Thursday, February 17th, 2011

South by Southwest Announces an Almost Exclusively Male Comedy Lineup

Austin's yearly hipster/nerd conference South by Southwest just announced the lineup for it's comedy offerings, and there are lots and lots of amazing, talented, hilarious people performing. It's going to be great! There's an almost overwhelming about of top-notch comedic talent all in one place. But here's the problem: of the 31 comics they booked, 30 of them are men. Hm.

As Kate Spencer pointed out, there are lots and lots of excellent female comedians out there, and the odds of them all being booked or unavailable are pretty slim.

It's especially odd that SxSW, which makes people putting panels together jump through all sorts of diversity-related hoops, would be so blind to this. If you're putting together a SxSW panel, you literally need to give them "75 words regarding where this person stands on the V-O-W-E-L diversity scale" on each potential panelist. The V-O-W-E-L diversity scale, guys! The W stands for Women! How did an organization so paranoid about being accused of things like this in its panels end up booking only one female comedian in its comedy showcases?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Lane/4200405 Jess Lane

    If you look at their "/comedy" page (http://sxsw.com/comedy), 3 out of 5 of the "alumni" posts are about the women who have performed at their showcase in the past. They often have a lot of repeat performers too (I'm pretty sure Eugene Mirman has performed there for like the past 100 years). I feel like this is just a really bad/terrible/awful aligning of the stars. THE incriminating parts are the reports that the podcasting guys had their lady-panelists opted-out by the organizers, or ONE twitter user who claims that "When I auditioned for a SXSW showcase, an organizer told me they had already filled the "girl spot." (via @andreagrimes). In the past there have only been 3-4 girls in the lineup, but the drop down to just 1 chick is really unsettling.

    Also, there are tons of "non-sxsw" comedy events that happen in Austin during the festival. Comedy Central usually has a show for example, and Sub Pop may or may not have a comedy showcase, etc. These shows may or may not have more opportunity for chicks.

    But still, fuck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Austin-Poff/562558616 Austin Poff


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Caroline-Anderson/731041782 Caroline Anderson

    The most upsetting part to me is that Jamie Denbo is doing a panel, and is one of the funniest improvisers and sketch players working right now. Get her on a show. Or even better, get her and June Diane Raphael together to do Ronna and Beverly. It's bizarre to me that they would have so much talent there, and not let her perform.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Caroline-Anderson/731041782 Caroline Anderson

      Let's pretend I said Jessica Chaffin instead of June Diane. I must have June on the brain.

  • Dialogue_Dub

    Yes, good to point this out. I feel like if there is a "But we do have a girl!" sort of lineup in place… the followup question should be "Yes… is it Tig, Maria, Sarah, or Jen?" Because of course nine times out of ten, one of those four is chosen. They're great, they're awesome! But really… there are more female comedians out there.

    It's a thing.. like a TMSJ rule or something.