In his (generally very informative) feature about the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, our man-on-the-comedy-beat Andrew Tonry notes that "women are fucking hilarious. Unfortunately, this year's Bridgetown is a little short on the X chromosomes." He then, in an article that is otherwise structured as longish blurbs about individual comics, writes a sentence apiece about three female comedians, who get to share a section titled "This is a Man's World." Oh, and Kristen Schaal gets a paragraph later on.
Of course, Tonry covered more male comics than female ones because there are more men than women in the fest—by my rough count and possibly incorrect math, the ratio is just over 4:1. But bemoaning the lack of women in the fest rings a little hollow when the coverage that's then offered is so cursory relative to the writeups the dudes got.
So, I've spent the afternoon watching videos from some of the female performers who'll be at Bridgetown, in an attempt to balance things out a bit. (AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ALISON! Worst. Superhero. Ever.) I by no means managed to investigate all of the 30+ female comedians appearing at the fest, and if I missed anyone awesome let me know, but after the jump, a few who stood out. It's YouTube heavy, but I tried to be pretty selective. (A basic rule of thumb, though, is that YouTube comedy is 20% less funny than live comedy, so keep that in mind.)
First up, the fully hilarious New Yorker Claudia Cogan. Here's a clip on being a woman in comedy. (Sorry, Claudia Cogan.)
Remember how we were talking yesterday about cliched Portland jokes? Former Portlander Heidi Hayward did a great bit last year about how her act changed once she moved to LA and "five-minute sets about white dreadlocks" were no longer relevant.
28-year-old Iliza Shlesinger was the first woman to win Last Comic Standing, and she hosts a show on thestreamtv.com called "The Weakly News." She's got a sort of hot-girl-who-likes-to-eat-pizza thing going on:
Since I just referred to Iliza Shlesinger as hot, I might as well go right ahead and note that Janet Varney is dating Nerdist's Chris Hardwick. (This is of interest because... um, Doctor Who.) Varney is the co-founderof the San Francisco Sketch Fest; she plays Bev on the Sklar brothers' web show Back on Topps, and she also hosts TBS' Dinner and a Movie.( I don't know what that is.) Here's an interview where Varney talks to a ninja. (It is important that you watch this video at least long enough to hear a few sample lyrics from a Varney's spoofy rock band. "We were feminists... of the very worst kind.")
Aparna Nancherla got some recent attention in a Washington Post profile of DC's comedy scene. She has since moved to LA; her humor is low-key, observational, and totally charming:
Here's San Francisco comedian Emily Heller telling a short and rather dirty little joke:
I couldn't find any great videos, but Sara Schaefer is the Emmy-winning head blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; she also co-hosts the podcast You Had To Be There, along with fellow Bridgetown comic Nikki Glaser. They're recording an episode of the (very funny) podcast on Saturday, as well as both performing individual sets. I kind of want to be their friend. Listen to this episode of their podcast—featuring anotherBridgetowner, Kristen Schaal—and you may understand why.
I also feel obligated to note that Margaret Cho is one of the festival's biggest names, though I can't say I'm particularly interested at this point. Last time she was in town she played the Schnitz; it'll be interesting to see how much of a draw she is at Bridgetown.
Okay, I feel better now.