Singling out an audience member for not laughing at a joke from onstage is a real boner move in comedy, regardless of the joke or gender politics at play.
300 Portland Comedians (and a couple dozen funny ones) beg to differ on the alleged lack of a scene.
Demographically, there are simply significantly less women comics in town. The amount of misogyny thrown around at every open mic does not help. Nor does the myth that women aren't funny. It can tend to be a boy's club, which is not okay. But this does mean the very dedicated women in Portland comedy are less susceptible to taking shit from others.
There are tons of funny women in Portland, and, yes, Helium isn't putting up a fair representation of them. I can't attest to this. I can only say that there's tons of great, hilarious women in this town who are not only great comics, but are also transcending the type of comedy expected from a female comic.
Whitney Streed runs the Weekly Recurring Humor Night at the Tonic Lounge, Belinda Carroll the Crush monthly showcase, Stacey Hallal owns and operates the Curious Comedy theater which in turn put together the all-female "All Jane No Dick" festival last year (and, based on its success in years to come). Marcia and Raishawn do a great job bringing standup to Backspace, and Raishawn is the mind behind No Pun Intendo at Ground Kontrol as well. Katie Brien and Crystal Kordowski put together the biweekly DTF show at Eastburn, and Iris Gorman and Christen Manville have teamed up to bring an excellent show to the Tardis Room at the end of every month. All these shows are presented by truly funny women, and put up funny women on the regular. There are shows run by men in town that also exercise a decent amount of equality. The best part of this list? I'm probably missing names.
So yes, we could always be better. But look past the club to find the funny women in town. They're there, and their mark is indelible.
And SE audiences are rad.
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