The Women in Comedy Festival took place in Boston, MA from March 9th through the 13th and since we could not sneak away from launch party planning duties to attend, we asked G.L.O.C. LEAH GOTCSIK to recap the festival and share some highlights.
I am in the bathroom talking up how fast I can pee as a community service to the rest of the line. I am also handing out my card. Welcome to the Women in Comedy Festival.
I have been going to this Boston-based festival with my sketch group, Somebody’s in the Doghouse, since it began three years ago. I’ve also performed with or near all of the hilarious ladies who run the fest, MICHELLE BARBERA, MARIA CIAMPA, ELYSE SCHUERMAN. The festival has been growing each year and this year it took off. Women (and men) came from all over to perform—NYC! LA! Both metropolitan Portlands! Canada!
There were big time sponsors–-WTF with Marc Maron podcast, the Sound of Young America, Rooftop Comedy, The Friar’s Club, and The World Comedy Club—and the festival was talked about from the Huffington Post, to Punchline magazine, to a live feed to SXSW (they had to get those ladies there somehow). There were amazing headliners, including RACHEL DRATCH, JEN KIRKMAN, MORGAN MURPHY and KRISTEN SCHAAL. And the all-important industry came. Jeff Singer, Executive Consultant for Just For Laughs, offered three sold-out workshops, checked out shows all weekend, and hit up the after-parties.
But the coolest thing of all was that we—women and men alike—were just doing great comedy, instead of talking about whether we could.
I was at the fest from Thursday to Sunday. Herewith, my top 5 highlights:
- The festival features all types of comedy—stand up, storytelling, music, improv, sketch. I connected with ladies and men outside of my usual improv/sketch realm and saw some amazing sets—Stripped Stories with GIULIA ROZZI and MARGOT LEITMAN, a great lineup hosted by the sassy and Huzzah-filled JENNY ZIGRINO (including an insidiously hilarious feline clothing bit from MICHELLE WOLF), the comedy force of nature that is CAMERON ESPOSITO and the delightfully raunchy MARY DOLAN, who was pretty sure everyone on her bill was a lesbian. By my count, she was 40% right.
- From what I saw, the crowds were great. The headliners sold out both shows and there were wait lists for some of the smaller shows. And the crowds were from all walks of life. Example: I watched a 70-plus-year-old man clap along to JESSICA DELFINO’s songs about pussy.
- Performers tended to congregate at the two main venues—Improv Boston and Mottley’s—so it was easy to meet people at the shows—I hung with NICOLE SHABTAIN of Citizen Rothstein, CAITLIN TEGART, ROSE SURNOW, LADY DOYLE, VIRGINIA JONES, ASHLEY WARD—and in the aforementioned bathroom—DAWN WHITWELL. The official Saturday night after-party was packed with folks like the LAURAS GREY and MCKENZIE of the Laura on Laura Comeback Tour, ROBIN GELFENBIEN, JANE BORDEN, SELENA COPPOCK, and, *boy alert*, KURT BRAUNOHLER, CHRIS FLEMING and MICAH SHERMAN.
- I went to the best comedy panel I have ever been to, and I have been to at least four “state of women in comedy” panels in the last year alone, so that’s saying something. Why was it so great? It was off-the-record and for performers only, so we were able to get honest advice from women who are making a fancy living in the comedy industry. And, since everyone there was already working in comedy, we were able to get right to what we can do to get ahead, instead of debating why we can’t.
- Finally, you know a festival is well run when the snacks are amazing. I say Peanut Butter Crackers, you say Rice Krispie Treats, SASHEER ZAMATA of Doppelganger.
And, herewith (Boston is so historical I figured I could use this twice), my prediction:
Next year, the festival will be the place to see top women from across the country, and industry and press are going to be coming back in force. Word on the street is that JESSIE BAADE and KENDRA CUNNINGHAM got showcase spots on Just For Laughs shows as a result of the fest. This means that it’s going to be even harder to get in, ladies, so polish up your jokes! Also, maybe they’ll get some bigger bathrooms? I am laminating my cards in anticipation.
In the meantime, let’s do what we said we would at the festival—stay in touch, support each other’s shows, and get ready to party at the G.L.O.C. launch. It’s a movement y’all. Let’s keep it going.
I know a lot of G.L.O.C.s reading this were at the fest. What were your favorite moments?
Check out all the fabulous G.L.O.C.s mentioned in this post on our blogroll.
Leah writes and performs comedy in NYC. She improvises with Baby Wants Candy and The Made Up Musical and is one-half of the sketch group Somebody’s in the Doghouse, who were 2010 Friar’s Club Improv and Sketch Competition Finalists. She’s had a sitcom pilot in the New York Television Festival and recently sold a preschool script. Where my 4-year-olds at? Leahgotcsik.com