Sexism is rampant in the world of comedy, who would have guessed?
I’ll never forget the time when I auditioned for a casting director who knew me well. She had booked me on several occasions prior. These roles were mainly comedic in nature. After performing, she looked at me and said, “I’ll tell you what your gift is. Women that look like you, people don’t expect to be funny. But you are funny and this will surprise everyone.” While I was thankful, it reminded me of a sex role stereotype I had been fighting throughout my career: men don’t expect women to be funny. Or better yet, men don’t believe woman can be funny.
There are even finer tuned versions of this belief. One is that women who are unattractive can be funny. Or at least they are “allowed” to be funny by men. Whereas, an attractive or sexy woman won’t be taken seriously as a comic, because she couldn’t possibly be funny. My guess is that if a woman is attractive, it will distract men from the fact she is funny. Or that somehow funny is not deemed sexy. Either way, it is discrimination any way you choose to slice it up.
Female comics have had to fight against an old boy’s network that is both outspoken, crude and misogynistic at times. Often, male comics refuse to work with female comics. This sex discrimination makes it hard for any female comic to find work.
If you find this difficult to believe, come with us as we watch several comedians talk about their experiences with sexism while on the job. You might be surprised at what men have said to prove to themselves that women aren’t funny, and how women have fought tooth and nail just for the opportunity to make others laugh.
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