[What a weird article. It’s an autobiographical San Francisco fairytale, admonishing the city for its open mic scene (and mediocre pizza). The weirdness is that this article is nestled betwixt a feature of Whoopi Goldberg’s new webseries and announcement for Eugene Mirman’s eponymous festival. This seems more suited for Livejournal; its hyperbolic vitriol is akin to a Frank Miller character’s inner monologue.
The overall premise contains an ulterior motive, infatuation, tinging most of the tale with a monomythic failure. This is about a man raging and fighting for himself. Claire, the comedian of the writer’s fancy, has no say, no agency. Rude comics acted against her, the narrator acted for her, and, by the anecdote’s end, she’s been damseled, the prize of some dude.
Also, this brings up one of my newly-surfaced pet peeves: whiteknighting, especially in comedy scenes. Should women feel safe in their artistic pursuits? Yeah, of course. Should everyone in comedy make an effort to stand for their conviction against assholes. Absolutely. Still, it’s sometimes condescending to support another artist while ignoring your own privilege. It’s problematic to selectively console comrades in an attempt to be a “nice guy”. “Hang in there” makes it seem like you don’t think they will.
Perchance I’m looking too closely, too critically. Maybe comedy was a backdrop to a simple boy-meets-girl, but then I read this in the article’s conclusion:
Comedy isn’t a boys club; it’s the great equalizer of the arts. Comics aren’t the bullies, they’re the underdogs; we are the have-nots, the downtrodden, the harlequin philosophers; we think. Orientation, race or sex have nothing to do with talent or drive, and just respecting someone on a human level. Women are more than tits and perfume; sometimes they have things to say and stuff…
I didn’t get that sentiment at all from this piece. Confronting shitty comedians and patting oneself on the back for not cracking heads doesn’t feel like the solution to patriarchal bullshit, which often dims creativity’s bulb. It would have been interesting to hear why a group of Sacramento comedians came down to San Francisco in the first place; the sociocultural implications of a 80+ mile thirst for stage time. It would be interesting to hear how the author produces shows, how he champions divergent voices, styles and walks of life. It would be interesting to see a complimentary piece; what did Claire go to San Francisco for, what was she expecting, how does she feel when confronted by misogyny in comedy? Ultimately, I wonder how will things get better. With vigilantism or construction? With a match and gasoline or with a hammer and nails?]
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