ALL FEMALE COMEDY SHOW
I got booked on a standup show that had all women on the bill. It took place in a function room within a hotel. So we’re all back stage (which is a conference room behind the room where the show is being held) and we’re chatting. The conference room setup to me seemed an appropriate metaphor because when women get together, we engage in real talk. Standup is dominated by men. People will try to argue that women in comedy have been persevering. And when I say people I mean my 30-ish male roommate. I’m in the business and I’ve been around. I’m not talking about network backed comedic actors (who incidentally are managed by men). I’m down in the trenches in comedy clubs. I’m in the reality of where men are booked and some females get peppered in like pieces of feta in a Greek salad. I wanted to respond to my roommate by saying “what are you kidding me?” but I left it alone.
The funny thing about men – smart men – is they want to tell you how it all is. And, while I can remain polite if it is coming from an older man, if it is coming from a younger man, I find it utterly unbearable i.e. I want to respond "women are not persevering in comedy, dickhead."
I want to say, “um, we get our own category in standup.” (Isn’t that cute?) “All Female Comedy Show” is what shows are labeled as, whereas an “All Male Comedy Show” is just a show. At a club, the flyer will have say, four acts all listed with headshots that are clearly all men but the word “men” does not need to be added in the title of the show.
That said, it was refreshing to be in a room full of women. We have conversations that connect one another. Our talk is deep. We get down to the real shit fast. We were talking breastfeeding. My brooding on being labeled a female comedian instead of a comic rendered me tired. I grew bitter being pigeon-holed like my gender is some kind of “other” in standup. I totally relished the estrogen of this particular show. Plus I could talk about me and the other person actually listened.
We started talking dating. I don’t date. It’s a total issue, but who better to talk about it with? A room full of broads. Perfect. This particular topic I am reserving for the next blog. On to sore nipples.
It’s weird that tender areola banter made me feel elated. It wasn’t the subject matter as much as the company. Women let it all out. Isn’t that great? I grew up with my father. I am very comfortable in the company of men, because I hold everything in like a man. If it weren’t for PMS, I would never have emotions (or cry at cat commercials). How refreshing to be with humans who don’t have walls up like me. We weren’t talking about festivals or agents. We were talking about how your breasts will swell to magnanimous proportion if you don’t breastfeed after you’ve given birth. The new mother explained that if you happen to be in Sri Lanka and your pump breaks, you’re fucked. The culture of this country frowns upon breast feeding and considers it barbaric, so there is no place to purchase one. With a broken pump, and the baby off with her family for the afternoon, she went on to describe in detail that her breasts felt like a couple of over-stuffed air mattresses. Who knew?
What I learned is, if I have a baby I should stay away from certain parts of India. Oh, and I need to be around women more. And come to think of it, maybe it’s fine that we get our own show after all.