FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS, the organizers of Portland's All Jane No Dick comedy festival have worked to give more visibility to up-and-coming female stand-ups. Comedy's gender imbalance is well documented—women make up just an estimated 17 to 19 percent of the industry. So it came as a surprise to Stacey Hallal, All Jane's creative and artistic director, when a men's rights activist announced a protest of the festival on Craigslist and started vandalizing All Jane publicity materials along NE Alberta last week. "This person has been ripping our posters down," Hallal said, when reached by phone on Thursday, October 9. "It's sad to me that people continue to be threatened by the idea of women sharing their perspectives and experiences." The irony, of course, is the protest has resulted in even more attention for this year's festival. Here are a handful of comics we can't wait to see sharing their (now controversial!) perspectives—while making us shoot soda out of our noses—at this year's All Jane No Dick.
Brooklyn-based Kate Berlant's shows are less guaranteed chuckle material and more unhinged TED Talk delivered by your kooky aunt who hides her existential despair under obsessions like underwater basketry. If you can handle her wacky persona, you'll be a little uncomfortable and a lot entertained. MEGAN BURBANK
This Austin-based stand-up has a big presence. She was a crowd favorite at last year's All Jane No Dick with sassy, smart sets about life in Texas, friends having babies, and her decided lack of milkshake bringing boys to the yard. I could watch her act all day long, because this gal's personable as all get-out and renowned for being a flamboyant gay man's spirit animal. COURTNEY FERGUSON
If the men's rights activist doesn't find out that Kyle Mizono is a Jane, not a Dick, maybe he'll take his sign and go home. But we refuse to shut up about how awesome and weird and off-kilter she is. Her frenetic energy and odd sense of humor often explode into Elaine Benes-like dances, dinosaur pantomimes, and absurd songs. She is a three-legged near-sighted break-dancing unicorn... in the very best possible way. CF
Portland can't get enough Aparna Nancherla. Rightfully so—the New York comic's dry delivery, wry sense of humor, and whimsical approach to fashion (so many stripes!) is right up our alley. She's a regular at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, where she kicks ass and takes names in improv-based shows; a past highlight was her entry in Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction, where she explored the sexual underpinnings of Dora the Explorer. Oh, to hear such filthy sentiments from such a sweet face. CF
Phoebe Robinson is everywhere: Broad City (she was the disapproving office supplies saleslady in season one's premiere), her brilliant blog Blaria ("seeing the world through the eyes of a black Daria"), Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and last year's All Jane No Dick. Her jokes cover everything from American Girl dolls' race problem to unsolicited safety tips from NYC cab drivers. MB
Sara Schaefer is friend material. She's ever so likeable and funny, and after three years of listening to her very personal and very hilarious You Had to Be There podcast, I feel pretty darn close to her (but, you know, not in a creepy way). Sadly, the podcast has gone the way of first-wave feminism. So Schaefer's sets at All Jane are a stellar opportunity to fill our comedy growler with her smart and thoroughly pop-cultured delightfulness. CF