It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in comedy – in most cases it’s a 1:4 ratio at best. This year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival featured only 19% all female shows, as opposed to 73% presented by their male counterparts. Commentators and clowns alike have toiled with the question, “Why this is the case?” It’s a chicken and egg scenario – are they too chicken or is it because they have eggs?
Comedy is a tough game for anyone; you spend your time trying to make others laugh while everyone else is trying to throw you off beat – the heckler and the prey. Add in a set of lady-bits and you’re in for an even bumpier ride.
To say that my road to comedy was an uncomfortable journey would be an understatement. The comedy arena was the last place I wanted to be. I’d seen far too many comedy rooms to want to choose that path – I’d rather drive the bus for an end of season footy trip.
But the initial success of our all female musical comedy duo Sparrow-Folk was intoxicating and presented an opportunity to realise my life-long dream of a career in the performing arts.
Sparrow-Folk was thrown into the spotlight long before we had any clue of what we were doing. Here’s a story of an over-tired breastfeeding Mum that vents her frustrations through a comical song, puts it on the internet and 1 million hits later, is a viral sensation.
Within a few short days Sparrow-Folk had an instant international audience, opportunities on television and radio, and a huge expectation hanging over us to give everyone more of the same. It was thrilling, confronting, terrifying and wonderful wrapped into one.
For every new hit, piece of praise, or interview, there were 2 new comments from keyboard warriors desperate to bring us down. We were completely exposed and it was time to rediscover that thick-skinned coat I had self-protectively grown during high school. There’s no place for self doubt in comedy – it only leads to bad material and awkward silence.