Hey, remember when there was a bit of a kerfuffle over SxSW’s inanely gender imbalanced comedy lineup? I’m sure any festival that books large numbers of comedians learned something from that, right? Hahaha, I am glad we can look back on that and laugh! With Bonnaroo happening this weekend, we can see how far things have come in just a few months, I’m sure. Let’s look at the lineup!
-420 Comedy Blaze hosted by Cheech Marin featuring Jay Pharoah, Ralphie May, the stars of Workaholics
-Henson Alternative’s STUFFED AND UNSTRUNG
-The League Live (Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi)
-The Gregory Brothers
Christ, really? By my count, that is 25 dudes and 3 ladies, including the 1 lady in The Gregory Brothers. Hell, 26 dudes if you count Jon Benjamin, who’s hostingthe Comedy Central webcast of these shows and isn’t listed here. Of course, I am not sure about the genders of those Henson puppets, so that could make up for a lot.
Look, I understand that there are more dudes than ladies out there performing comedy. But it ain’t that bad. If it was 20 dudes to 10 ladies, even, that would be somewhat defensible, if not optimal. But 26 to 3, with only 2 solo female performers? That’s pretty inexcusable.
These big comedy events expose a lot of people to comedians! As an event that isn’t centered around comedy, there are gonna be a ton of people in these audiences who are not comedy nerds and who are only sort of familiar with a few mainstream comedians. When they see a professionally curated lineup, they will assume that it is representative of what the comedy scene is like today. And to make it so blatantly unrepresentative is not only offensive, it’s damaging to the comedy world as a whole. The stereotype that comedy is a dude’s game will be reinforced, girls in the audience will not see anyone to be inspired by and follow after, and a shitty vicious cycle will be helped to keep on spinning.
Festival bookers: it’s not that complicated. Book some fucking female comedians. For real.