‘I felt a duty to speak up’: the female comic who opened for Louis CK

The standup continued his contentious comeback in Paris – presenting a dilemma for the woman asked to gig with himBeing asked to open for a famous comic is every struggling standup comedian’s dream. A chance to be seen, to get a foot in the door. But w…

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Camilla Cleese on her dad John: ‘He’s not my favourite Python!’

The comedian is doing a show about her father in Edinburgh. She talks about the sexist LA standup scene, her reconciliation with her dad – and doing jokes about his ex-wives

With just a hint of a smile, Camilla Cleese admits that the name of her Edinburgh fringe show is “the ultimate, shameless nepotism”. It’s called Produced by John Cleese, even though it isn’t produced by him at all. But she is. “I don’t think he would put money into something as un-lucrative as this,” says the daughter of the comedy legend, “unless it was a marriage”.

Camilla barely mentioned the connection in her first Edinburgh show, back in 2014, except for some jokes at the expense of her father’s many – and often expensive – marriages. But this time around, more confident and more experienced, she’s embracing her heritage. “I want to talk a little bit about being his daughter but, because I’m not doing a full hour, I don’t really have the time to delve into all the different aspects. So it will be a combination of that and some of my standup. For people who are familiar with him and his work, it’s clear where my influences come from. I can blame anything offensive on him.”

If I misbehaved, he’d act like a gorilla, going on all fours. I’d be so embarrassed, I’d immediately shut up

If you’re asked to go on the road with a male headliner, there can be an assumption something is going to happen

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Where are the women of comedy a year after #MeToo?

We’re almost one year removed from the first wave of mainstream media attention toward the underreported and overlooked mistreatment of women in all walks of life (but particularly in comedy and show business, as Tig Notaro’s second season of One Mississippi shone a spotlight on the harsh realities women face all-too-often). As #MeToo begat #TimesUp, […]

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Katy Brand: ‘We don’t want to replace men – we just want equal airtime’

The actor and comedian explains how her debut play, 3Women, captures the age divide within feminism – and the defiance of the #MeToo era

I recently gave a talk at a girls’ high school. I mention this not only because I am a virtue-signalling monster but also because one of the young women asked something that brought me up short: “How should we react, as young feminists, to older women who don’t seem to support us?”

I sat there and goldfished for a moment, keenly aware that these freshly minted teenage minds sat among their esteemed “older women” teachers. But this is one of the issues I have been grappling with in my debut play, 3Women, which is about three generations of the same family, aged 18, 40, and 65. They come together in an increasingly claustrophobic hotel suite the night before a wedding, ostensibly to enjoy some family bonding time. As more wine is ordered and drunk, the gloves come off, and there are old scores to settle.

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Katy Brand: ‘We don’t want to replace men – we just want equal airtime’

The actor and comedian explains how her debut play, 3Women, captures the age divide within feminism – and the defiance of the #MeToo era

I recently gave a talk at a girls’ high school. I mention this not only because I am a virtue-signalling monster but also because one of the young women asked something that brought me up short: “How should we react, as young feminists, to older women who don’t seem to support us?”

I sat there and goldfished for a moment, keenly aware that these freshly minted teenage minds sat among their esteemed “older women” teachers. But this is one of the issues I have been grappling with in my debut play, 3Women, which is about three generations of the same family, aged 18, 40, and 65. They come together in an increasingly claustrophobic hotel suite the night before a wedding, ostensibly to enjoy some family bonding time. As more wine is ordered and drunk, the gloves come off, and there are old scores to settle.

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A Tour of the All-Women Comedy Shows of Los Angeles

Women in comedy are often seen as solitary creatures, like mountain lions or that bird that fell in love with a statue. Female comics are isolated from each other on bookings and can view each other as competition in the green room. “When I started comedy, there was always only one woman on the show,” […]

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Adult Swim ad seeks “Sexy Female” for comedy special

Who says there aren’t opportunities for women in comedy on Adult Swim? A Craigslist ad appeared today offering $443 per day for a “SEXY FEMALE” with SAG-AFTRA union card between the ages of 25-55, “any ethnicity,” who’s willing to wear “bondage attire” and walk “a man on a leash like a dog” for an untitled […]

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Lydia Towsey: how I discovered the Venus in me

From Botticelli to glossy magazines, women have been idealised and misrepresented for centuries. Performance poet Lydia Towsey reveals how her own near-fatal eating disorder set her on a path to explore new ways of looking at female bodies

Botticelli’s painting of the Birth of Venus was the first female nude painted and exhibited life size, and in many ways the medieval blueprint for every covergirl to come. It was about the birth of beauty, sexuality and glamour. But what would happen if, instead of washing up on an ancient Cypriot beach on her magnificent scallop shell, the Roman goddess were to arrive naked and vulnerable on a UK beach in the 21st century? This question is the starting point for my show, The Venus Papers.

It’s about lots of things – a theatrical performance combining poetry, humour, art, movement and music, in which I introduce Venus to my world. She encounters customs officers, tabloid newspapers, the male gaze, bars, Primark, life modelling, the perils of breastfeeding in public and something I’ve previously struggled to talk about in my work – the eating disorder I had for approximately seven years.

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‘I had to relearn how to be funny’: comedian Lou Conran on her show about baby loss

Lou Conran terminated her pregnancy after five months when she discovered her baby would not survive outside the womb. Now, she is telling her story at the Edinburgh fringe

“Nobody has cried through the previews,” says Lou Conran, “so it can’t be that bad.” The standup, who has supported Sarah Millican and is an Edinburgh festival veteran, is pleased with the warm-ups for her new fringe comedy show, especially as her subject matter lends itself more easily to tears than laughs.

Just over a year ago, when she was five months pregnant, Conran discovered that her baby had a condition she could not survive. After an induced labour, her daughter was stillborn. “An empowering yet painfully funny show about life and ultimately the taboo of death,” states the flyer. Reactions to the concept, she knows, will be mixed. “My mum just said, ‘Oh my god. What are you doing? How on earth are you going to make that funny?’”

Related: Laugh a minute: Edinburgh festival’s 2017 comedy lineup

Related: The must-see standup of summer 2017: Daniel Kitson, Sara Pascoe, Rob Delaney and more

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The State Of Women In Comedy According To One Woman In Comedy, by Sara Schaefer

This essay originally appeared on Medium and is republished here with permission by the author. What are female comics doing these days? What’s the situation? Did we solve it yet? I’d like to check in and take stock. But before I do that, I should say this: I’m just one lady and my experience is […]

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