Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Excerpt from a letter I sent to comedy promoters of funded venues

Posted in Uncategorized by sheelanagigcomedienne on December 7, 2009

“I do think it is important for funded venues to be pro-active in ensuring diversity with performers and audiences. Comedy, be it stand-up or speciality, used to be part of variety shows but is now ghettoised and dominated by young males creating a very specific testosterone-fuelled ambience. Whereas, at all women gigs I find the audience to be liberated, sophisticated and sexy –  a great place for men to encounter funny, feisty women and for women to test run a new boyfriend.

Because there are far fewer women on the comedy circuit often there will not even be a women on the bill  and usually only a token woman and no older women at all. This means we don’t get to meet up, network or feel supported. It is lonely and many women give up because of this. I have seen so many very funny women through the Funny Women awards and showcases and feel it is such a shame that they disappear. I am convinced that this has got to be one of the main ways of getting and keeping women in comedy.
No one can possibly object to the notion of all women gigs as most gigs are all male and should be labelled as such! I also like the idea of a mainly women show with a token man as a way of highlighting the problem with the stand-up comedy circuit.”

This is my latest, modest mission- to get venues/comedy promoters to put on all women shows as a way of enabling women to get into and stay in stand-up comedy and to release it from the ghetto. It also makes good economic sense if promoters actually want to widen the audiences for comedy.

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