Women and the ownership of comedy, Bad Assery, NYC

Diana Chan
The Comedy Local

Saturday night at Littlefield included more stand up sets and two sketch groups. With Leah Rudnick’s wild-eyed mania and Katie Hartman’s devoted theatrics, absurdist sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting introduced us to every variety of “selfie” under the sun, including the “Adelphi,” a selfie in front of Adelphi University. Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting also took us to “Bitch Camp,” and gave us a wacky Southern drama that ended in violence and of course, incest.

Next, sketch group and sweetest pair of best friends Hot Mess Moves, featuring UCB veterans Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman, presented filmed sketches and stories of their adolescent past and their comedy struggles. One story illuminated the inequality of the comedy world.  A few years ago, a male friend of theirs unzipped his pants in a bar and pulled out his dick – prompting laughter from their group of friends. As a comedian, the natural instinct is that if it’s funny, do it again. Skidmore attempted the same stunt, but her vagina was met with silence and discomfort instead. What we’re left with is a man who can use his nudity for humor, but when a woman attempts the same, her audience won’t grant her the appropriate response because it’s considered crass and unacceptable. Women are sexualized all the time without their consent – that isn’t going to go away anytime soon. But the story showed that there are people who feel uncomfortable seeing a woman take ownership of her sexuality, and it’s microaggressions like these that continue to oppress women.

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Saturday ended with stand up from Naomi Karavani and Ophira Eisenberg. Naomi’s hilarious joke about being so hormonal while pregnant that she wanted to kill someone – and she did, her fetus – was met with uproarious laughter and one unhappy man who had the nerve to tell her that the joke wouldn’t have done well in Indiana. Listen, if there’s anywhere a pro-rights man wouldn’t feel welcomed, it would be at Bad Assery.

Ophira told of being so in love with a man who rejected her that she took to seeing a Haitian witch doctor to try and get him back. In the end, she got the last laugh – he actually did end up asking her back years later, but she had finally moved forward and could appreciate herself without him.

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Conference co-founder Shaina Stigler

The first Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference, March 28-29 2015, was launched to bring women together to showcase the comedy of women, and talk about defeating sexism in the industry.

Diana Chan is a writer from Southern California.  She is constantly thinking about her next meal or Beyoncé.  Follow her on twitter @hidianachan for exciting and devastating tweets.

Related essays by Diana Chan:
Beating sexism in comedy, thoughts on Bad Assery, NYC
Women in comedy sharing a vision, Bad Assery, NYC

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The Comedy Local

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