Cameron Sheppard Mentor: Kelly Howe

Comedy is one of the most effective tools in bolstering communication and fostering connection between different people. Throughout history, the intersection Examining the Intersection of of and political commentary has played an Women, Comedy, and Activism important role in shaping the American socio-political After interviewing female landscape. During the 1950s, comedians like Moms throughout the US, I gained a clearer Mabley and carved a greater space for , Still, the gender gap in comedy, understanding of how and why women specifically stand-up comedy, continues to negatively become interested in comedy and how the affect women's opportunities. American personal becomes political onstage. The society continues to perpetuate the myth that women There was a consensus among the comedians I aren't funny, making it more difficult for female autobiographical nature of stand-up allows interviewed that the field of comedy has become comedians* to achieve success within their field. more diverse and inclusive over the last decade. for a unique intersection of identity and

*The term 'female ' is used for throughout my research, but I want to From writers rooms to stand-up line-ups, an cultural critique (Lockyer 2020). Women are underscore that these performers do not belong to a separate category of increasing number of women are making their comedy. They are simply comedians. able to redefine femininity and womanhood mark. However, female comedians are still onstage, while also instigating social pressured to perform according to traditionally reformation. male comedy standards in order to be successful. In his 2007 essay "Why Women Aren't Funny," socio- Out of the ten highest-paid comedians in political critic Christopher Haynes claimed that 2019-2020, only one was female. This women have no biological need to be funny because reflects the estimation that roughly 10% they can already attract men. This assumes that of comedians identify as women. Not comedy is meant to serve the opposite sex. One Although there are more female comedians revolutionizing comedy, there remains a only are there fewer opportunities comedian I spoke with, Jamee Larson, asserted that comedy serves itself and its audience. According to significant lack of performance opportunities for available, but also, prevailing negative Larson, "You're either funny or you're not!" And them (Lockyer 2020). Men are booked more sentiments regarding women in comedy consistently than female comedians and often audiences are eager to bestow praise or criticism. deter women from entering the field. are paid more for their time.

Comedy consumers and audience members have Additionally, female comedians are more to challenge their conceptions of gender and likely to be heckled, sexually harassed, REFERENCES: comedy. Part of the lack of exposure of female

comedians is a consequence of a perceived and assaulted while working. Hitchens, Christopher. (2007). Why Women Aren’t Funny. Vanity Fair. preference for male comedians. When audiences

Greengross, Gil & Silvia, Paul & Nusbaum, Emily. (2019). Sex differences in humor production ability: A meta-analysis. Journal of Research actively seek out female comedians, they will in Personality. 84. 103886. 10.1016/j.jrp.2019.103886. quickly discover that women are, and have Lockyer, S. (2020). Women and Comedy. In The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication (eds K. Ross, I. always been, funny. Bachmann, V. Cardo, S. Moorti and M. Scarcelli). https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119429128.iegmc237