(TweetDeck is still functional)
We all take pictures of ourselves drinking with straws.
Something I heard tonight from someone I really like and respect in the improv community hurt me a lot. This person that I consider almost a friend (well, we know each other, but it hasn’t been long enough to call it “friendship” but I respect him a lot as a person and an improviser) told me that he never felt different. To be precise, he said he never “suffered” from not being a white dude in his 20s. Just to be clear, he is not. That’s his choice and I will never judge him for that, but personally, as an unusually tall Asian-European woman, I cannot disagree more.
I have been used to thrive on being different, or at least to recognize it over and over again. I have no choice - I have ALWAYS been different. I never denied it, I’ve never negated myself. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. I’m too tall, and too vocal for that. I feel like refusing to acknowledging these differences is the equivalent of the fundamental improv negation - negating who you are. I am not saying you need to yell in people’s face and keep saying “Hey, have you seen me, I’m different.” What I’m saying is that I, for one, have never had a choice - as an Asian-European woman, I AM different. No matter where I go, no mater where I live, no matter what I do.
Today, in my comedy life, it is obvious that my skin color is not the same as most kids who do improv, I am older, and I am a woman. I am not going to negate any of this - it’s a reality I live in, we ALL live in. I will not say that I am comfortable being in class with 11 other dudes (whereas we only have 5 girls in a class of 16 - less than 1/3). I am not going to say that I am comfortable when I go to Harold Night and see mostly dudes on stage, or when I go to the Magnet or the PIT and most performers are men. Hell, I don’t even identify with their references.
Maybe as Will Hines says, there is no difference between the way men are funny, and the way women are funny. But it sure feels like there’s a difference between the way women are viewed in the comedy / improv world and the way men are viewed in this world.
This whole conversation (well, it was a very one sided one because my new friend didn’t want to expand upon it) came from the fact that apparently March is Women History Month (I didn’t know until today), and there are shows out there this weekend where among the many teams performing, there are only a minority of women.
If someone tells me that women are not a minority after this, then it’s not in good faith. We ARE a minority in the world of comedy, even when it’s our time to shine. If we keep ignoring the elephant / 800 lbs gorilla in the room, things will NOT change. So I am putting it out there. Let’s change this. Together. Improv is a community based on support. Who’s with me?
I’m a woman, I want to be a woman improviser. I don’t want to improvise “like a man”. I don’t want people to suck my d** because I don’t have one. That’s all.
(EDITED 2 hours later: I just realized that Shannon O’Neill has a column on G.L.O.C. called Suck My D** - what I say above has nothing to do with her column. I LOVE Shannon; she’s an amazing improviser and teacher, and from what I know she seems kind and caring. This was in reference to some people who told me recently that if women want more stage time, they need to “improvise like men” - I have NO IDEA what it means, and it pissed me off!!)
We raised $1800 during our Kettle of Fish - Benefit for Japan show. I would say that it was a RESOUNDING success! We had a full room, with people standing in the back in the basement of the Triple Crown. There was a long line before the show for people to purchase tickets and they DID. I never thought we would raise that much money! THANK YOU for donating items to be raffled / auctioned, for purchasing raffle tickets and for bidding on all those items. If you donated money and left your address, the Japan Society will soon send you a tax rebate paper.
As the producer of the show, I want to extend a special thanks to the following:
- My team Jeff Fahey is Tron, Matt Braunsdorf, Bridget Araujo, Casey Cline and Stephanie Streisand for their enthusiasm, and for doing a GREAT job at the show! Everybody managed their part so beautifully and we all made this event a HUGE success! Also, at some point during our set, they pinned me down on the floor and farted in my mouth. Yes, this happened and I want to thank them for it! This is how much I trust them… I’ll let them do anything to me!
- Kirk Damato for being a friend, and an amazing human being… and for being SO FUNNY! His help was instrumental in making this whole thing happen. Also he brought a MONKEY back for me from Japan. I LOVE MONKEYS!
- Thank You, Robot (Jeremy Bent, Seth Lind, Matt Little, Chris Scott, & John Robert Wilson) for being a great team, and pretty amazing individuals. They all not only donated a lot but also purchased a lot through the auction / raffle. They also had an amazing set (not surprisingly because they are just one of the best teams out there; period).
- Squirt! (Pat Baer, Corey Brown, Anna Callegari, Bethany Hall, Austin Rodrigues, Sue Smith, & Douglas Widick) For donating so much and for their support. That was their THIRD show EVER and they rocked it!
- The Triple Crown for basically letting us do whatever we want and assisting us in it (they also donated a bar tab).
- The Mannequin Room (Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, Caroline Sweet, Brian Urreta, & Megan Venzin), for their unwavering support.
- My teammates from Schmukler Twins who are always ALWAYS here to help and support and are the most generous ladies I know.
You can find the full list of people who donated something to raffle / auction here (scroll down to the final list). If you know them, thank them for their generosity and give them a hug or something more (Yeah, you know what I mean) - they deserve all the love!
If you want to donate to help Japan, these two organizations (among many others, but these are the ones we were in contact with) currently have funds earmarked to Japan and are fast in distributing 100% of the proceeds: