TYCI Trailblazers is our little corner of the internet that we colour with the celebration of women who have paved the way for our feminist role models of today. Each week, we look at the creative and cultural merits of these women and what they’ve brought to the world. For the second column in the series, we’re going to celebrate Joan Rivers. Love her or hate her – she blazed a trail.
Glasgow Comedy Festival starts today so, we’ve put together a few of our picks of the female comedians playing during the festival.
Abigoliah Schamaun – Subtle
New York comic Abigoliah Schamaun comes to Glasgow with a set of dirty jokes and a selection side-show stunts. See a comedian stick a needle through her own hand for you (but mostly her) entertainment. It’s all about the thighs and dick jokes, so most everyone will laugh but at least one person will faint. She is also releasing her first comedy album Girl Going to Hell in June.
TYCI talks to comedian Rosie Wilby about her latest show, Nineties Woman.
Tell us a bit about Nineties Woman.
It’s a really nostalgic and personal cheeky look back at my own introduction to feminism via archive photos, music and clips of filmed interviews with the collective of women who created the newspaper, Matrix, at York Uni in the early 1990s.
Tell us about Matrix. How did it come about? Why was it something you wanted to create?
It was a big broadsheet sized feminist student zine that seemed pretty radical at the time and always seemed to stir up controversy. We were seen as crazy dungaree wearing man haters. It had a sense of humour though with funny cartoons and satire in between the serious articles about body image, sexual harassment and rape.
The women who started it were a year or two above me and I was in awe of them a bit, so it’s been funny to track them down now and film interviews with them and meet them on completely different terms.
Jannica Honey talks to comedian Mary Bourke at her work and ideas on modern feminism.
‘Are you some kind of Marie Antoinette of stand-up comedy?’, I ask Irish comedian Mary Bourke as she opens a big green door and shows me into a large flat which belongs to Edinburgh comedy club The Stand.
She had asked me to bring cakes to the interview and not to be boring so I’m trying my best. I did get some cakes, but I’m still not sure if she was truly entertained by my chat about the Orange Lodge and blow jobs at an Eminem gig in Slane during our interview at her Edinburgh show back in September.
TYCI guest blogger David Kirkpatrick tells us why he loves comedienne Kathy Griffin.
Kathy Griffin doesn’t care if I don’t like her. She knows that not everyone will be a fan of her sledge-hammer honesty and her vast vocabulary of vulgar vernacular. The fact is, she’s been banned, axed, asked to leave and uninvited from so many programmes, events, parties and talk shows that one person’s dislike barely registers with her. This is why I heart Kathy Griffin. She makes no compromises, even when it’s clear for all to see that it’s in her best interest to tone down her vitriolic brand of comedy or not to say anything at all. But, of course, she does say something and she gets fired / banned / asked not to come back. It could be construed as fool hardy but I see a defiant bravery in the way she speaks her mind and lives with the consequences, both good and bad. She doesn’t sugar coat and she doesn’t expect anyone else to either being the first person to poke fun at the pitfalls and car crashes of her own life, of which there are many.
Cathryn Hanley debunks some of the myths surrounding women in comedy.
In the past decade, thanks to lady comic greats like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Catherine Tate, and Kristen Wiig, women have finally pushed to the front ranks of what has long been the Old Boy’s Club of comedy. However, there is still the commonly held belief that women, for purported biological or social reasons, simply aren’t as funny as men. I sat down with three friends of mine involved in the New York improv and sketch comedy scene and chat about their experience and perspective as ladies in comedy.
Imogen Marcus interviews physical performer and writer Claudia Jeffries about her new show Jewel.
Claudia Jeffries is currently in Edinburgh performing Jewel, a devised one-woman physical theatre show that brilliantly sends up the absurdities of high-glitz beauty pageant culture in the U.S. It follows a mother, daughter and grandmother who’ve made it to the final of the Five States Inter-generational Crystal Perfection Pageant and are now competing for the prize. These women inhabit a surreal world where, as Jeffries’s describes it, “clown make-up, sleeping with your eyes open and getting possessed by a giant interpretive prawn is the norm”.
Today’s International Woman of the Day is Lisa Simpson, as chosen by Maria Moore.
I may not have realised it back when 6pm meant Simpsons-time, but Lisa Simpson was a brilliant role model. A friend and I were talking about it the other day – how lucky we were to grow up with her. I don’t think we knew at the time what an important influence this particular vegetarian feminist activist would be in our lives. As someone who spent most of my childhood reading, I obviously identified with her bookish ways and loved her for it, but there is so much more to her than just books… It is her thirst for knowledge, determination, and her all-important conviction that there is more to being a girl than sitting quietly and looking pretty that make her such a significant figure.
Jane Scullion chooses Julia Davis as her International Woman of the Day – and here’s why.