Lane Moore is a comedian and writer for The Onion, Jezebel, and Ms. Magazine. You can and should follow her on Twitter at @hellolanemoore.
You know how people are always talking about women in comedy? Like, all the time. Like, CONSTANTLY. Like, they weren’t really doing it before so now gender is something we have to mention every time we talk about a comedian who isn’t white, male, or both? It’s easy to read these things and think, “Okay, I agree. But what could I possibly do about things like SXSW only booking 3 female comedians, as opposed to the 25 male comedians, given that, like most Americans, I am not a comedy booker or television executive?”
Excellent question, hypothetical reader I like to believe exists! For starters, I would wholeheartedly suggest you save your nickels and your burning desire to pile into a car with your girlfriends/boyfriends/transfriends/total strangers who don’t seem creepy, and drive/fly/walk briskly to Boston, MA so that you may bask in the splendor of this year’s Women In Comedy Festival.
The Women in Comedy festival is entering its fourth year of existence with a fantastic lineup including Carol Leifer (Seinfeld writer and supposed inspiration for total feminist icon Elaine Benes), stand-up legend Wendy Liebman, and over 200 other funny women (and men, of course! Think of this festival as the Pawnee Goddesses of Comedy except, you know, in Boston) performing stand up (I’m one of ‘em!), sketch, improv, and storytelling.
You can also take workshops about writing, including one I’ll be leading about finding ways to write, even if your brain often resembles an I Love Lucy chocolate factory conveyor belt of “I’m not ready yet/not good enough yet/It’s probably been done before/I’m sure someone could do it better/Maybe next year/What if I’m the only one who would get this?” thoughts, called Write Now: Writing Even If You’re Not Ready. We’ll explore a variety of reasons why women tend to fall into the second-guessing traps more easily than men do and have you leaving the festival and workshop with an overwhelming desire to bring any idea for a script/show/comic book/song/whatever it is you think about doing but never tell anyone about, and actually do it!
I can’t express how much I want to see a variety of voices out there and the only way to do that is by supporting events like this one and finding ways to support and encourage yourselves to go boldly in the direction of “that thing you do on the side”. Women, queers, and trans people already have so many hurdles to leap over when it comes to visibility in the arts that the last thing we need is to be the ones stopping ourselves.