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Animal instinct

In the Serengeti that is the comedy circuit, I’m probably an antelope. I’m just there, in the background. Foraging a green room and galloping across the M6 in my Nissan Micra. I graze social networking sites and rarely look up from my grassy knoll to post in forums or comment on a facebook rant. Preferring to merely observe the other animals fighting it out and I try never to make eye contact with carnivores or as some cultures call them, trolls. David Attenborough is never going to dedicate an entire telly program to me but I’m here, plodding along, doing my best, trying to be nice to other species and occasionally joining in on a chorus of Hakanu Matata.

I try not to get involved. If something really gets on my horns I tend to stay mute. Well, I’m only an antelope. What difference is my small opinion going to matter and is it worth the grief and potential limb ripping I may get in return. With the threat to our natural habitat (the contraction of the circuit and the shrinking of audience sizes), there is a fear, which I’m sure other comics must feel. A fear that if I make a stand, that if I voice an objection that I will lose money, I will lose work and gigs. The fear that there will always be another comedian ready to eat me up and take my place. There is. Of course there is but that shouldn’t prevent us from roaring loudly and clearly (but politely) across the desert plain “No, actually. Not on my watch!”

That is exactly what I did last Friday. A company called DSM promotions posted on the Chortle forum offering paid work. I, being a comedian who heck, I’ll say it! Likes paid work! Went on their website to see what they were about as I was unfamiliar with them. At the top of said website has the banner ‘DSM PROMOTIONS STANDING UP FOR COMEDY’. So far so good! Hey, what’s on? I would like to see what you have on, thanks! Live comedy AND…exotic dancers.

What? What the fuck? Sorry? In the infamous words of Wayne Campbell, EXCUSE ME?

I saw red. Standing up for comedy? How is a gig in a  strip club bookended by naked women standing up for comedy?

How is that progressing or celebrating the art form that I adore?

So I did it, I raised my voice to the sky and said “No, actually. Not on my watch!” Alright, it was the Twitter clouded sky but I made an objection. I pointed out to DSM Promotions that what I thought they were doing was wrong. What followed was a tweet conversation that made me want to constantly vaginapalm myself. If you want to see the discussion in full go on my timeline but here is a taster.

twits

It’s all about the money? Yes, clearly they are standing up for comedy. I asked what female comedians they had managed to book for the gig, they said zero. They said they weren’t allowed to book women comedians. All male line up only. Hold up…so they only women allowed on the stage are the ones taking their clothes off? They said all this and then asked me what MY problem was.

Mmmm what is my problem?

My problem is that being a female comedian means I have to fight against gender stereotypes on an almost daily basis.

My problem is that the dominant image of women in our society is a submissive and sexualized one.

My problem is I’ve just spent a weekend gigging where I had to smack down various and constant “Show us your arse”, “get your tits out” and “get em off” heckles.

My problem is that the men that shouted these heckles thought it was completely fine to do so because hey, I’m a woman on stage which means I’m just like a stripper!

My problem is that this gig with it’s all male line up and all male audience promotes the bullshit ideology that comedy is a man’s job. That it’s a boys club. Here, this is what the men do. They share their thoughts and ideas. This is what the women do. They share their tits and their asses.

My problem is that these male comedians will make jokes about the environment they are gigging in. They will joke about the strip club and invariably joke about the strippers.

My problem is half the shit I have to put up with a male comedian doesn’t.

My problem is that calling people on this shit makes me another *yawns* shouty tiresome feminist.

My biggest problem is that I’m waiting for these male comedians to turn down this gig.  To say no to the fee.  To say no to the gig. To stand beside me and say “No. Not on my watch!”

It is a naïve notion, perhaps but if we all, all comedians regardless of gender, colour and sexual orientation stopped doing these kinds of gigs, any gig that ultimately does damage to comedy, then the circuit would be better place. It would be like the beginning of the Lion King. Remember the beginning of the Lion King? All the animals look so happy and pleased with each other!

If we all pulled our necks out of the sand and instead of just  bitching in corridors or car shares actually said no out loud. Coz if we all said no then they couldn’t do it.

If a competition asks for pay to play then say no. If Jongleurs isn’t paying people for the job they do then say no. If you are asked to do a gig that excludes anyone based on their colour, sexual orientation, gender or guitar playing then say no. If you are asked to do a gig in a strip club then say no.

Some things are more important than stage time, or money or progression.

Some things are worth saying “No. Not on my fucking watch” to.

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84 thoughts on “Animal instinct

  1. It’s not a comedy club if it bans women! IT BANS WOMEN. If you ban a massive chunk of the artists’ from an artform you CLAIM TO “STAND UP FOR” then you aren’t any part of a normal comedy circuit. And you aren’t supporting the artform.

    IT BANS WOMEN????????

    FUCKERS.

  2. “A fear that if I make a stand, that if I voice an objection that I will lose money, I will lose work and gigs.” <– Just to try and allay that fear somewhat, I had never heard of you before reading this. I like the cut of your jib. I'll look out for you in future.

  3. I think the problem is you take everything so seriously spend more time trying to be funny! Then people may try to book you!!!

  4. I think this is one of those things if you don’t like it don’t go end of really. Maybe people who listen to you may not like what you say or do but they don’t make a deal about it, or write a blog or start a group up against you. Women these days I say it was wrong to give them the vote because now they think they can do what they want. Lol

  5. Where is the comedy club with strippers sounds great, sign me up. And maybe you should just KEEP CALM and get your tits out!!!

      1. Welcome, it’s nice to have validation. Not everyone can be into politico comics, there’s so much angst in the world, what makes you think that we need any more PC bullshit shoved down our throats anymore by liberals. Freedom of choice is just that. If you don’t like what someone is saying either change the conversation or leave the room .

    1. The irony of someone saying “If you don’t like what someone is saying either change the conversation or leave the room” in an attempt to shout down someone else is really rather delicious.

  6. Wow. Bit exaggerated. Think you should probably get a hobby as you clearly have to much time on your hands. Honestly though I dont see the issue, not as if female comedians are funny anyway x

  7. Woman are banned because it’s a strip club for MEN!! Men want to see females strip not make them laugh! I can never understand why people take things like this to heart. Pathetic.

  8. You know that thing where you read an awesome blog and it makes you feel uplifted and happy? And then you read some of the comments and want to drown yourself in chocolate ice cream? I’m about there.

  9. Blergh. I shouldn’t really be surprised at these comments, should I? The ‘it’s a joke’/’maybe you should lighten up’/’PC gone mad’ etc are the same arguments made in defence of racism in comedy, too, just as a side-note. They throw any sort of humanising and social responsibilty out of the window in favour of tittilating the most nasty, taudry parts of their psyche.

    “Men want to see females strip not make them laugh!” Is both incorrect and correct at once. There is a substantial part of the population who believe that a woman’s worth is intrinsically linked to her ability to get them full-chub, and that alone. But it’s HUGELY insulting to tar all men with this brush. It’s really fucking unfair. Just because some guys have been raised in such a way which means they don’t see all people as essentially equal (but different, remember, equal and ‘identical’ are two different words) doesn’t mean that the rest of them have.

    Thankfully, I’d say the majority of comedy audiences are pretty open and forward-thinking (with the exclusion of certain weekend clubs, you’ll know the ones I mean Katie) and some of them are even starting to figure out that the enwombed 52% of the population are people too.

    Don’t treat someone like shit because they’ve got tits/are not white/are gay/are differently labelled. And don’t denegrate someone because they’re standing up and saying you’re making them feel like shit.

    But what do I know? IT’S JUST PC GONE MAD! *facepalm*

  10. I think you’re comment about shouty tiresome feminists is interesting. The problem is that it is these sorts of attitudes that mean we still need feminists, and that they’ve been forced to drone on for so long that it is considered tiresome. The ideal would be that there are no feminists because there genuinely isn’t a problem with flagrant double standards and women having to put up with all the extra bullshit (especially on the circuit). Keep fighting the good fight Mulgrew

    PS – please don’t put me on Candy Crush

  11. I can’t believe some of the comments. I’m actually a bit suspicious of them, they’re so of-one-voice. Katie, do you think the promoter has posted under different email addresses? I really hope so, the possibility that they’re different people is too depressing!
    We should do something about this promoter. Perhaps you could submit to Chortle, to try and bring as many comics as possible into the idea of not accepting gigs from this man?

    1. I absolutely think this is what’s happened – they have basically the same content, similar 1-name usernames, are minutes apart and the fact that the last almost-identical post is by a female name smacks of some lone retard’s linear, simplistic thought process. I have to believe in this otherwise, honestly there is no hope.

  12. Katie, I think it’s great that you’re standing up against this. Comedy must be a tough gig. And I hope you will ignore the chauvinistic minority. Have you heard anything privately from male colleagues about this, as to whether there is a boycott amongst them?

    Surely there’s some discrimination in banning women comics for one. Could they not get into major trouble for that, especially if you have evidence of it?

  13. Hi Katie,
    Good on you for writing this and sticking up for yourself and others.
    I hope that karma kicks in for you and the next several of your gigs are paid and for lovely people with lovely audiences.
    And Lindsay’s right about Chortle – there will be plenty of guys who will apply for the gig without checking into it and only realise what it’s all about when they’re there.
    If you raise awareness – many will avoid it.

  14. I don’tknow what pisses me off more, the fact that things like this still happen, the way women who get angry and stand up for themselves when men treat them like the sum of their worth is their sexual appeal get blammed for being “too serious” or “boring” ect, or that so many men think it’s ok to behave like pigs,

  15. Well this is the first time I’ve commented on an Internet thread, I too usually like to keep my head down and avoid getting involved. That said after reading your blog and the comments that followed it I just wanted to wholeheartedly offer my support to your stance (I’m not sure stance is the right word actually, makes it sound like its one of many options rather than the way things should just be) and as an actual man rather than a sexually retarded boy I’d like to say that this gig and ones like it will never receive my support and furthermore I shall actively urge others to boycott them. Thank you for the article.

  16. To the blokes who left what’s-your-problem comments and then tried to argue they were just being funny: you’re not. I’m not humourless. Quite the opposite – I love a gag, a witty observation, satire, irony, even a pun, but nothing any of you said qualifies as any of those. Just not funny. Just nasty. If you find yourselves funny, just ask yourselves why. Because I can tell you it isn’t because (a) you’re a likeable person or (b) you have a good sense of humour.

    To Katie, I’d like to say, “go girl”, but I’m neither hip enough nor black enough nor get away with that. You get the sentiment though.

    By the way, if DMS won’t employ women comedians, they’re almost certainly breaking the law. If they’ve said that’s the case in writing, you might like to forward the correspondence to the Equality Commission before resorting to Candy Crush.

    Ideally, women comedians can apply and pack out the place and either prove to the male customers that women comedians can be better entertainment than bored women in underwear. Or alternatively, if they fail to be funny at least they might make the club less attractive to the slathering, sweaty-palmed punters and it’ll shut down.

    What the hell: go girl. There, I said it.

  17. Hi Katie,

    An interesting blog, but I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what exactly you are railing against?

    Not necessarily defending this gig or promoter but as a male comic there are various female only gigs and competitions which I’m banned from because of my gender. Happy to be educated otherwise, but I’m not sure what the difference is?
    .
    Also, there’s a lot of assumptions in this blog about how the men will act, what the male comedians will say, etc, without any actual evidence of what happens at this gig, isn’t this a form of gender stereotyping? That ALL the male comics will be laddish bores and ALL of the audience members will be beered up, lairy monsters?

    And whilst morally, you (and I) might not be in favour of this sort of entertainment, there’s no law against stripping as entertainment, in fact call it “Burlesque” and it becomes a trendy new art form. There’s actually quite a long history and tradition of comedians performing on the same bill as strippers (and generally getting booed off).

    If it’s stripping per se that the comedy industry is supposed to be against I don’t remember performers boycotting the Gilded Balloon up in Edinburgh when they put on a 21 night run of the Chippendales, or indeed much fuss apart from perhaps a little snobbery.

    Personally, I think the booker has been rather foolish as I know that there are many female comedians who can handle potentially rowdy rooms and would probably go down a storm.

    Cheers,
    TC

    1. I don’t agree that there should be female only bills. I don’t believe we need them but the difference between them and this gig is that they ultimately come from a perhaps misguided but positive place. A place that is trying to celebrate what has been, a minority within the industry. Burlesque/variety is very different form of entertainment, where the women and men are all on equal billing and footing with a variety of skills and talents in many different shapes and sizes. It’s not, here are the men doing the talking, now here come the women doing the stripping. I respect and appreciate your comments, Tony but I know you are booked to do the next one of these gigs so I can’t help but feel you are merely trying to defend your own actions.

      1. Yes, it’s true, I’m booked for one of these gigs and in the current economic climate I’m reluctant to cancel paid work without good reason.

        To be totally honest I’m not sure what that reason is?

        Is the objection because of the presence of strippers? Or because the venue has asked the promoter to only book male comedians?

        If it’s the latter, I agree that that’s not really on and I’ve suggested to the booker that there are plenty of great female acts who could, if they wanted to, do the gig and be very successful. He seems to book plenty of female acts for the other nights he runs and so may change his policy for this particular gig.

        One of my issues with your blog is this quote;

        “My problem is that these male comedians will make jokes about the environment they are gigging in. They will joke about the strip club and invariably joke about the strippers.”

        Personally, I intend to do what I would do at a rowdy comedy club, a corporate or a military gig, I’ll attempt to tell my jokes (a mixture of silly wordplay, puns and one-liners) whilst dealing with any audience interactions as best I can, I certainly won’t be making any derogatory comments about the strippers.

      2. Totally with you, Katie. I used to do female -only competitions and gigs (we met at one at the Frog and Bucket Manchester yonks ago), but I don’t anymore as I can’t help but feel they are a little bubble in the comedy circuit… but that’s another issue.

        I’ve tried my hand at promoting burlesque/variety before after seeing very good examples run by others… and also seeing a lot of my male comedian mates getting booked for gigs where only they seem to be allowed to do the ‘variety’ bit. Unfortunate/prejudiced booking? Who knows. I quite like burlesque because it doesn’t separate the body from the head in the manner of sexualized reductionism, which is essentially what this gig you write of seems to do. I’ve also complained in the past to a female booker who was interested in reviving a Windmill-style show with female tableaux and male comedians – somewhat romanticized by that film Mrs Henderson Presents. The booker was also a burlesque stripper, and was a bit blindsided to the problem towards other sorts of acts, I thought.

        Yes, women commenters above: women can be sexist to women – real ones as well as male ones with a female pseudonym.

        The best of these shows mix it up well: music, magic, comedy, dance, improv… burlesque and boylesque. And dammit, spoken word, too!The very best MC I saw was an actress called Paticia Coleman, who enacted an 18th Century Madame with a really funny script, and a lot of sharp ad-libbing. Burlesque can be witty, funny and gorgeous – and female audience friendly, most importantly. No one should be disenfranchised by it. That is what these separatist gigs do – exactly as you say, portaying men as brains and women as bodies.

      3. Oh, and though I totally agree with Katie, she has the right to not totally agree with me.

        While feminism is still needed there is a thought that maybe comedy and burlesque should not mix, and though I have been involved with burlesque shows, I would say this is entirely reasonable.

    2. It’s about history, and culture and power, Tony. You’re not taking in the big picture. Would you be happy to perform at a gig where the white people do the jokes and the black people shine your shoes? There’s no long history of poor oppressed Chippendales. A gig where the men do the talking and the women take their clothes off is absolutely, undeniably objectionable.

      1. Then, correct me if I’m wrong, your problem is with female stripping as entertainment? Which is a much broader subject.

        I’ve already said that I don’t agree with this venue (not the booker as far as I can tell) saying that they don’t want female acts and I’ve told the booker this, as it was something I was unaware of.

        Personally, I’ve been asked to book certain gigs and been told that the audience “wouldn’t like women comedians”, I’ve then had words with them, booked brilliant female acts who’ve stormed it and not had any further problems.

      2. Also, no, of course, I wouldn’t be happy to perform at the hypothetical gig you’ve proposed but that’s a Straw man argument.

        As far as I can see, the gig is at a strip club, where strippers routinely take their clothes off for the entertainment of, what I’m guessing, is a mainly male audience. For this, I assume, they are reasonably paid. On the night in question, there will also be comedians performing, alongside women who regularly perform without comedians.

        By performing am I helping to legitimize stripping? Possibly. Do I think that’s wrong? The honest answer is “I don’t know”. Personally, I don’t think women should strip for money, however I’m sure there are women who do it for a living who would tell me to mind my own business as they are quite happy to do the job and make money from gullible men.

        One last point, I’m guessing here, but I wouldn’t mind betting that the women on the bill (i.e. the strippers) will be earning more than the comedians, a rare workplace where the women are the higher earners.

    3. Tony, if you spoke to the strippers and they said “we hate doing this job, it’s demeaning but it is the only way we can pay the bills”, would you still feel comfortable doing the gig? What if even ONE of them felt that way? (And you are unlikely ever to be sure that they don’t feel this way, even if they tell you they love their job – lots of sex workers can only be honest about these things after they’ve stopped working…) I understand the wish to justify taking any paid work you can get, but you’re clearly an intelligent person (unlike almost all the dissenting voices on here, who can barely string two words together) – surely you must have some nagging doubts?

      1. Yes, I have nagging doubts but then who’s to say that badly paid bar staff (who, these days are often immigrants from Eastern Europe) in any comedy venue are not unhappy to be in this country and are being exploited?

        As a freelance comedian I have to weigh up every gig I take and everyone I work for, for instance I’ve done pretty well paid corporate gigs for Vodafone, something which troubles me due to their tax avoidance issues, I’ve also gigged for the Labour Party, a political organisation which was instrumental in getting the UK embroiled in one of the bloodiest wars of the last 50 years.

        I’m also aware that alcohol caused masses of problems in this country, yet I, and ever other stand up comedian, am basically paid to aid in the sale of alcohol.

        As far as I’m aware, no one yet knows the exact details of this gig, but all of us (including myself) have rushed to make judgements about it.

      2. We’ve all done rubbish jobs, but bar work doesn’t demean and objectify a person, or harm their self-esteem (or it shouldn’t, anyway). Given the choice of scrubbing toilets or parading naked in front a a lascivious crowd, most people would choose the former, even if the latter was significantly better paid.

    4. I largely agree with Tony, and I’m adding some experience.

      I’ve gigged in a strip club a few times — they were cabaret shows, but with male and female comics on the bill. The crowd were wonderful and enthusiastic, it was a great show, and female comedians were just fine — no gender-specific heckles, people laugh like… usual.

      And yes, stripping came afterwards, but it felt more like “that was the show, in 15 minutes it’ll be a strip club as usual, feel free to stay”. And the whole thing was less sleazy than you’d expect strip clubs to be. If there’s no exploitation, it’s no different to a venue that’s normally a pub/ club/ bar/ restaurant.

      I’ve known a couple of strippers personally (I’m sure many of us have?) — they were just performers. I wouldn’t do it myself, but most people wouldn’t do stand-up for the same reasons.

      Katie, I’m glad you were horrified that a gig was only booking one gender. It’s OK to say “must appeal to all-male crowd”, but not to say “must BE one”. I imagine they had good intentions, and hopefully will change that policy. But let’s not promote women doing comedy on the one hand, and decry women stripping on the other, that feels like dragging feminism back to the 70’s.

      Anyway, interesting topics in general, well done for raisin ’em.

  18. Just as an addendum, the way I see it (which may be entirely wrong) is that this is a niche gig, it’s not a mainstream gig like Jongleurs, Highlight, The Glee, etc and it’s being booked in the same way that some people book nights which only feature Asian acts, Black acts, nerdy/intelligent acts, sports loving acts, pun based acts and, indeed, female acts.

    Personally, as a, hopefully, enlightened man, I’m more worried about the fact that it’s rare to see a woman on the line up at a certain World Famous comedy venue, or the lack of women on TV panel shows, or many of the other examples of lack of opportunities for female comics on the majority of the circuit.

    1. Oh, addendum addendorum — the difference is, those other niche nights are advertised as such; this one doesn’t say “come and see man night comedy — where male comedians finally get the platform they deserve”.

  19. Tony Cowards, talking sense. Glad to see his comments weren’t deleted.

    Katie, picking fights like this hurts women and makes us look pathetic and shrewish.

    I don’t stand up and say ‘not on my watch’, I say, ‘f we can have our own comedy nights, ones with male strippers, then so can men.’

    1. Hi Jen,
      I wouldn’t do a gig that had male strippers performing. I’m a comedian, I love comedy, I don’t think this blog makes me look pathetic or shrewish, I think it makes me look like I love my job and that I want things to be better.

      1. And that’s your prerogative, Katie, however, you seem to be calling for an industry wide boycott of a new promoter which seems a tad harsh.

      2. And you are quite right, Katie. Stop with the justifications, guys. You’ve already admitted you “don’t know” if you are lending support to something that you might find objectionable if you thought about it for more than a second. How about listening to Katie, who clearly has?

        As for “shrewish” and “pathetic”? Hardly. Coherent, laudable, timely and bloody necessary I’d say. Calling a woman with an opinion “shrewish and pathetic” is also part of the problem, ye know. And the fact that the person who called Katie that is also a woman does not negate this – in fact it shows how much feminism is still needed.

        Keep opposing this: inch by inch. As a fellow performer I’ve faced this kind of thing before too. x

    2. I understand the principle behind your point, and behind the points made by Tony, but the reality is that patriarchy perpetuates a complete system in which women are perceived as, and consequently treated as, being of lower status and value when compared to men. This means that there is an inherent imbalance in the power dynamic between conventional binary genders. Your suggestion of “our own comedy nights, with male strippers”, is therefore a false equivalence.

      It is an attractive and appealing idea because it creates the illusion of equality. However, what it fails to address is one of the root causes of the discrimination and sexism which Katie has experienced and described, which is the normalisation of negative, dehumanising concepts of women – the female body as an object, something to be used or manipulated, without autonomy, presented in a vulnerable state, for consumption by heterosexual men, in a world in which women are viewed as second-class citizens and socialised to put male needs, wants and desires before their own.

      Here’s a nice little post which sort of gets to the point. It’s about comic book art, and presented from a slightly different perspective, but touches on some of the issues raised here. I hope you find it interesting, and that it encourages you to read a bit more about the subject.

      http://www.themarysue.com/shortpacked-false-equivalence/

      1. Hi Cat, thanks for your response. I’m afraid I don’t believe that the patriarchy exists any longer in the traditional sense. Your suggestion that “patriarchy perpetuates a complete system in which women are perceived as, and consequently treated as, being of lower status and value when compared to men” is consistently countered by the societal problems faced by men *in favour of* women.

        Basically put, both sexes (broad strokes – no offence to trans people) have benefits and challenges. Some of those are huge (FGM, legal disparities), others – like this – are not.

        “A world in which women are viewed as second-class citizens and socialised to put male needs, wants and desires before their own” simply does not exist in the Western world. Arguments can be made that it does, but they are fallacious and generally based on incorrect data.

        Strip clubs for men exist. Strip clubs for women exist. Men-only nights exist. Women-only nights exist. People can decide for themselves where they go and what they do.

  20. Sounds like the only things you’d have got were the money and an audience that didn’t want comedy. Didn’t the comedians that played the Windmill say that they had the worst audiences, no-one wanted them to be on just to get back to the girls. Seems nothing changes.

  21. Agreed completely with Katie, read all the comments and equally find it hard not to agree with Tony. I think the issue of whether it’s a shit idea having a comedy night in a strip club is one, and that they’re actively not booking women for it is another. One has led to the other but I think in naivety and assuming what the crowd will want rather than out and out chauvanism.

    I think it will be a shitty gig for anyone, but can only see it being more so for female comics, not to say they couldn’t handle it, but I think they’ll get a tougher ride at this gig than a male comic would.

  22. i think in this case we need tony to report back after the gig to tell us whats going on and if indeed its inappropriate. some times gigs can fool you. you go in thinking its going to be one thing and it turns out its another. it seems a bit of an outdated idea but historically it was the launching point for richard pryor’s career so with that fact alone we cant dismiss it out of hand. however, im not disagreeing with katie either. if it bothers you then definetley say something. nobodies right or wrong about these things. youre just looking at it from different angles. p.s. legge, if you call me a cunt i’ll kill you (and silently agree with the statement)

      1. are you talking to me legge or are you practicing your strip club yell? i think the real reason you dont want any one going there is because its you’re favorite way to unwind after a big day of tweeting! (i wanted to put a little smiley guy here so you’d know i was kidding but i cant figure out that option)

  23. The stripping happens after the comedy so that is a non-issue. As for not hiring female comedians what is wrong with that? The customers are male most men don’t like female comedians therefore the business would likely make less money if they had female comedians.

    Why aren’t you speaking out about the women in comedy uk festival, there are no male comedians there just like there are no female comedians at this venue. Oh wait, its okay if men are discriminated against but not women.

    Both men and women prefer male comedians, get over it already.

    1. The fact you mention most men don’t like female comedians and then go on to question the validity of a women in comedy festival is hilarious. Why do you think most men don’t like female comedians? I guarantee most of the men who hold those beliefs haven’t seen Katie or any of the other fantastic female comedians out there.

      I used to do a bit of open mic stuff, and I loved the female only nights because it was the only time I didn’t have to be polite to people saying “I don’t normally think women are funny but…”. It’s beyond tiresome.

      I don’t like the majority of comedians I see, most people don’t really. When there are fewer women on the circuit (which there wouldn’t be if it wasn’t that much more hostile for women) there will be more men you like than women. It’s not about gender, it’s about maths.

    2. Wait, I’m trying to get my head around your logic. Please, let me know if this paraphrasing is accurate:

      ‘Comedy is massively sexist so stop complaining about it’

      The same people who say that they don’t find female comics funny are almost exclusively the ones who think that all female comics talk about periods and how shit men are, proving instantly that they actually know absolutely nothing about the current comedy scene.

      In the past, I asked someone whether the MOBO awards were racist against white people. But I was about 13 and a complete idiot.

  24. I find the use of language more insulting than anything that this blog identifies. Using female genitalia to describe those putting a point across in a negative way. Not sure who the real issues lie with here!!

  25. Well done for speaking out Katie. I too wish these things didn’t need saying- but in the past few years some gender inequalities seem to have got worse not better.

    I spoke out recently when I saw a comedy festival line up had twenty seven men and two women (in comparison to the DSM promotions thing they now look like Germaine Greer’s utopia).

    It provoked debate and defensiveness on the thread. I’ve seen some similar patterns here. In some ways the people saying outrageous things about how male audiences just like male comedians are easier to counter (I like Michael Legge’s tactic). More unpleasant but still easy to shoot down are the ones who make personal attacks (and cause you to remember exactly why being an antelope is better).

    What was harder was people (often male comedians) who didn’t see themselves as sexist and would be upset to think they were perceived as such, who genuinely couldn’t see a problem with the circuit as it is and were not so much antelopes as badgers (badgers are blind aren’t they? My animal knowledge may not be up to these metaphors). I suspect they account for a large minority (or majority) of the current circuit.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but my experience has made me resolve to want to speak up and support other people making a stand on these sorts of issues. I really appreciated it when others did it for me (Here you are again Jo and Nat).

    Recently I saw that Vikki Stone was Tweeting about Leamington Spa comedy festival’s massively male line up. I Tweeted her and also Tweeted the organisers to demonstrate that it wasn’t just one lone voice who was protesting. Once promoters realise there is a weight of numbers behind those speaking out, they might even make the (not massive) leap to realising that there’s also a weight of audience who are being alienated too.

    For whatever it’s worth, I will also contact DSM directly and hope anyone else who feels the same will do so too. I wish that some of the comedians booked would make a stand. That more comedians would make a stand generally. It would be easy for the ones who’d quite like to, but want to be antelopes and naturally, not bugger up their careers, if they knew they were some among many.

    Thank you for the reminder about the importance of actually saying no, not just thinking it. Even if every blog or Tweet or share makes just one more person realise that it is worth saying something, eventually the whole population of the UK will shout out as one in annoyance at one man on a podium telling knob jokes while a woman with glittery tassels gyrates around him forlornly. Maybe.

  26. Hear! Bloody Hear!
    Your account hits the nail on the head – it’s. not. equal. out. there.
    Of course, women are then always told to shut the fuck up, when calling the incessant crap out.
    Convenient.
    I have written many pieces myself and will gladly stand beside you.
    Loved this piece.
    🙂

  27. I have to say that as a male comic working anti-social hours it took me years to find a woman who’d put up with that lifestyle. Many people never do. There’s a lot of relationship breakdown in comedy for many good reasons. Having spent years trying to get it to work without my relationship falling apart the last thing I want is a converstaion along the lines of “How was your gig?” …”Okay …I was on between the strippers”. If it is “about the money” we should at least see the money but this seems to be an average small gig offering average fees. I’m sorry I dont want to work in strip clubs – I’m happy watching old episodes of Minder. It’s not just devaluing to women it’s devaluing to comedy as even the vaguest type of “art”. This increasing crossover between “burlesque” and comedy has been going on for a while. Well, Councils have got wise and they are now closing down burlesque venues in Camden because they, like I, are unconvinced that it is anything other than stripping. If people want to put on strippers they should run proper strip clubs and have the appropriate licences not try to get it under the wire as stand up and get venues closed down and lower the social standing of comedy as a whole.

    You can call me a prude if you like but it’s enough to make you want to stand outside with a placard like Father Ted “Down with this sort of thing”

  28. well done Katie, a brilliant piece by yourself.

    It is good to see you sticking up for something that you truly believe in, hats off to you.

    The venue mentioned on Chortle is not actually the venue where this event will be happening.

    We will be holding this event and we will be discussing with the venue our future options. we totally respect peoples opinions which they are more than entitled too. We would like to stress that we hold events in a wide variety of venues this just being one of them. our ultimate aim is to put on the best nights for the audience the acts and the venues.

    K ind Regards

    Matt Day

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