This past weekend I was sent up to Boston on assignment: it was my mission to attend the sixth-annual Women in Comedy Festival and discover whether there are real, live human women performing comedy. Along with The Maude‘s Boston correspondent, Emily Gaudette, I attended numerous standup, sketch, and storytelling shows featuring women from across the country and even some who managed to sneak over the border from Canada.
After watching WICF’s standup showcase featuring the comedic stylings of Cameron Esposito, Kelly MacFarland, Pam Vannostern, Carmen Lagala, Langston Kerman (a man — but he said his favorite rapper is Lil’ Kim, so we’ll let it pass), Corinne Fisher, and Rhea Butcher, Emily looked directly into my eyes, placed her hands on mine and said “KR, I can confirm that women occasionally make jokes here in Boston. It does occur.”
We were off next to Improv Boston, Beantown’s epicenter of yes-anding and plaid shirts. We attended a heartfelt and hilarious storytelling showcase (with performances from Catherine McCormick, Terry Heyman, Sue Schmidt, Jennifer Myskowski, and Ginny Leise) and a riotous, partially nude, and upbeat sketch showcase (featuring Vanessa Gonzalez, Cory!, The Gibson/Antonellis Comedy Hour), both of which consisted of women standing on stages making us laugh. It was becoming more and more clear that the rumors were true and that there was such a thing as the woman comedian.
After much debate, a few beers, and running into one of Emily’s friends who was bar tending but also “did comedy,” everything added up to one indisputable conclusion: it may have taken six years but, by the grace of Gilda Radner, there are women and they are in comedy!
Now, I know this is a bold statement to make. You’ve probably never seen a flesh-and-blood woman comedian before; you’re probably thinking at this very moment that such a creature would just stand around and make pained jokes about her period, that only two men would understand her: Ben and jerry. Hell, even Cameron Esposito, a woman comedian herself, told us that “sometimes [all-women festivals] can be the worst possible thing.” But we found that WCIF’s purpose isn’t to exclude men or to prove once and for all that women are superior comedic beings (that’s what we’re doing over here at The Maude). The true benefit of gathering a bunch of women performers in one city to tell jokes, put on wigs, and recount more stories about shitting their pants than Emily and I had expected, is to remind all women that our voices are important (and shouldn’t be silenced just because we have dainty vocal chords), our experiences are unique (can you imagine two women feeling differently about bras?!), and whether or not we enjoy jokes about our periods, it’s a hell of a lot better hearing a woman telling them than a dude.
It looks like the Women in Comedy Festival’s job is done. The world now knows that there are women in comedy. We cannot wait to attend next year’s First Annual Remembrance of the Sixth Annual Women in Comedy Festival. If it’s anything like this year’s festival, it’s sure to be a blast.