Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

08 May 2002, 1:44 a.m.

The comedy night was bad/good. Good: all the professional…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The comedy night was bad/good. Good: all the professional comedians were quite funny, all four of them (incl. surprise guest)! Bad: my audience was quite unreceptive to all save one of my jokes. I was caught so off-guard that I stepped on their laughter with my next line.

Seth and Michelle and Andy liked it, at least.

Timelily, Kris asks why he sees few or no funny female stand-up comedians. I wrote a while back about the dearth of women in mass-media humor. Now that I've seen Margaret Cho on video and thought, I could do that, and since I've never actually seen Janeane Garofalo perform, I feel more hesitant about endorsing them as good. Popular, yes, but I don't know about good.

Tonight one of the four comics was female. Carla Clay is also black. Her schtick (which was not her entire act) comprised some reacting-incredulously-to-racism-she-encounters-abroad, some Black English, and some man-hunger. Black comedians do the first two bits all the time, and male comics talk so much about wanting to have sex that it seems perfectly normal, and "sexually voracious black woman" is a stereotypical character and one that Carla Clay inhabits quite well. She was funny. She made me laugh. No tampon jokes.

I have rejected proposed stand-up material as "too chick-y." But certainly some material I do is heavily informed by my gender. Tonight I joked about my parents' search for a husband for me. I can't recall other examples. It's late. To bed.