Friday night will be a celebration of women in comedy in Philadelphia. Broad Comedy is the City Spotlight‘s showcase of stand-up, sketch, improv and storytelling from some of Philly’s funniest females. We caught up with Mary Radzinski to ask her about the show, her comedy, and attitudes about women in comedy.
First off, Women doing Comedy, what is up with that? I know. It’s like, I’m hungry. Quit horsing around and make me a sandwich.
Obviously, my first question is a joke…what are your feelings about those kinds of attitudes that look at “female comedy” as a thing unto itself. I think it’s a limited view by limited people, but I sort of understand it. Comedy, like many things, has been male dominated. It’s a numbers game. As more and more women are becoming comedians, bringing hilarity to audiences of both men and women, hopefully “female comedian” will eventually become “comedian”.
Do you plan on introducing every act with a wink and a “this next performer’s a lady” line or any special variation on that time honored tradition – or would answering that be giving too much away. I’m actually not hosting the show, so it won’t really be up to me, but I assume there will be some poking fun at that. The introductions of female comics is of great amusement to me. I was introduced once as, “having a vagina”. As this is factually correct, I couldn’t argue with the host, however, I would have been more impressed if he had used “labia minora”. It’s annoying to me that this is how some comics get laughs and perpetuate a stereotype. Be smarter. Aim higher. Talk about our tits.
How do you feel about articles like this one from Fox News that say things like this – “For women, frump isn’t funny any longer. The new female comedian has to be the sexual aggressor, sexually provocative, dominant and successful…” and “Rosie O’Donnell and Janeane Garofalo will be relegated to playing the female versions of Chris Farley. Hollywood doesn’t want a woman that is not sexually enticing like Rosie; it wants the sexual alpha female…” Whatevs. Frump will always be funny. Frump is typically what nurtures the development of funny. Hollywood will always have it’s eye on sexy; sex sells. Writing funny scripts for pretty actors will never get old. I recently saw Jennifer Anniston on Inside the Actor’s Studio. During the interview she had the personality of an elderly chimp. Referencing Anna Faris as a face of female comedy is a jab at the more than likely frumpy person who wrote her most recent comedic script. There are no absolutes. Would it help your career to be beautiful, sexy, and hilarious? Of course. Necessary? Nah.
Where does your personal style as a comedian come from? I really try to be myself on stage. I’m not a very high energy person offstage, and this translates. I’m not entirely deadpan in my everyday life either, so I’ve been working on that as well. This has, and continues to be, my biggest challenge.
Your show is going to be a mix of styles of comedy, it’s going to have some stand-up, improv, sketch, and storytelling – traditionally these have been kept apart – do you see a growing trend in bringing them all together on one bill? I’m not sure I see a growing trend in doing this, but we wanted to represent different areas of Philly’s comedy scene. We were given the title, “Broad Comedy” as part of Sketchfest, so we thought we’d incorporate a “broad spectrum” idea into it to, through different types of comedy. I do think the variety jazzes it up for the audience.
Has running your own weekly open mic and booking shows given you any new insights or perspectives on comedy? Do you have any words of advice for someone looking to start their own show? It has definitely been insightful regarding the amount of work that goes into even an open mic. It’s not easy to please everyone but it’s a goal to keep trying. Words of advice: Get on stage every week and do time. Host to a room of a hundred (even if there are 5 people and they are all comics). Have fun and act like it.
You’re somewhat of a Twitter aficionado – do your best job of summing up and promoting Broad Comedy in 140 characters or less. Broad Comedy.Friday,October 21st. Shakespeare Theater. 8pm.Broads doing comedy. Broadly. Like their broad mothers taught them. Come watch.
Broad Comedy is part of the first annual City Spotlight at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater (2111 Sansom St.) Friday night at 8:00PM. Tickets can be purchased online.