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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Walking out on Women

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When I did comedy before, it probably took me a year or more before I called out The Baker’s Dozen for walking out of my set and the sets of other women comics. I remember calling them out from the stage at that weird Italian place connected to the Cubby Bear – I don’t remember what I said or how they reacted in the moment, just that they stopped walking out of my set.

Last night after Open Mic #5, the two hosts said hello at the crosswalk and one asked me if I had come to support another comic. “No, I performed tonight, but you walked out and missed my set.”

To be fair, he had a reasonable excuse for taking a phone call during the show he runs, but I also have fewer fucks to give. I told him he got to use that excuse once and that he’d used it up.

Then we chatted a bit about coming back to comedy and when I said that I’d performed with the trio of dudes in Hollywood that I used to perform with, he said, “Oh, so you saw how famous they got and…”

No.

I think that that #MeToo movement was making comedy a safer experience for women. I think that at 41, I have more to say than I did at 26. I think there are more paths to being successful in comedy in 2018 than in 2002. I think we live in a hellscape and making jokes might be my way to survive this administration.

I think Tig Notaro is showing me that a premise can last 10-20 minutes. I thinkHannah Gadsby is showing me comedy doesn’t have to be self-deprecating to be funny and the tension can last longer than 3 seconds. I think Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin are giving me an education on what hasn’t changed for women in comedy since I quit. I think Nicole Byer is showing me that I can take up space and date. I think June Diane Raphael is showing me that audiences in Chicago will cheer when politics interrupt comedy.

So, no. I’m not back on stage just to drop the names of the three dudes I knew in comedy once upon a time. It’s just easier to talk about them in casual conversation than to bring up the serious side of comedy.

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