The tough time funny gals have attracting guys

Girls love a guy with a sense of humor. But supposedly it doesn't work the opposite way. From what I've heard, guys seem to be intimidated by funny ladies. Well, someone nicknamed The Champ offers up four reasons why "funny girls finish last."

(most) women have never had to spend decades learning how to disarm men to help convince us to sleep with them. basically, while possessing the ability to ease the tension and make people laugh is a bonus for a typical woman, its a must have quality for any normal non-millionaire man who doesn’t want perpetual desert d*ck.

i’m not saying that women can’t be funny, but the fact that you don’t need to be in order to procreate makes it a bit of a male-centric trait, and, in the eyes of many (but not all) men, aggressively funny women tend to give off the air that they’re a little less feminine than the average chick.

I was emailing with Abbi Crutchfield and she offers up this response to the article:

Somehow The Champ makes the leap from observing that funny women have trouble dating to wondering whether humor is a gender-specific trait. If you can grasp the concept of "funny women" not getting asked out then you've already answered your own question of whether women can be funny. For the record the topic for debate should never be, "Why women are not funny", it should be, "Why women are PERCEIVED as not funny". But he's not dissecting that. He's talking about the unlikelihood of a witty, outgoing woman getting booty.

The dating impediment is applied TO the girl; it does not come FROM her. In other words the girl isn't unlikeable--the guy is uncapable of liking her. So why? The Champ argues that men are threatened by funny women. He has me on his first three points
1. tradition (guys have always been the ones whose humor is applauded)
2. ego (no one likes to be out-done)
3. necessity (guys have had to learn to be outgoing to survive)

But he loses me at point 4. not allowed. "Some jokes just sound harsh coming from a woman". He uses his own homemade quote full of anti-women expletives and implies that ANY guy who shouts that is hilarious, whereas if it came from a woman it would be off-putting. Firstly, I would be turned off if a white guy shouted it, because it involves the n-word. Secondly, I would be turned off if a non-established comic shouted it because it sounds hacky. If anything, hearing a woman (meek or bold) shout the same line might take me by surprise and be funnier. Most of getting someone to laugh involves surprise. Not scrotums.

He's clutching preconceived notions wrapped in misogyny cloaked in history. Just because something has always been a certain way doesn't make it right. Funniness is no more inherent in a gender than intelligence is in a race or culinary skills are in a culture. The author isn't even sure his observation can be applied as general fact--he has to ask his readers whether funny women have more difficulty dating. He should try asking himself who the women in his life were that helped shape his sense of humor, and whether they had to pretend not to be funny in order to procreate.

Btw, Abbi and Jen Dziura are starting a new lady-friendly show called Ladybits. (The kickoff show is Wednesday, August 11 at Cornelia St. Cafe.) Here's the booking policy. There is a token guy spot on each show, but you've got to bake everyone cookies. No, really.

When Jen and Abbi considered the possibility of allowing a maximum of one male comic per show, Jen said, “Wouldn’t it be funny to call him the ‘token male,’ and then just introduce him by his gender and by saying he’s cute, while forgetting his actual credits, kind of like what happens when you finally get a weekend at the West Lubbockville Laff Hutt?” And Abbi said, “If you do that, you’ll still get twice as many emails for that one spot as you get for the five actual lady-spots.” And Jen said, “Why don’t we make them bring cookies?”

Wonder what the reaction would be if this went the opposite way. Like an all guy show w/ a token female spot...but she'd have to change a tire on a car first.

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40 Comment(s)

Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

Thanks for posting. There already is a token female spot, by the account of many male producers I've talked to. But you can swap "change a tire" for "be buddies with us or someone we feel we have to book." The cookies thing is crazy. But if Katina Corrao can do it...

8/5/10, 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hicks said...

I think part of the issue lies in the fact that most men are shallow and very one dimensional. Male comics will do bits all night long about blowjobs, dick jokes, etc, etc, and every man in the room will eat it up... even the women will laugh if it's funny... but as soon as a female comic opens her mouth about tampons, birth control and yeast infections -the men automatically tune out... maybe men are still used to the idea that there are some female "secrets" that should not be discussed in mixed company, but a female comic is obviously going to touch on feminine issues and there is nothing wrong with that... personally, I think we need more female comics, but every open mic I've ever been to has been a sausage party... having said that, Tina Fey's "Annuale" parody on SNL is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

8/5/10, 8:50 PM  
Blogger Josh Homer said...

IMO it's not even about being funny, it's about commanding the stage and the perceptions of men and women in regards to power. The old adage when a man is demanding in what he wants he's just getting the job done, but when a woman does it she's just a bitch.

On stage you're controlling the audience, leading them places they might not want to go. I think men audience members on some level don't like being led by a woman into certain places and they're looking for reasons to be dismissive of a female comic's comedy. "Oh she's talking about relationships? so hack" or the even worse "Women aren't funny, so I'll be hyper critical of her act and even if she makes me laugh, I'll assume that she is an anomaly in order to keep my prejudices."

I like Abbi's idea for the woman show, yet the execution of "you have to bake cookies" is part of the problem. Women feel objectified at shows, so Abbi's response is to create a show that no only does the things she didn't like about the male dominated shows (but in reverse), but takes it to the next level. No matter how misogynistic the comedy scene is, I've never heard of a booker telling a female comic they have to bring gifts to get on stage. Maybe it does happen, maybe it is part of some shows official booking policy, but I haven't seen it.

8/6/10, 9:22 AM  
Blogger Badinia said...

Thank you, this is what I repeat to myself when I can't get dates!

"Dude doesn't like funny girls. Sn'f."

8/6/10, 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Luke Thayer said...

Matt, I heard you bake pretty fun cookies.

8/6/10, 12:55 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

@ Joe: Glad you'd like to see more female comics. Understandably not all guys make dick jokes, and not all women tell period jokes, but if either gender wants to, they should be able to without being judged (unless they're not funny. In which case, release the hounds!)

@ Josh: Good point about why some men are uncomfortable with women telling jokes. Not all women plant their feet, stick their crotch forward and raise their voice. Not all guys do either. How you command the stage should be your choice as an entertainer, and an audience member's problem with it is their own.

Every guy I know in the NYC comedy scene has been respectful towards me. I wouldn't want to disrespect them. I don't think a pro-woman show has to be anti-guy. I thought an all-female show was in order ever since Chicks and Giggles was cancelled years ago. And I'd like to see more of them! Reading Jesse Geller's guest post on Sandpapersuit about what women go through in comedy reminds me of why it is important to start one.

It's good to know how you feel about the cookies, but since I'm not the producer I don't make that call. I'll give Jen your feedback.

I will say, that every show has booking stipulations. "Only our friends can perform, only stars can perform, only people who come watch can perform, only if you book me on your show, etc." The Living Room show booking limitation is only people who have been on the show before can host it. Positively Awesome tries to have no booking limitations which is why we came up with the Night Shift (last half-hour takes 5 walk-ins).

As far as I understand it the cookies thing is a nod to the challenge women face with getting booked and also in recognition of how pro-active/ aggressive guys are when it comes to getting stage time. No one ever told me I had to change a tire to get booked. Fortunately, no one has ever told me I had to sleep with them to get booked (just to get a good grade--and when I didn't I got an undeserved F). If someone told me I had to bake cookies to get booked, I probably would never do that show, because I don't have time to bake, and if I did I don't have the will power to not eat them before the show.

8/6/10, 1:10 PM  
Blogger Josh Homer said...

"How you command the stage should be your choice as an entertainer, and an audience member's problem with it is their own."

In a perfect world, yes. However when you go on stage the audience's reactions/actions become your problem. Commanding the stage is not necessarily about being aggressive; Roseanne was aggressive, and Maria Bamford is not. Yet both command the stage with amazing skill.

I know all shows have stipulations, but one based on gender is inherently flawed, especially if the purpose of the show is to point out that the comedy scene is gender biased. I mean I have a problem with the way shows are booked, and how it's a white male game at our level. Yet if I made a show with all minorities, and one token white guy spot, and that white guy had to apologize for slavery it would be just as flawed.

I've gone out of my way to make sure every show I've ever booked in the 6+ years I've done has had a woman on it (some didn't as a comic canceled last minute). Yes that's sexist, so what. Yet based on your show bookings I need to bake some cookies to show I "get it" that women have it hard or whatever the symbolic cookies mean. My point is you're painting with a large brush the men in comedy, the same brush you're railing against.

8/6/10, 1:58 PM  
Blogger myq said...

I agree with Josh. If the cookie thing is serious, then it's weird. (Though I think apologizing for slavery is way easier than baking cookies. I'll do it now. I'm sorry. But if I had to bake a reparations-frosted cake, that would take more doing.)

As someone pointed out, this post seems to be about a few different things.

Can women be funny? Yes.
Are some men uncomfortable with that, either on stage or in relationships? Yes.
Is that true of all men? No.

Maybe the men that email asking to get on the show saying they WOULD bake cookies are the ones that pass the test and don't have to. Maybe it's just a weeding out process. A weed cookie-ing out process/joke.

And I think we're disregarding the most important point here: the fact that people aren't making enough vegan weed cookies. If you make them, I will create a show for you.

8/6/10, 2:27 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

Problems with Cookie Requirement:

1. This prevents ever getting a male comic with a big name on, because if you don't have time to bake Jim Gaffigan sure doesn't. Either Jen is okay with that or she's going to be selective about who she makes bring cookies.

2. I'm not even sure you can serve homemade cookies in a cafe (might violate Board of Health regulations).

3. What if someone makes them with dish soap out of spite? Okay, I'm officially not eating any cookies anyone brings.

@ myq: Weird or not, I've never argued with someone's booking policy. I just try to get on or I don't.

@ Josh: No one has to bake cookies to show they "get it". They have to bake cookies to get on. I'll see if I can get Jen to weigh in here.

8/6/10, 3:35 PM  
Blogger Josh Homer said...

This discussion was for the soul purpose that Myq got to say "reparations-frosted cake", this made me laugh out loud and not the crappy LOL stuff the kids are saying.

@Abbi - sometimes your booker voice is based on the requirements you don't enforce.

8/6/10, 3:44 PM  
Blogger Author said...

Hi there,

This is Jen! The cookies were my idea. It's an all-women show, so we don't actually expect anyone to ever bake cookies. There are so many places to see big name male comics in New York that no one's going to lose out due to our tongue-in-cheek cookies policy.

I suppose someone could bake poison cookies, but someone could also just shoot everyone in the room or hit people in the back as they walk away. Not sure what to do about the human condition.


8/6/10, 5:01 PM  
Blogger myq said...

That makes sense. A joke!
People didn't expect it from a woman.

(Or it also seemed like a reasonable and funny idea to have an all-woman show, but with a token male, to counter the existence of so many shows that DO book one token female.)

Best of luck!

PS I'm going to open a bakery, but if you want to purchase a reparations-frosted cake there, you have to tell jokes. And fix a tire.

8/6/10, 5:04 PM  
Blogger Author said...

I just laughed out loud and startled my cat.

Thanks, Myq. You are cogent and hilarious.

When our show gets going and we get a better feel for things, we might revisit the policy. There are certainly plenty of male comics whose work I love.

Jen Dziura

8/6/10, 5:07 PM  
Blogger Kiki Kapral said...

I think it's interesting that everyone is here is talking about comic guys and comic girls – maybe that’s because you’re all comics and that’s the usual social situation that you find yourself in. What about just regular normal, non comedian guys and funny girls? I think that's what "The Champ" is really talking about, and I think that different rules apply when you're talking about people in the general population rather than just in the comedy scene. I'm not a comedian, but I like to consider myself fairly smart, witty, sarcastic and to have a good sense of humor. I've been told by other girl friends that when I meet a guy I should try to "tone it down" because guys perceive me as being rude or combative, when in reality I'm just joking around, and I’ve seen it with some of my other girlfriends too. With a group of comics, of course being funny is seen as a positive trait for both male and females. Unfortunately, in the general population, I think a lot of guys would just prefer to have a girl who looks pretty, agrees with everything they say, and keeps her trap shut.

8/6/10, 5:49 PM  
Blogger myq said...

That may be the case for some (or more than some) regular-population guys, but if you ARE a funny civilian girl, wouldn't you want a guy who DOES appreciate who you actually are?

I say don't tone it down.

Be yourself and enjoy the people that respond positively to you.


Plus something about baked goods.

8/6/10, 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Chris Lamberth said...

Can the cookies be break-and-bake or do they have to be made from scratch?

8/6/10, 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer Dziura said...

Break-and-bake counts.

Glad to be here to adjudicate this important issue.

As for being funny on dates: ladies, if you've got to be funny, at least make sure you can't do math. Or drive stick. Give a guy a break here!


8/6/10, 10:12 PM  
Blogger Kath said...

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've tried online dating and once I removed any mention of being a comic from my profile, I got a lot more hits. A bunch of guys said that they weren't threatened by my potential funny but were scared I'd use them in my act, which is a legit concern, methinks.

8/10/10, 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Hank Thompson said...

As one of these "genders" I feel compelled to weigh in.

There's also a difference between being funny and finding things funny. You can have a solid sense of humor and not be able to tell or joke or make others laugh. That goes for civilians. Although I'll still judge what makes you laugh.

According to every playmate of the month profile I've ever read all any woman wants is a guy with a sense of humor. Because I'm hilarious I assume when I finally figure out where they live I'll get laid like no other. I like to picture them all gathered together hanging from the roof of a cave. Must find this cave!

When I used to host a showcase I made sure not to emphasize the gender of the comedian. I think it's rude when the host goes, "You guys ready for a lady?" or "This next comedian has one of those vaginas." Maybe the host doing that thinks he is merely pointing out the novelty of it, but it comes across as, "Lower your expectation, folks." Although I've seen female hosts do it, too. The respect I have as one comedian for another outweighs my desire to bang each and every female comedian I have ever seen. Give them a professional intro, make sure they don't break a nail climbing up on the stage and let the show go on!

And I have no problem with the cookie requirement. Abbi and Jen are allowed to impose such a rule cause they're on the unequal end of the imbalance. It's the same reason the NAACP enjoys a respected purchase in society whereas the NAAWP doesn't.

Seemed apparent to me it was in jest. Anyway, I would hope I could get booked instead by baking cinnamon rolls from scratch. My rolls have won rave reviews from all eaters. I have an old family recipe I downloaded off the internet a few years ago and I just love to get barefoot, stuff a pillow in my shirt and do some bakin'!

8/11/10, 8:14 AM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

@ Hank Thompson: Great point! Do funny guys finish last too? Maybe the problem is with ANYone who's funny--they interrupt, they project into your eardrums, and they laugh at your pain.

My beef isn't with announcing someone's gender before she performs (LOL, one guy was so conscious of it, he said, "This next person is great. They perform all over town." I was like, "Who are THEY?") but --like you said -- implying that the show's about to suck (which I never see) or implying that the fact that she's a woman is a novelty (which I see a lot).

Because while it IS refreshing to see someone new who may present a different style of comedy, you'd never say, "And now a special treat--our next comic is INDIAN!"

Or would you say that? Do people say that?

Also, since I am paranoid of pranks or pubic hairs--and especially hairy pubic pranks--I will not eat your cinnamon rolls, no matter how high a heel you wear. But I will smell them and sigh.

8/11/10, 1:43 PM  
Anonymous ECN said...

"Seemed apparent to me it was in jest."

But joking about it legitimizes it, no? it's the same problem with ironic racism -- it gives racism too much credit. It makes bigotry part of the conversation... even though the stance is anti-bigotry, bigotry doesn't even deserve a response. Maybe horror or outrage, if needed... but those are the only appropriate reactions. Certainly not anything as light as a joke.

8/11/10, 3:39 PM  
Blogger myq said...

You think anti-bigotry jokes have to be light?

Borat was a pretty heavy movie, humor-wise, was it not?

Are you anti-satire in general? Or is this a satire of an anti-satire character?

8/11/10, 3:43 PM  
Anonymous ECN said...

I hated "Borat." That's not comedy, that's bullying.

And honestly, I don't think "anti-bigotry jokes" even work. They're insulting to the audience's intelligence. Yes, we understand, bigotry is dumb. Move on already.

(I reserve the right to make exceptions. Kind of a lot of exceptions, if I'm being honest. But more on artistic merit than anything else.)

8/12/10, 9:51 PM  
Anonymous ECN said...

Hm. Re-thought this one a bit. I guess the distinction I'm making is between between jokes about racism and jokes about racism that think they're making a point. Obviously, racism is real. Obviously, a lot of people deal with racism on a regular basis. This is horrible.

But to me, a joke about bigotry which relies on pretending to be a bigot has three issues.

a) This approach is, in my opinion, a lot uglier and more visceral than it needs to be. This may be a matter of personal preference on my part... I don't like ugly, visceral comedy. I don't like comedy that is designed to provoke or shock. I don't like to have my fight-or-flight response trifled with by a comedian. I feel like that's a cheap and unpleasant way of going about things. I know not everyone feels that way. But I do.

b) It's not true, is it? It's like mocking someone by making a stupid face, pointing at them, and saying "that's you." The last thing any of us needs is a target who can come back and say, quite rightly, "uh, that's not me. You're putting words in my mouth. That's you."

Meanwhile, what are you bringing us? A character composed without sympathy or accuracy. A fictional character who has no reason to exist, and isn't even likable. We could have lived our lives without meeting this character -- he's certainly not someone whose company we're going to enjoy. And you can't even fall back on the "this is really what's out there -- this is Important because it's a reflection of the horrible stuff that's going on" defense. Nope. Caricature. Not really going on, at least not as you're depicting it. Sorry.

c) As I said, they're insulting to the audience's intelligence. I feel you have to work from the assumption that the audience isn't racist, doesn't condone racism, and is frankly a little shocked and baffled that racism is still out there.

Now, is this going to be true of your entire audience? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on where you're performing, probably. But I feel like if you're working to the full extent of your intelligence, you have to assume everyone's up there with you. (Give them the benefit of the doubt, if need be.)

And there are still jokes you can make from up there, of course. Some funny ones, some hacky ones. But once you start distorting your perspective for shock value, or because you're underestimating the crowd, I'm out.

8/13/10, 3:19 AM  
Blogger myq said...


a) This is a matter of taste, which you recognize.

b) There CAN be truth to it. And it doesn't have to be over the top. One can present a racist character in a reasonable way, especially in today's climate where (say, with Arabs, for example, as well as other races) there are many otherwise reasonable people who hold some unreasonable views. Which leads to...

c) There ARE such people, in the world and thus in audiences. There are people who hold racist, sexist, and homophobic views. And to just assume otherwise seems closed-minded itself. And if you can present (as per above) a reasonable picture of some unreasonable behavior or thinking, in a logical way, perhaps audiences that are not initially on your wavelength will at least be able to appreciate where you're coming from, if not change their minds entirely. Because racism isn't all "I HATE OTHER RACES." Sometimes it's more subtle views ingrained in otherwise reasonable people.
(So I agree with you, Erik, that if your racist character is spouting "I HATE OTHER RACES," then yes, that might not get anyone to relate or see truth. But if race jokes are subtler and well-thought out, and funny, I think you can reach people in the audience who think differently than you. And such people exist. Especially people who think differently than you.)

PS This thread is about sexism, yes? I think I mentioned it once. Better than completely ignoring women in their own women-thread. Am I right, ladies who are still reading?

8/13/10, 12:16 PM  
Anonymous ECN said...

It's the same principle. The original idea presented was in the form of a response to sexism. Sexism doesn't deserve a response, is what I'm saying -- especially a response composed of mockingly pretending to be like sexism.

8/13/10, 4:11 PM  
Blogger myq said...

I guess that's where we differ.

I believe that sexism ESPECIALLY deserves a response. Because it's one of the most pervasive bigotries there is, due to the fact that there actually ARE biological differences at play, which allows people to justify it.

How is not responding to it the best course of action? Doesn't that just offer at best tacit acceptance and at worst perpetuation thereof?

(This is not yet discussing the issue of whether mocking/pretending is the BEST response or not, but just whether response is warranted.)

And I feel like your points about satirizing racism don't necessarily apply--do you see a lot of anti-sexist satire that is ugly, visceral, and shocking? (Name some, if so. Sincerely.)

I feel like your points make more sense for racism than they do for sexism, because in general, people DO agree that racism is bad in a way that they DON'T all agree that sexism is. I mean, most people do in principle, but in practice I'd say considerably less so.

A man coming to the rescue of damsels in distress everywhere because women can't take care of themselves (but don't worry, not a very manly man, so it's still not the strictest hetero-normative paradigm)

8/13/10, 5:19 PM  
Anonymous ecn said...

Well, personally, every time I see someone pretend to be a sexist, it's an ugly/visceral/shocking moment. I mean, at least a bit of one -- there's that moment where it's like, um, what? And then I have to spend the next minute or two on edge where I figure out what exactly is being meant...

I mean, I still think it's not effective satire, because a) it's exaggerated, and thus easily shrugged off, and b) it's such a (distorted) mirror. It's saying, "hey, you're over there, doing that thing? Well, we're over here, doing this thing, which is the opposite of that thing!"

To which the obvious response is, "okay, you do that. We've got this thing over here, and since you've set up that thing over there, you obviously approve of our right to do this thing. Cool -- we're even."

Honestly, I see this as tacit acceptance. It's parody from a position of weakness, not a position of strength. (Like all parody, really.) To me, parodying the notion of a show with one and exactly one woman tends to enshrine that notion as a real thing.

When you say, "this is how it is, but what if it were like this?", you're conceding "this is how it is." You shouldn't be conceding that -- you should be hammering away at it. (And not by creating a deliberately warped show far away from the other shows' turf, either.)

8/14/10, 1:59 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

ECN, how do you propose comedians that are women hammer away at the current status quo? How do you propose comedians that are men hammer away at it?

8/14/10, 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Whitney Meers said...

Much in the way "The Champ" can justify not dating a funny female because he has a lot of blanket assumptions about her, I can justify not wanting to date a guy nicknamed "The Champ" because I have a lot of blanket assumptions about him... particularly, my assumption that he probably has a small penis. Oh lookie... looks like we're totally wrong for one another! We both win!

Also, didn't Kathy Griffin date a billionaire for like, ever? And didn't Chelsea Handler date the CEO of Comcast for a while? So, my new blanket assumption is that "only rich and successful people date funny females."

Myq, I will gladly change a tire and tell you some hilarious jokes in exchange for some vegan weed cookies.

8/14/10, 6:47 PM  
Anonymous ecn said...

Simple. Don't do anything that can be misconstrued as joking with the misogynists.*

Don't do anything that can be construed as providing an "alternative". You're not fighting for the other turf. You're fighting for the real turf.

Don't do anything that gives the misogynists the excuse to say, "well, I would book more women, but they have that show, and we have this show."

In fact, don't do anything which frames or accepts framing comedy in terms of "they" and "we". That's the underlying assumption that LEADS to the quotas. There is no "they" and no "we".

If you want to book a show, use the advantage you have: you can book the best lineup you have access to, because you're not artificially limiting your lineups. Your show should be better than a show which artificially excludes the booking of women, or a show which artificially forces the booking of women.

That's how you break down a wall... you don't break down a wall by building a fake wall elsewhere and saying "hey, look at this dumb wall I just built!"

8/15/10, 12:26 AM  
Anonymous ecn said...

And another thing -- I wouldn't bring it to the audience either.

This seems like a behind-the-scenes procedural issue... airing other bookers' dirty laundry in front of (potential) audience members, who have no reason to know or care about behind-the-scenes stuff, comes off as kind of vindictive and adversarial. (Even if one agrees with the underlying principles.) You're not going to solve anything by backing the guilty parties against the wall and making the not-guilty parties feel self-conscious.

Now, if you want to talk about it with other comedians, that's another matter. That's cool -- public sentiment probably won't change any booking policies, but it can affect a show's prestige, certainly.

But as far as I'm concerned, I'd follow the Boston code: have the opinions you want about other comics, voice those opinions, but once you get up on stage, you don't know anyone. You're there to do the show. (And yes, I'd extend that to promotional materials for the show.)

8/15/10, 12:34 AM  
Anonymous ecn said...

*: I originally wrote "joking with the status quo"... but are we sure misogynistic bookers really constitute the status quo, and not a subset of bookers?

If so, it's a substantial subset, and a problem -- don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to imply otherwise.

But I feel like a lot of bookers, especially on the alternative side of the spectrum, don't impose these quotas to begin with. So (in addition to the other problems with the idea) it's going to seem like an undeserved insult to a lot of shows... exactly the shows you don't want to insult, because they're doing things the right way.

8/15/10, 12:53 AM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

ECN, you provided lots of examples of what NOT to do, but the one thing you say TO do to hammer away at the status quo (defined here as "the NYC comedy scene booking norm that limits the number of women on shows") appears to be:

"book the best lineup you have access to, because you're not artificially limiting your lineups."

Already doing that. Consider the hammering away to have commenced!

Maybe you would prefer we be partial to helping women get stage time but never put it in writing. Change the Token Male program to the Token Female program. Most spots are for women, but we'll leave one extra spot for another woman. Baking cookies wouldn't be a challenge to her, so we'd tell her she ought to have three other sets scheduled that week.

There is nothing wrong with saying, "This is a show by girls for girls because girls don't get enough stage time. Dudes you want in? Well that's going to limit a spot we would have given a girl that would help her get stage time. We'll be selective about which men we let do that."

You can't change what you don't acknowledge (am I really quoting Dr. Phil?), and ignoring the "we" vs. "they" issue and calling everyone US means you never have to consider that some of the US aren't getting treated equally. Segregation is wrong. An all-woman show isn't there INSTEAD of all other comedy shows, it's IN ADDITION to all other comedy shows women will try to get on. And if anyone reading this just had the thought, "Well then there should be an all-male comedy show that keeps women out!" you will be relieved to know there already are. A ton. This show is not in opposition to them. It's in addition to them.

Regarding the "tongue-in-cheek cookies policy" as Jen calls it, one comic here finds it unfair (Josh), one comic finds it questionable (myq), one comic finds it futile (you). I find it unfair, questionable and futile that the grocery store nearest me sells rotten fruit. But maybe it's mostly inconvenient.

A lot of male comics have reached out to me understanding it's a joke. Question the strength of that joke. Consider it an artificial limitation if you want, but I don't see you creating any shows that are uniquely designed to help women. I just see a dude complaining.

8/15/10, 5:42 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

And the shows that are doing things the right way aren't insulted.

8/15/10, 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Hank Thompson said...

My only issue with the whole debate is that Abbi thinks I put pubes in my cinnamon rolls.

8/16/10, 5:19 PM  
Anonymous ECN said...

Well, I had a show for a while. I feel like I did a pretty good job of balancing the lineups -- not that it was ever a goal of mine, but the three lineups I can find featured:

5 women, 2 men
5 men, 2 women
5 men, 2 women.

So, yeah, I feel like I did things in this hypothetical "right way". And yeah, I find your show idea pretty much offensive.

I mean, the way to destroy discrimination is not to segregate yourself. It's not to create a shadow network of shows and push "women's comedy" away from the comedy mainstream.

That's just giving the people who perpetuate the discrimination the license to push any women who want to be booked right over to your thing.

And in my experience, what actually happens in that situation is that the misogynists will find a few women comics who are entirely okay with enforcing stereotypes, and they'll book them exclusively.

And then those comics will get opportunities that more talented/less horrible women will be passed over for, because they're in the bigger rooms, and that perpetuates the notion that women who don't play into stereotypes can't play to a wide audience.

And then these stereotype-enforcing comics use those opportunities to bolster all the stereotypes about women in comedy, making matters worse for everyone in the long run.

But hey, you're over there making some sort of... stand? So I guess that counts for something.

8/17/10, 7:22 PM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

No, the show isn't making some sort of stand through the cookies policy. The show is providing an additional opportunity for comedians that are women to perform, and it happens to have a line on the website that pretty much offends you. But since it is only pretty much offensive, it is not entirely offensive, and I hope the remaining part of it that is is not offensive to you can allow you love it-love it-love it. Do you love it yet? Come on...

That's great that your show wasn't openly biased to female comics, but since balancing the lineups the "hypothetical 'right way'" was not "ever a goal" of yours, I can't really give you credit for intentionally trying to be fair. Like when Wendys helps someone lose weight by having salads on the menu.

I never said, "This is the right way to fight against injustice" but you assume that I think it is. Stop assuming things. When I remove my hand from your shoulder you won't know how to assume anything anymore. You're feeling the weight of my hand grow lighter as you become less judgmental. My hand is lifting, and the last bit of frustration is drifting out the window. You are happy. Your shoulder is starting to float and you feel a deep sense of calm.

8/27/10, 12:31 AM  
Blogger Abbi Crutchfield said...

No, the show isn't making some sort of stand through the cookies policy. The show is providing an additional opportunity for comedians that are women to perform, and it happens to have a line on the website that pretty much offends you. But since it is only pretty much offensive, it is not entirely offensive, and I hope the remaining part of it that is is not offensive to you can allow you love it-love it-love it. Do you love it yet? Come on...

That's great that your show wasn't openly biased to female comics, but since balancing the lineups the "hypothetical 'right way'" was not "ever a goal" of yours, I can't really give you credit for intentionally trying to be fair. Like when Wendys helps someone lose weight by having salads on the menu.

I never said, "This is the right way to fight against injustice" but you assume that I think it is. Stop assuming things. When I remove my hand from your shoulder you won't know how to assume anything anymore. You're feeling the weight of my hand grow lighter as you become less judgmental. My hand is lifting, and the last bit of frustration is drifting out the window. You are happy. Your shoulder is starting to float and you feel a deep sense of calm.

8/27/10, 12:31 AM  
Anonymous ECN said...

I'm not saying that this show is a bad way to attack bias. I'm saying that this show actively makes it easier for the perpetrators of bias to justify perpetrating said bias.

(Which is not to say it won't be a good show. It's certainly not to say that's your intent. I'm just saying that "women only" shows help to perpetuate de facto "men only" shows.)

8/31/10, 8:30 PM