Open mic opens stage for female comedians
Sara Bulloch, CONTRIBUTOR
“This doesn’t usually happen at regular open mics. It’s usually just a bunch of twenty-something white dudes waiting to go up on stage and jerk off into A Little Pizza Heaven napkin,” said comedian Ava Julien to a laughing audience at Jekyll & Hyde’s on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
The Women’s Open Mic nights have been successful in attracting more women to try comedy, and come out to see women comedians. As Julien explained in her joke, regular open mic nights are primarily male-dominated.
The event started last December and has been running monthly ever since. Creator and host Dana Smith has a theory on how the event came to be.
“Turns out a lot of women feel more comfortable doing comedy with other women,” said Smith.
Comedian Melanie Dahling, one of the comedians who performed on Sept. 6, said while male comedians’ humor is considered for everybody, female comedians’ humor is perceived as women’s humor.
“You’re told so often: don’t talk about your period and don’t talk about stuff that men can’t relate to,” added Smith.
“I certainly haven’t heard about as many [female comedians]. Whether that’s because they just don’t enjoy being a comic or it’s because they don’t generate as much buzz, I don’t know,” said Jarred Beesley, a student in Red River College’s library and information technology program.
Throughout the evening, men and women were throwing their heads back in laughter. There weren’t many period jokes, but comedians did not shy away from joking about traditional female topics like shopping, dating, and parenthood.
Lara Rae, comedian and artistic director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, said comedy has come a long way from when she started in 1983.
“Every time a woman would go on stage – and there weren’t many – there was always a negative joke. Like ‘There’s not a lot of lady comics, a lot of sluts and whores, but not a lot of ladies,’” said Rae.
“I think men are starting to clue into the idea that maybe they have some things in common with women, and it’s ok to watch these things,” said Dahling.
The next Women’s Open Mic night will be Oct. 4th at Jekyll and Hyde’s.