If there’s one thing I hate in this world, it’s this crazy myth that women are inherently catty and horrible to each other. I REALLY think this is an exception, and, NOT the norm. Unfortunately, The Real Housewives shows everyone another story. Here’s my story.
In the 4ish years I’ve been doing comedy, beyond becoming a much better writer and performer, the biggest take away I have gotten is the truly baffling amount of supportive, hilarious, and noble women I have met through the female comedy scene. This is in no way discounting the men I have met, who have also contributed to my trajectory and been incredible. I have the male comics to thank as well, and I’m not trying to pick sides here. I’m simply pointing how a group of women in the NYC comedy scene sort of blossomed through necessity I think at first (let’s band together in this highly male-dominated field) and how it’s grown into a full-fledged friend-a-thon. In addition, when two of us are booked on the same show, there is this knowing nod and a wink, an “I got yer back”. It’s like chick fight-club.
It started when a lovely brilliant gal (who is an awesome friend of mine now) moved here from the West Coast and decided to start a Facebook group called “NYC Lady Comics” as a way to air grievances, ask questions, and of course our favorite thing, promote ourselves and each other ;-) This has resulted in brunches, cocktail hours, and more.
For a little over a year, I produced an all-female comedy show called “Ladies Who Punch”, and while perhaps a bit ghettoizing and slumber-party-esque, at the time, I think it was a necessary addition to the male shows being produced ad nauseum. It gave a lot of women an opportunity to perform as full autonomous humans, not as token chicks. It was also interesting in terms of content. The tone of that show was different than anything you saw, it was its own voice, not to mention zero misogyny. Right now for example, there is an all-female open mic just for that reason. They don’t have to deal with the bullshit, and can just do their jokes.
[Side note: there now sort of a resurgence of shows with all-female line-ups. Caroline’s has one and it looks pretty sweet!]
I see these broads socially, apart from comedy. I’ve befriended many many of these women, cried with these women, and really grown to love many of these women. This happens with dudes too of course in the comedy scene, I just don’t know if it’s in the same level that we have which is like an over-abundance of love gal pal support 24/7.
And there is something about women who are comedians: They are smart, they are usually inherently feminist, they humbly strong, and they are not shy. Yes, we also harbor a lot of sensitivity and sadness, but we are strong because we aren’t afraid to examine it and lay it out for the world. We make fun of ourselves and embrace ourselves no matter how un-sexy that is.
Something that is not surprising, but also almost baffling in its commonality, is the sheer breadth of compassion and willingness to support. There is far less competitiveness (though I’m sure there are pockets that exists, I just don’t see it a lot at all), and way more of a “holy shit you got that gig, dude I’m totally coming to see it, holy crap!” than any kind of resentment. When a friend gets a writing gig, it’s like the Heavens opened up and flooded the world with sunshine. I think because beyond just liking this particular gal, there is a part of us that is always happy when one of us is able to break-through the male sphere and succeed. It’s badass and “phew” inducing. But t’s not just because the act itself of breaking through is commendable - it’s that - we have seen these women’s work and from where I stand they are truly and utterly talented as all fuck. It is New York City after all. Sure, there are exceptions, but the majority of the women I know in this community are insanely talented and smart. I feel COMPLETELY privileged to know them.
This is also not some kind of ass-kissing. I just think this needs to be written and for people to see it and to understand that, as hard as it is to be a woman in this world, the banding together when we do it, is explosive. It moves mountains, it gets us through the hurdles. Without a community we are alone and struggling. With a community we still struggle, but at least we have a gal pal’s shoulder to cry on and laugh with. I can say with 100% certainty that these women have helped me become a better person and a better comedian. You boys have your dicks, higher pay, most positions of leadership, and all around general ease, but I’ll tell you one thing - there is no way you have this kind of friend/love explosion. Let us have it, we have to bleed once a month and give birth and shit.
It’s just beautiful and I am thankful everyday.
[FYI - other communities have the same thing I’ve noticed - through twitter and beyond - gals in general just YA-YA Sisterhood the shit out of life to get through]