This just in: some women are funny! If you agree, or even if you doubt me—and you live in Boston, and you’ve got some time on your hands—I highly recommend heading over to the Women in Comedy Festival, now in its seventh year, to celebrate (and laugh with) some of these funny women.
Such as headliner Jane Lynch, who says she’s “thrilled” to be a part of the festival, and who’ll be performing her cabaret act, See Jane Sing, tonight at 7:30 PM at the Wilbur Theater, which she describes as “really bouncy and a lot of fun,” and includes an appearance from Kate Flannery of The Office, as well as vocal arrangements by Tim Davis, the songster behind Glee.
(Lynch also recently filmed a pilot for CBS called Angel From Hell, based on the idea of a guardian angel—Lynch—acting as a patron saint of sorts, if a bit of a loopy one, for Allison—Maggie Lawson—a “driven dermatologist set on a path of self-destruction.” No word as of press time on whether CBS has picked up the series beyond the pilot.)
WICF veteran Aparna Nancherla, who made waves in 2013 as the first Indian female comic to perform late-night standup on TV when she appeared on Conan, is performing tonight at 8 PM at Laugh Boston. On the idea of the all-female comedy festival—although there are a few male performers, actually, and men, of course, are welcome to attend—she said, “I know there are mixed opinions on all-female comedy festivals, but I have always found them to be a welcoming and worthwhile environment for both performance, inspiration, networking and discussion.”
She added, “I think we are used to implicitly accepting the default standard we see reflected around us as the understood status quo for what an industry is, whether that be a dominance of one gender, one race, one sexual orientation, one class, or the like. And it’s always felt like a welcome change to get together people who are used to being in the minority and letting them all be in the same place, exchanging ideas. I don’t think of women’s comedy festivals as a place to exclude non-women. I think of them as a celebration of what comedians who are women are doing.”
Boston native Sue Costello is also on the roster (tomorrow night, 8 PM at Laugh Boston). She first made a name for herself in the city’s comedy clubs in the ‘90s before moving to New York in 1996. “There’s no better crowd than Boston,” Sue says. She’s not one to shy away from the gender bias that serves as an implicit driving factor in the idea of the all-female comedy fest: “What I’ve learned as a woman is the importance of holding on to my femininity (in a field that’s male-dominated). I don’t want to say it’s harder, because that victimizes women. I’ve learned that it’s important to trust yourself, and to remember that sometimes when you’re smart and funny, it can make people nervous. You’ve just got to hold onto yourself.”
As a Boston resident and veteran WICF attendee, I’ll vouch that the festival is a bit under-promoted in these parts—I suspect the coinciding (and heavily promoted) Independent Film Festival has something to do with it—but that the time and ticket money spent going to any performances and panels you can catch is totally worth it.
For tickets, showtimes and more information, visit Women in Comedy Festival’s home page.
Image of festival co-producers Elyse Schuerman, Michelle Barbera, Maria Ciampa courtesy Women in Comedy Festival