Most women do stand-up so we can talk for FIVE FREAKING MINUTES WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED. On my new favorite podcast, “The Jackie and Laurie Show,” Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin (two national touring headliners who are WOMEN MY AGE) talk about comedy for a whole hour every week. This podcast is a national treasure for female comics, who make up only 21.3% of hosts, 14.3% of mid-level comics and 8.3% of headliners in America (per Bitch Media). Here’s the link to the podcast:
Vile behavior by entitled male comics happens all the time in the dive bars & clubs where we work. I was once the only woman on a show where the host was a guy I rejected (People, I am Married!!). Guy felt fine to threaten & harass me online and in person & I was (and still am) scared of him. I had to walk out with sassy confidence, shake THAT guy’s hand, and then be funny. Yeah, I wonder how that went (IT WENT BADLY). And there’s nothing special about me! All women in stand-up deal with this and worse every day.
Jackie and Laurie are part of that kickass 8.3% of headliners who are female. In the podcast, they talk about their work on the road, the venues, and the premises they are working on, as well as how they manage the unique challenges of their lady-ness in this business (e.g., how to avoid scumbags such as the one mentioned above). Listening to them is the closest thing I’ve got to ACTUALLY KNOWING female headliners and understanding the issues at the next level for women. It’s priceless.
I’ve opened for Mike Epps but I’ve never opened for a big name female comic, probably due to the ridiculous male booker prejudice “You can’t put more than one woman on a show.” (Have they heard it’s 2017??) I introduced myself to a female headliner in Texas once and all she did was ask me to hold her dog. She never even asked me my name. It makes a huge difference to reach out and encourage one another when we can. “The Jackie and Laurie Show” helps bring other women along on the comedy journey JUST BY EXISTING. And we love it! And Yes, I’ve gone back and listened to every single episode.
Last week in Burbank I went to a live taping of The Jackie and Laurie Show, & fangirl-ed all over both my heroines. They reacted true to themselves: Laurie told me I was making her uncomfortable and Jackie gave me her e-mail address. I hope this podcast goes on forever! And I hope every woman in comedy checks it out.
I’ll close with a message a young woman comic, just starting out, sent me last week, when I was depressed and feeling like a loser & total failure. These words apply even more to Jackie and Laurie:
“… what I want you to realize is how far you’ve come. How big of an inspiration you are to a 19-year old comic who barely saw any women in an industry she really wants to get into. How much your influence matters and how great an impact you have.”
I wish we had more ways women could learn the secrets of the business from our own perspective (like I don’t know, maybe more opportunities to Feature and Headline??); but FOR NOW WE HAVE “The Jackie and Laurie Show.” Yaaay! Now go download this week’s episode, you’ll love it.
PS: Quick mention here of www.WomenInComedy.org, a new Chicago-based nonprofit which has the mission statement to empower and connect women in comedy across the USA. I’m on the LA Committee for this group. If you’re not a member and you’re a lady comic, GET OVER TO OUR WEBSITE and get on our mailing list! We sponsor workshops and events, and we want to get to know you.