If there were ever a night to disprove the myth that women aren’t funny, it would have been last night (looking at you, ghost of Christopher Hitchens). While less politically inclined folks might expect it to have been a somewhat dry comedy night based on the name, this was instead a really fun and inviting event. A result of the combined organisational efforts of Alyce Wilson and Steven James Finch, this was a well planned event with an interesting cross-section of female comedic talent both amateur and experienced.
Alyce Wilson MC’d and organised the night while Steven James Finch’s experience creating inviting and warm spaces during Grr Nights seems to have come through, with an array of colourful pillows and lights creating a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere. It’s rare to have a comedy night with such a defined purpose – to address the near complete absence of female performers on the typical comedy bill. With so few women comedians, the lack of recognition amateur female talent gets perpetuates the myth of a male-led meritocracy.
Last night did a lot to combat that myth, with the mix of comedy newcomers and experienced performers really underlining the fact that being given small opportunities to gain experience in a welcoming space counts for so much. One such newcomer was Jasmine Meeking, who began the night with some pretty great stories of blazing swan hijinks and wilting peens. Jasmine was followed by Jamie Munslow-Davies, who gave a very polished performance of ukulele songs about dreams of sex with friends and mid-coitus nosebleeds that was indicative of her considerable experience as a performer.
Marnie Allen, whose name I would preface with “Ex Pelican Editor” if it weren’t for equally notable achievements in years since, had a similarly personal set with stories of childhood autism scares and high-school bullies. Camilla Boswell-Hyde shared an extremely loud and energetic powerpoint presentation about sugar addiction in a performance that was much more about her comedic persona. Lisa-Marie Cockerill on the other hand was clearly more of a storyteller, with a tale of the most impressive resignation I’ve ever heard. Lastly Sunili Govinnage, rejected from Raw Comedy on the basis of being “too high brow for Perth,” showed everyone that that’s actually a well-deserved compliment.
I also want to make mention of one other performer who wasn’t actually on the bill, but did a last-minute open mic set at the end which was all the more impressive for its spontaneity. Shosh Rosenberg gave what was easily the most darkly comedic set of the night, with a set of stories about hospital food, incomprehensible mental health workers and transitioning at 27. It was a great end to the night and I can only hope it’ll be repeated.
Too often, non-male folks aren’t given those first few opportunities to polish a comedy set in front of a receptive, welcoming and captive audience. I can only hope that nights like this can gain momentum and begin to rectify this.
Words By Hayden Dalziel