to work with.
My boss is a woman. Her boss is a woman. The person that created this site is a woman. The person I live with is a woman. No different than working with males. So what’s left?
If it’s not the quality of performance, audience, bookers or working relationships, what’s left? The performers. The other performers, fellow ‘artists,’ are the people keeping it weird for a good, gender diverse show.
Hosting my talk show is one of my favorite things in the world. Talking to comics and bands after my talk show sometimes make me want to quit. 90% of the crowd is great. Most of the performers are wonderful. That leaves enough people to come up to me after every show and say at least one ignorant, sexist thing.
After last Monday’s show I received a Facebook message from a ‘new comic’ asking about how to get booked for my show and informing me he’d like to ‘get in the pants’ of a female comic that recently appeared on the show. On last Thursday’s show a male comic performed a bit about Manti Te’o, assigning the athlete classically female traits leading to a punchline of, “He’s gay!” A recent guest talked past my co-host and to me about wanting to fuck my co-host. My co-host is a female. I could go on. I do not want to go on.
I can write about this stuff and won’t be called a bad word or lose a booking. The same can’t be said for the female performers that experience everyday sexism. I won’t be assigned the angry or unfunny label for writing about these common occurrences.
Maybe that’s why there aren’t more female comics and musicians. As long as it’s OK for guys with guitars to justify the reason they picked up an instrument was, “To get chicks!” and OK for guys behind the mic to earnestly say “Women are crazy!,” I’m afraid we’re at a neverending sausage party.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.