I’ve been doing stand up comedy a lot in the SF bay area, and I found that a huge amount of my favorite comedians there are women (no shock) who aren’t yet famous (shock, everyone should give everyone I enjoy all their attention and money, IMO). Not everyone’s on youtube, and not all of my favorite jokes are up there, either, but if you have a chance to see these women, I’d urge you to take it. If you’re not in the Bay Area, they tour.
Assume all links are NSFW.
Luwa Tosin has her own tumblr, so I’ll let her speak for herself- http://spkn.tumblr.com/
Karinda Dobbins’ comedy is a lot about her career, her love life, and her daughter. I would say that she is a feminist and anti-racist comic. She opened for the Totally Biased tour in SF, and for both (?) of W. Kamau Bell’s independent sets there. Kamau openly admitted that he was urging her to send him a set tape so that he could get her onto Totally Biased. It’s because she’s amazing. She made a really good joke about the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Her fan page is here: https://www.facebook.com/KarindaDobbinsComedy
Her Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/KarindaDobbins
A Joke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY12j09VHr0
Caitlin Gill’s comedy is about her awkwardness as a human being. She opened for Hari Kondabolu’s album recording set. The first time I saw her was at Sundays at the Punchline. She jokes a lot about sex and relationships. I would say that she is also feminist and anti-racist. She is amazing and her career is about to take a big jump. My favorite joke of hers is about pillow talk.
Her page: https://www.facebook.com/caitlingill
A Joke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af_C8BLiij4
Sandra M Risser is an older woman who’s comedy is about how she’s old and still fucks. She is a BAMF. I would say that she’s a feminist comic. She is often at the Punchline and I see her at open mics all over.
Her page: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.ris…location=stream
Her Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/smrisser
A Joke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgjalmDgiyQ
Molly Sanchez is fucking amazing, and I am jealous of her talent and skill. She’s an up and comer. I would say she is a feminist and antiracist. She has several different sets, mostly about having and using a vagina.
Her Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollySanchezComedian?fref=ts
Her Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa…c3tD0ebFrIg0SoQ
A Joke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ose-oZrfyY8
Charlie Jane Anders is a trip, man. She’s not ever a comedian, she is a humorist. She runs a spoken word night once a month and her intros are bizarre and fanciful and she loves tiny people and I keep forgetting to tell her to read 1Q84. She is a founder of iO9. I would say she is a feminist.
Her Page: https://www.facebook.com/CharlieJan…FanPage?fref=ts
A Joke (kinda): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beHV4oQ_RrI
Pam Benjamin runs Pamtastic’s Komedy Klubhouse on Mutiny Radio, she is a stand up comic, super adorable, and super encouraging of other comics, no matter what. I would say that she’s not a feminist or antiracist. She’s currently on tour on the west coast. Her jokes are about weird sexual fetishes and growing up as a Catholic cheerleader. Her open mic night is one of my favorites. She is also a poet and someone allows her to watch their children.
Her Page: https://www.facebook.com/pam.benjamin.581
A Joke: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDr66AZUmXo
These women are the ones running in the same circles as me and using different coping mechanisms to deal with people’s reaction towards them as women in a “man’s game.” Karinda, Caitlin and Charlie, I don’t know too well personally. They are gracious and kind to their fans. They also give out some good advice about getting ahead in the industry. Molly is the sort of person who everyone wants to be friends with- she is bubbly and quick to laugh. I think she’s dealing with the sexism in comedy by showing people that she’s good at it. She is, too. Risser rolls her eyes at men comics when they’re making asses of themselves, and brings up people’s dismissal of her on the stage. Pam is taking the “just one of the guys” approach, is publicly critical of feminism, and gets a lot of dick pics shown to her. In line to sign up for a mic, a dude once showed her a vine of himself ejaculating! Wow!
Men comedians do often attempt to prey on new women comedians, and also try to out women they thing might be trans*. They will also make deeply racist jokes. There are probably women who do the same thing around here, but I haven’t encountered them, yet. Men comedians hamper the efforts of women comedians by not offering criticism after sets- it’s difficult to know what worked and what didn’t and why if you are offered no criticism. Men comics tend to just gush over me and other women comics in a pretty transparent attempt to get laid. That being said, the only person in the business to give me immediate and clear criticism is Tony Sparks, who is my comedy security blanket. He also lets women sign up first for his mic at the Brainwash and makes sure the crowd is super receptive of new comics.
A disturbing trend I’ve noticed is men comics using their stage time to unbalance women, PoC, trans*, and other othered peoples. I have seen comics get on stage and try to out the next comic as trans*, make their whole set about how inferior the race of the next comic is, or purposefully set up the next (new) comic so that they can make them the butt a racist joke. These people are tolerated and even encouraged by straight, white, cismen comics. Othered peoples usually just walk out before their sets start.
Like most male-dominated activities, comedy is steeped deep in sexism. Like most white-dominated activities, it’s also steeped in racism. Those with privilege in the industry tend to excuse racism and sexism as “just jokes,” which is bizarre considering that they make a living on what is basically public speaking. Comedy is also super political. There is a lot to be said for the ability to let off steam through humor, and a majority of the women comics and PoC I’ve met use it to call out sexism, racism, and other -isms. It’s amazing how clever comedy can be when it’s not relying on stereotypes to make the jokes for you.