Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bonus Feature: Cristina Markham - Inside SheDot And The "Women Aren't Funny" Theory

Think women aren’t funny? Then you don’t know the right ones…
by Cristina Markham

Introducing Cristina Markham:
Cristina Markham is an amateur comedian who dislikes the word “comedienne.” You can catch her at various open mics around the city, and as part of Absolute Comedy’s amateur showcase on May 21st. Follow her on Twitter at @cristinamarkham for mediocre jokes and pictures of epic brunches.

I have been a comedy nerd as long as I can remember. Instead of keeping up with the Top 40 like any normal teenage girl, I obsessively listened to a weekly comedy show on the radio, recording my favourite episodes and memorizing my favourite bits. I may not remember my times tables, but I know just about every word to Steve Martin’s “Comedy isn’t pretty.”

After nearly three decades of voraciously consuming every form of standup I could get my hands on – and foisting the best of it on ever-patient friends – it only made sense for me to finally try my hand at it myself. Thanks to the expert tutelage of Dawn Whitwell and her “Comedy Girl” classes – a course taught out of Toronto’s “Comedy Bar” that teaches gals how to put together their own 5-minute set – I finally got the nerve to take the stage myself.  One year and several dozen sets later, I am still totally enthralled with the world of stand-up.

I am blessed to have a partner who is supportive of my weird hobby. A few weeks ago, he made an interesting comment. “That show was great,” he said. “But why were you the only woman who performed?” He had seen me perform at so many female comedy events that he hadn’t realized just how male-dominated the field can be.

And that’s why I am so very thrilled that Toronto is hosting the She Dot festival. There are so many clever, funny, witty, hilarious women making the rounds and paying their dues at the open mics around the city, fighting against the stereotypes that “women just aren't that funny,” and the undeniable fact that comedy – through no one’s fault – really is a boy’s club.

So for this week, let’s have a girl’s club. Boys are allowed…just not on stage.

  • SHEDOT TDOT (Thursday May 1stLocal talent at its best.  Come meet the funniest ladies of the 416.
  • COMEDY GIRL WORKSHOP (Saturday May 3rd) Convinced you’ve got what it takes to take the mic? Let comedy guru Dawn Whitwell show you how it’s done…and help add to her army of female comedians taking this city by storm.
  • SHE MOM (Saturday May 3rdYou know those embarrassing and hilarious stories your mother tells about you as a kid? Ok, now imagine she was a professional comedian.

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