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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Excuse me there are so many crumbs in my comedy

Please note this story has been edited.
A full transcript of the story is available on request via email:

I have been writing this short story since I first stood up to a microphone  in a comedy room over a decade ago.
I am doing an MA by research in creative writing at La Trobe University on gender and comedy, this story which forms part of my creative response has been written after many interviews with women in the comedy industry and hours of research.
When the news broke about the US comedian doing what he did (I will not blemish my blog with his name or details of his actions) I decided to publish this on my blog.
This story is for every woman who has ever felt unsafe, violated, insulted, hurt, or undermined in a comedy room.
For every woman who has felt paralysed by the intense anger when they are dismissed on stage, not given gigs, had an MC openly criticise them then introduce another 26 year old single white male like they are a hero.
Comedy is a craft that requires hours and hours of work to do it well.
You are not 'just born funny.'
There are so few spaces where you can learn the craft and the comedy rooms, bars and clubs remain male dominated and controlled.
To every man who says I haven't seen you perform so I can't give you a gig. That comment is probably to a woman, be the change, give them a gig and think about why you haven't seen them perform.
This story is for every man that has ever said : 'Women just can't take a joke and that's why they aren't funny.'
This story is in response to Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the need for that festival, as the highest grossing festival in Australia to support women, to not dwindle Jeez Louise into a one hour address in a 30 day festival, but to be a game changer and support all women everywhere to get into and remain in comedy.

SPIRAL BOUND  a short-ish story.

The doorway is filled with a huddle of them, waiting for the night to begin, smoking cigarettes and swapping stories.
No one notices Mary go in. She can go most places and simply not be seen, except to the charity shop where she volunteers each week. Customers and people who work there notice both her absence and her presence. But in most other situations she is just an old woman getting about her business, invisible in the rush of life.
Mary is greeted by the dank smell of smoke and the dregs of Carlton draft that have found their way to the carpet over the years.
After getting a glass of water from the jug on the bar, Mary sits at the back of the room, her bag next to her, the current notebook she is using and her pen, waiting for the night to begin.  
It’s the usual kind of set up, mismatched chairs, an old sofa to one side, some fairy lights draped around the walls, a microphone on a stand, a space, sometimes slightly elevated, but often not, where the acts will perform.
The person who runs the room is strutting as people approach him, shaking his hand, all of them speaking just a little too loud, wanting to be noticed.
The online information had said the evening started at eight, but in keeping with the shambolic nature of these events it’s not until 8.30 that the proceedings begin. The crowd that’s been milling out the front move inside. There are only four ‘real’ punters, and they sit on one table flicking their thumbs over their phones, filling their glasses from the jug of beer in the middle of the table.

The guy who runs the room heads to the stage. Mary has the measure of him: his walk, his demeanour, the crumpled checked shirt, runners, scruffy pair of jeans. The Uniform, she calls it.  He’s like so many of them and all of them make her think about Corry....
Please note this story has been edited.
          A full transcript of the story is available on request via email: