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Entries in Just For Laughs (1)


"the world’s favourite comedy festival has no room for women"

The title grabs ya, doesn't it?


And, yes, this Just For Laughs (With Penii) line up IS ridiculous. But, this, I wanna say, well-intentioned article also delves into some murky ground. The writer says,

"From now on, I refuse to attend any festivals and events where women count for less 2 fifths of the line-up, and I urge you to join me."

How can only support an art that splits into a gender ratio that doesn't offend you?

Here is my reply.

Hi Maeve.

Although I agree the Just For Laughs lineup is ridiculous I also see that as a heavily curated festival, it gets to do what it likes. In doing this it also has the opportunity to show itself to be a bit of a dinosaur. Of course there are many many women who are worthy of a spot. Many.

I also want to make sure the MICF facts are in place. It's a festival, close to my heart. I've participated numerous times. Some times more successfully than others. EVERY time, utterly supported by the behemoth that it is. 

Fact. MICF's director is a man without a penis. She has been at the helm of this multi-million dollar venture for many years. It is Australia's largest cultural event - selling more tickets than any other Australian Festival.

Fact. It is the only festival of it's kind to hold an all girl line up show, UpFront. Started by actual women comedians which is now in it's 20th year.

Fact. It's the only festival of it's kind to hold a workshop primarily for (but not inclusive of men) aspiring female comedians. It was started by another one of those stand-ups without wedding tackle, Linda Haggar. It's called Jeez Louise and it's generated a LOT of local talent. It is utterly supported, both financially and artistically by MICF.

Fact. Of the sixteen Barry Awards given, SEVEN of those have been awarded to chicks. Floozy's. Strumpets. Non-Blokes.

The dangerous territory you're getting in to here, assigning a ratio which, under a specific threshold you wont be satisfied is silly. Would you do that for any other industry? 

Comedy ain't boxing. There ain't weight divisions. It's not even like ballroom dancing. You don't have to do it with a gay partner who insists on leading. Comedy is an art form. If you're GOOD at it, it doesn't matter if you've got a wedding tackle or not. Comedy doesn't even care if you've got a pumpkin for a head. Louis CK. It doesn't matter if you've got an annoying personality. Ricky Gervais. It doesn't even matter if you've married your ex wife's adopted child fercrissakes. Woody Allen. Ok, I'll take that one back. That's icky. 

It's a numbers game. Let's say that in the whole world, there are 100 comedians. Probably only 10 of them will be women. It's just how it is. Exactly like plumbers. Chicks can do it, just not too many feel the urge to shove their arm up a muddy pipe. Like kindergarten teaching. Lotsa chicks, not so many dudes. You see what I mean? It's just a numbers game. 

Comedy should make you laugh. That's kinda it. Pretty simple job description when you get down to it. It doesn't matter if there's bumps in the front of the shirt below the face hole that's telling you the funny stuff. It just needs to be funny stuff coming out of that hole.

It's amazing when it's more than that. Sarah Silverman Sam Simmons It's brilliant when you're mouth is agape and your heart is pounding. Simon Munnery Miss Itchy. If you're lucky, it's transcendent escapism. Stewart Lee , Kristen Schaal. Or, it's simply beyond dick jokes. Reggie Watts. Doug Stanhope . Sarah Millican . Andy Zaltzman Josie Long  Steve Seagren Kristine Levine Sean Rouse... the list goes on. And then there is also, the dick jokers. (You know who you are.)

JFL are doing themselves a disservice to exclude the excellent comics they have to choose from. The same can NOT be said of MICF. To demand a higher percentage of wymmyn to fulfil some arbitrary ratio is just as silly when you've only got 10 plumbers in the game.

fahey younger. comedian. swear word aficionado. lady.