Before attending Feminist Comedy Night with Jamie MacDonald at Korjaamo last Wednesday, I had never seen live stand-up before. I’m not even that good with comedy to be honest: when watching movies, I know when I should laugh, but often I just don’t find the joke funny, or then I laugh when no one else is laughing. Awkward. (Some notable exceptions exist, but I’m not going dwell on those here.) The only comedy that manages to regularly entertain me, is (mainly) American political parody. As for stand-up that I’ve seen on TV or on YouTube, well, a lot of it tends to rely on making jokes about stereotypes, often descending into basically just insulting minorities, which I personally don’t find amusing. Maybe I just have too limited an image of stand-up? But when a friend of mine asked me to join her on a feminist stand-up gig, I was of course intrigued!
So what is the Feminist Comedy Night? The goal of the evening is to provide comedy that wouldn’t solely be about stereotypes and well-worn jokes. Feminist Comedy Night takes place roughly every month at Korjaamo, with several different comedians getting on stage during the two-hour gig. At first, not really knowing what to expect from a live gig, I was afraid that it would be uncomfortable in case the comedians didn’t manage to make us laugh. They did, however, for the most part at least.
There were many women comedians, joking about what it’s like being a thirty-something single mom, or just coming out of a long relationship. One of my favorites was a Chilean-born comedian joking about how men she’s intimate with expect her to embody all the stereotypes associated with women from Latin America. So I guess this would fall into the category of joking about stereotypes, except this time it was the person who’s usually the object of that type of comedy telling her side of the story, and she did it well. There were guys, too, in addition to the host, both as performers and in the audience, which was a positive surprise to me who expected this to only interest women. The range of subjects that the performers dealt with was wide and it was refreshing to be offered comedy that didn’t involve anyone being insulted, as well as comedy that managed to ‘make do’ with relatively little. By this I mean that many of the performers managed to make normal and everyday events and circumstances funny. This made me think a little bit about Ismo Leikola, whose jokes are often quite ‘simple’ yet hilarious. That’s precisely why so many of Wednesday’s jokes were relatable, and thanks to that, even more funny. I don’t actually know if any of the comedians on stage were professional comedians, but they did their job well, and pretty much all of them managed to make me laugh. Me, and the other people in the audience, too.
The host of the evening, Jamie MacDonald, didn’t really perform his own set but instead presented the other comedians, and he was another one of my favorites. I would definitely like to attend his own stand-up gig. Not only did he manage to make people laugh in his short bits, he seemed like a sweet person. An added bonus! I was maybe expecting something more political and personal (see, I just can’t get over politics!) from the evening, but on the other hand, it was quite nice to be able to sit back and relax and, if only for a small fleeting moment, forget about what a terrible place this planet is at the moment. On the few occasions that the comedians didn’t manage to make the audience laugh, I didn’t feel nearly as uncomfortable as I thought I would beforehand. Overall, the evening was a very successful first experience at a stand-up club.
If you’re interested in attending, you can buy tickets here. The next Feminist Comedy Night will take place on April the 18th.
Photos by Tia Oja