Do Women Rule The Austin Comedy Scene?
Two things you need to know about Kat Ramzinski:
Just those two facts together make for a particularly interesting existence – often in the Chinese-curse sense of the term. You operate in this society, yourself; you partake of its cultural abundance, its relentless and relentlessly entertaining media diversions, so I'm sure you know what I mean.
Let me tell you about something else that's interesting – but in the "Oh, really? Cool!" sense of the term. Let me tell you what Ramzinski recently told me after she'd done a bit of research …
"Two years ago," says Ramzinski, "SXSW Comedy got some attacks from the Huffington Post and Jezebel, for not booking enough women and for 'hating women.' But in reality, the Boston-based Women in Comedy Festival paralleled SXSW, thus preventing a typically strong feminine presence on the Austin bill. As a comic, I know this makes sense and is totally fair, but SXSW still caught a lot of flack for it – unjustly, in my opinion. And then, last year, there was the whole 'Are women really funny?' argument, due to nasty comments from Eddie Brill, Adam Carolla, and various other male celebrities."
Ramzinski shakes her head.
"You know?" she says. "It seems like every couple of months the question arises: 'Are women funny?' Or 'Where all the women at?!'"
Ramzinski rolls her eyes – and, believe me, she's got that eye-rolling thing down to an art.
"Then," says the comedian, "a friend visited me from out of town. He's a comic, and he made the comment to me, 'Wow, so the lady comics pretty much have this scene on lockdown huh?' And I was taken aback, because I didn't think so. But then I really thought about it … and I realized that, yeah, we fucking do."
So Ramzinski sat down and made a list of comedy open mics and shows, and of the various people who book comedy in this town.
"Out of about ten weekly shows," she says, "women run seven of them. Out of all of the monthly shows, only, like, two are run by men. All of the bookers in town, other than Velveeta Room Saturdays, are women – for every venue, it seems. So here's the list. It just goes to show that, the next time anyone tries to say women aren't funny or aren't getting enough work, they can kiss Austin's ass. Because, for the first time since I started in this scene, women finally rule. If anything, you can share my joy in this discovery!"
Here, as Ramzinski says, see for yourself what's run by women in this town …
Lashonda Lester: True Hollywood Tales (multiple seasons, monthly at Salvage Vanguard Theater); Kat Ramzinski: Chillin' (Fridays at the Velveeta Room); Katie Pengra: Late Slots (Fridays at the Velveeta Room); Kath Barbadoro: Clubhouse (Mondays at The New Movement); Ashley Barnhill: Bangers Show! (monthly at Bangers Sausage & Beer Garden); Maggie Maye: Schtick Open Mic (Mondays at ColdTowne); Kelly Stone/Natalie Cox: Hot Mess Show (at Bar One 41 in San Marcos); Holly Lorka: monthly show at the North Door; Roxxy Castillo: Crapshoot Improvised Comedy (Fridays at The Institution Theatre); Shana Merlin of Merlin Works: Improv at Zach Theatre; Alex Berry, booking The New Movement; Kerri Lendo, booking the Ladies Are Funny Festival and running Gnap!'s No Shame Theatre; Quinn Cannady of 247 Comedy Radio; Danielle Sweet, booking the open mic at Cap City Comedy Club; Margie Coyle and Chandy Popp, managing Cap City Comedy Club; Lietza Brass, booking the Paramount Theatre.
You can see Ramzinski's got a point, right?
A point and a regular show among all the other women-run shows in Austin.
Now go out and see you some comedy, you lucky citizen, you.
Editor's Note: Let's not fail to mention that, although they don't feature stand-up or improv, the popular weekly sketches of Esther Follies are run by (and feature!) the lovely and hilarious Shannon Sedwick.