This week as part of FemFest 2016 ComedySoc put on their annual women’s show. I was both nervous and excited going into the evening – would this prove once and for all that women were unfunny? Would my hangover finally defeat me and lead to me running out to vomit mid-show? I shouldn’t have worried – VBar drinks never fail to set me right.
The show’s host, Mary O’Connell, completely owned the stage from the very beginning. As a BME, LGBTQ and female student, Mary has a lot to overcome to be accepted on the comedy circuit, and her anecdotes about her experiences with male comedians were both hilarious and telling about the situation for female comedians. Oppression is her fuel, but she’d also really like y’all to stop. Mary was easily my favourite act of the night, and I hope that ComedySoc continue to showcase her even when it isn’t a women’s only show.
Next on stage was Eleanor Mason. When it comes to female equality issues, you either laugh or you cry, and quite frankly I was leaning more towards crying during this stand up. Eleanor faced some technical issues during her set, in which she listened to songs about girls and awkwardly interjected with comments like ‘you can’t say no – unless they’re asking for STEM jobs and pay rises’ or ‘girls run the world? They really don’t.’ Luckily for Eleanor, the audience was far kinder than I am, and seemed to enjoy the set.
The next two acts, Caitlin Powell and Annis Stead, were absolutely fantastic. Caitlin Powell had me in stitches about ‘social misogyny’ being a ‘gateway drug to chinos,’ and her confidence on the stage really showed. Annis Stead moved away from the classic patriarchy jokes, instead opting for talking about how she felt old (after having turned the ripe old age of 25). As a boring third year student who prefers to spend her money on takeaways and toilet paper that isn’t one-ply (treat yoself!) the set felt thoroughly relatable, and the audience agreed. My only issue with Annis was that she wasn’t on stage for long enough – I could have happily listened to her all night.
After a short break where VBar once again saved me, the night moved on to the sketches. The sketches improved vastly as they went on after an awkward start, but overall the audience was impressed. The sketches flowed smoothly, and the writing was good, but one or two of the sketches definitely could have used some more work (or just been cut out). Particular favourites included the Charles Dickens sketch and targeted advertising, although I couldn’t help but feel that the night included too much dancing.
At the end of the night I wasn’t really sure how to feel about the evening – the talent was definitely there, and I was happy that so many fantastic women were getting the opportunity to work together, but I felt that it wasn’t as well rehearsed as other ComedySoc shows have been in the past. The lecture theatre felt full and the audience were incredibly kind which meant that the night was proved a lot funnier than it should have been. As we left it was revealed that three out of the seven writers for the evening were actually male, and the leaving song of choice was 'All About That Bass' – that incredible feminist anthem. At least it wasn’t 'Blurred Lines.'