Ladies Are Funny Festival: Are ladies ... funny? Girls Girls Girls insist, 'Yes, yes, yes.'
The second round of the comedy fest spotlighting women adds sketch, stand-up, and more
Of course, ladies are funny. If they're comedians and they're good at what they do, ladies are funnier than Christopher Hitchens in a tutu. Easily. And, sure, the idea of Ballerina-Drag Hitchens (now with matching accessories, from Hasbro!) may be comedy gold, but there are women out there who are comedy plutonium, who will drop such a heavy laugh-bomb on your ass, you'll be known as Ground-Zero Pants for years to come.
There are plenty of these funny women in Austin, even. Several of them are in the improv group Girls Girls Girls, the XX-chromosomed cabal responsible for the Ladies Are Funny Festival, which is taking over the Hideout Downtown this weekend. But, listen, it's not just local women who will be staging their humorous best for your laughter and applause; the LAFF brings women in from all across the country, so you don't have to travel to New York or Boston, say, to see some of what's offered up there. Because, the point is, it's here.
But who comes up with this shit in the first place?
"It organically happened accidentally," says Julie Lucas.
"It did accidentally organically happen accidentally," agrees fellow trouper Kacey Samiee.
"We had a group of ladies – SuperOvum, from Tulsa [Okla.] – who were going to come and do a show with us," says Andrea Young, "and then it turned into, 'Hey, let's make a festival happen!'"
"There were all-women comedy festivals in Chicago and New York that don't happen anymore," says Mo Daviau, "and we felt that Austin needed one."
"This is our sophomore year," says Shana Merlin, "and it's bigger and better than last year. We did a national call for submissions and got more than 20 applications, even though we only have eight or so slots, so we had to turn people away."
And what's the farthest away performers are coming from?
"New York," say Merlin and Samiee.
"Chapel Hill [N.C.]," says Madeline Malka. "Tempe, Arizona."
"Houston," suggests Daviau.
The Girls (Girls Girls) laugh, delighted.
Is there a more lovely sound than a group of women laughing in delight? That's a question that falls into the subset called "rhetorical." Girls Girls Girls fall into the subset called "improv," and they stretch that form by doing impromptu musicals based on audience suggestions, but that's not the only sort of funny at LAFF.
"Thursday night is a full stand-up night," says Young. "That's new this year. After that, it's mostly improv, because, since we're an improv group, our tastes tend to run that way. But there are a few sketch acts, too."
"The Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, from Brooklyn," says Samiee. "They're sketch."
"And we've got some monologues," says Lucas. "We've got The Dick Monologues on Saturday."
"We've got a discussion panel on Women in Comedy that afternoon, too," says Daviau.
"Yeah," says Merlin, grinning, "we've got a bit of everything this year."
Yeah, they do, these female improvisers and their annual festival. And much of it will be funny. Because, you know, ladies are.