How Comedy Made Me A Feminist

Four years ago, I got the idea to start all-female stand-up comedy show. I am not a comedian. I have never produced comedy before, but I knew how to plan a party. So I secured a venue, posted an ad on Craigslist for comics, and now Chicks and Giggles is about celebrate four years as a show that entertains and supports the community of women in the New York comedy scene. We have done college shows, been profiled in Bust Magazine and had a small mention in New York Times, and yet some people still think the show is a gimmick. It is not!  Some fellow comics, comedy festivals, and even women dismiss the show as being a show full of women complaining about men and periods. The funny thing is that many of the comics talk about heady subjects like atheism, intelligent design and politics. They also talk dating, sex or lack thereof. Chicks and Giggles is actually kind of alternative with stand-up, characters, musical comedy, sketch and improv. The show is a success with comedians who have appeared on MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and LOGO. We are pretty egalitarian in that my co-producer and I book not just women, but only funny women. It's pretty cool to create a weekly show and know that you are guaranteed to laugh. It is better than therapy. What burns me is that I feel that Chicks and Giggles doesn't get the attention and respect it deserves. Now I know that comedy is tough and people toil for years without getting notice, but any good show that has been as long as Chicks and Giggles has in New York is rare. I didn't even start the show to get famous, so that's not my beef. My problem is when people immediately think that the show is all fluff without even checking it out, or that women are not funny. [I am SO not going there] Comedy is more like "Corporate America" than I thought. There is a glass ceiling and when you have a show in the basement of a comedy club, the ceiling is pretty low. Male comics can get fans to come a show. Female comics get friends to come a show. To build an audience you have keep bringing new people into the fold. My co-producer Carolyn and I have been working to build an audience. We are doing the Facebook, MySpace, sending listings to local media, blogging, Flickring and the like. A lot of people know about the show, but still won't come. I know people are busy, and they may be pulled in 20 different directions socially on a Tuesday night, but Chicks and Giggles is always a funny show. I ask people to come not because they are doing me a favor, but because but it is fun. Audience members are truly entertained and it is not some ironic, too-cool-for-school crap. Paying gigs do happen, but seem to be only abundant in March for Women's History Month. Though I am thankful for the gigs, I can't build a business model on one month a year. There are other women-focus communities like BlogHer, iVillage, Sk-rt, so I know financial success is possible. I want to grow this comedy community across generations by connecting to colleges, high schools and retirement centers. My goal is for people to take women comics SERIOUSLY and seriously FUNNY.

Update: I am producing a 10th anniversary show for Chicks and Giggles at Littlefield in Brooklyn on May 18th.

 

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