This weekend, Portland hosts the second annual All Jane No Dick Comedy Festival. The showcase was created to highlight the work of women comics in an industry that is still dominated by men. By some estimates 80 percent of comedy festival performers are men, and the ratio is similarly unbalanced in the writers’ rooms for TV sitcoms and late-night comedy shows.
Stacey Hallal, the creator of All Jane No Dick, says she often sees stand-up bills with eight men and only one woman because there’s a general assumption in the comedy industry that “you can’t put two women in one show.” She says the people booking those showcases assume all women comics are basically the same.
Cameron Esposito, an L.A. comedian who will be at All Jane No Dick this year, performed last year at the festival as well. She says the festival doesn’t set up a dynamic of “men versus women.” The problem, Esposito says, isn’t that men are keeping women out of comedy, “women aren’t doing comedy, because they don’t think they can do it,” because there are relatively few examples. “I think what’s great about this festival is it’s like ‘Here’s all these women doing it.’”
- Stacey Hallal: Creator of the All Jane No Dick Comedy Festival and artistic director of Curious Comedy Theater
- Whitney Streed: Host and producer of the Weekly Recurring Humor Night every Wednesday at the Tonic Lounge in Portland
- Virginia Jones: Stand-up comic working in Los Angeles