Sausage by Southwest

Well, LAFFsters. On Tuesday, we took Hannelore, our pet dragon, out to the curb to immolate our LAFF mailbox. Thanks to all 87 of you who submitted your work to the festival! We are so happy that word of our little lady-funny hoedown made it across the country to such a diverse group of talent. We look forward to piecing together our 2011 schedule and sharing it with you.

Another Austin festival you may have heard of, South by Southwest, recently released their lineup of comedians performing this year. We couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming dudeness of the list. I mean, we love us some men who are funny, but ONLY ONE LADYPERSON? Really?

Here’s the thing: to be selected for SXSW, you have to be really good, right? And you get really good by practicing. By getting up on that stage and taking lots of risks, potentially sucking, having bad nights, and being heckled by one too many Bud-pickled losers who need to get a life. If anything, we want LAFF to provide valuable stage-time and audience for budding female comedians to take risks and to help them along their road to super-awesomeness. In some ways, we want to be that doting stage mom, waiting in the back with a smile and a hug and a pan of brownies. But mostly, we want to pop a teeth guard in our performers’ mouth and tell them not to leave the stage until it’s covered in blood.

We here at LAFF HQ, Hannelore included, are curious if anyone knows WHY thirty out of thirty-one listed comedians are guys. We know there is no lack of hilarious, qualified female talent out there. Let’s get our Nancy Drews out there to find out why. And how we can score tickets to see John Oliver. John Oliver…so witty. So glasses-wearing. (sigh)

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2 responses to “Sausage by Southwest

  1. Halle-frickin-lujah! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who notices these things. I should be concentrating on writing and performing my jokes, but I’ve been driving home the point as often as possible to any Toronto media who will listen, and all the Canadian veteran female comics are also making noise. I’m ecstatic to report a substantial number of women have been announced in the lineup for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival this year for what appears to be the first time in history for that festival: http://www.winnipegcomedyfestival.com/performers

    Also, in a recent trip to New York, where I won the chance to perform two pro spots at a club without having to ‘bark’ for my spot, the club owner said my jokes were solid but I should be looking for more stage time to develop my character and voice on stage. I looked at him and said, “it’s tough when club owners only program up to 2 women a night out of 12”. He looked at me blankly and said, “they do?”. I just stared at him and blinked, because I was one of only 2 women on at HIS CLUB that night, and I won my spot by winning an open mic contest! He said, “you should start your own room”. I said, “I have. It’s the hottest womens’ room in Toronto.. I program 11 female comics, 1 token boy.” He said, “what a good idea”. The following week, I was still only one of two women on the show at his club. Bookers, WAKE UP!

    Here’s a short piece on women and stage time and my West End Girls room in Toronto that came out just this week: http://humberetc.com/2011/02/16/west-end-girls-makes-laughs-in-parkdale/

    Keep spreading the word, find your own audiences (I often work outside the club system) and kill them with laughter! The world will soon catch up to what all of us already know: women are hilarious!

  2. Oh, and what I meant to say with all of that is: it’s the fault of outdated programming habits on the part of programmers whose attitudes are trapped somewhere in 1982. That unspoken (and sometimes spoken) rule that you only need a token woman on the bill. The reality is, your audience is probably half women, and in many cities, a substantial percentage of comics are now also women. Get with the program, programmers!

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