It’s hard to deny that the comedy world is still male dominated, with women severely underrepresented in both visible comedy roles and writers’ rooms. It doesn’t help when you have situations like we had back in November, when The Late Late Show initially didn’t announce a single female guest host (remember Sara Schaefer’s awesome reaction to that)? Only an idiot would argue that women can’t be as funny as men, so why does the industry still feel so lacking in inclusivity? Comics Natalie Wall and Shaina Stigler are hoping to find out with Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference, which is taking place on March 27-29. We chatted with the pair to find out more about the event—you can find the full schedule of panels, lectures and shows (possibly subject to a few changes) at the end of this piece. And if reading it puts you in the mood to watch some funny women, check out this video of Time Out New York’s Women of Comedy 2014 show!
What’s the aim of the conference?
Natalie Wall: There's a lot of different objectives, really. We want to steer the conversation away from Us vs. Them. We want to create a mental and physical space for women to call their own. And we want women to live as the badass babes that they are.
Shaina Stigler: We as women, especially in this industry, have become really good at adapting and relating to ourselves through the male perspective, because that's what gets you jobs. But we aren't victims here, we’re every bit as powerful as our male counterparts and it's time for us to define what it means to be a woman in the comedy world. And then live that!
What inspired you to put this thing together?
NW: Shaina and I saw that there was no such conference. We knew if we wanted it to happen, then we should just create it. And, well, we did.
SS: It’s the perfect example of what we want the outcome of this conference to be. If you don't see that it exists, make it!
Are dudes welcome?
NW: Fuck yeah! This conference is for EVERYONE to watch, but only babes shall be performing.
SS: We love our men, and have received SO much support from our allies, which is really encouraging.
What’s your definition of bad assery?
NW: Bad assery is a way of life: It's waking up in the morning and working your ass off to get exactly where you want to be.
SS: It's also about empowerment. In being a bad ass you enable and encourage other hibernating bad asses to rise up and live their bad assery! BOOM!
Full schedule for Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference, March 27-29
Friday evening, Littlefield
5:00-6:30: Happy Hour/ Meet and Greet mixer
6:30-7:00- Kick-off! Introductory speech from Shaina Stigler and Natalie Wall)
7:00-8:00: Ladies First, a celebration of extraordinary women. Through silly storytelling and song, the wildly talented Kristin Dausch guides you along a timeline highlighting badass women in America's history.)
8:00-9:30: Stand-up performances from the brilliant Michelle Wolf, Aparna Nancherla and Sabrina Jalees.
Saturday afternoon, The Bell House
1:00-2:00: Panel: Other Side of the Table, hosted by Katie Kester
2:00-3:00: Panel: An Uncomfortable Conversation about Feminism, hosted by Keisha Zollar
3:00-4:00: Panel: Musical Comedy* hosted by Camille Harris
*working title for panel
4:00-5:00: Panel: Breaking Out* hosted by Brooke Van Poppelen
*working title for panel
Saturday evening, Littlefield
7:00-8:00: Stand-up performances from Marina Franklin, Esther Ku and Amber Nelson
8:00-8:30: Sketch performances from Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting
8:30-9:00: Sketch performances from Hot Mess Moves
9:00-10:00: Stand-up performance Ophira Eisenberg
Sunday afternoon, ?What If! Innovation offices
12:30- 3:30: Hybrid think-tank with the help of ?What If! Innovation to help create active equality for women in the comedy industry (women-only event)
Sunday evening, The Bell House
6:00-7:00: Live taping of the podcast "Sorry About Last Night" with Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher
7:00-8:00: Rebecca Vigil and Kaila Mullady (Music/ BeatBoxing), Jo Firestone (Concept Comedy), Jess Delfino (Musical Comedy), Jillian Green (Performance Art)
8:00-9:00: Musical performances from Adira Amram, Camille Harris and Reformed Whores
9:00-10:00: Charla Lauriston and Brooke Van Poppelen (Standup) / Hosted by Giuilia Rozzi
10:00-10:30: Judy Gold performs and closes the conference!