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April - May 2012

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The only male in the Comedy Festival office

Posted by Spencer Dowson, Comedy Festival Marketing Coordinator On the 7th May 2012 Back spencerrhys.jpg 

People seem to have this impression that the Comedy Industry is a bit of a Boy’s Club. And when it comes to performers, based solely on the ratio of male to female, it does come across that way. What you might not be aware of is that, behind the scenes, the NZ International Comedy Festival is held together by a group of very hard-working, diligent and intelligent women. I’m told this is the case for Comedy Festival’s around the world – behind every group of comedians up on stage cracking the funnies, is a group of well-organised women cracking the whip and making sure stuff actually gets done.

And then there’s me. The one male in the office.

Discrimination comes in many forms, but none so constant as being routinely reminded of your place as the odd one out by the very actions of those you work with. When one of the ladies I work with gets a pair of fancy new jeans, or a nice pair of summer shoes that go well with everything, the office grinds to a halt and they are showered with compliments and praise. When I get a new piece of officially licensed pro-wrestling merchandise, no one comments. No one notices. No one cares.

If that weren’t enough, jokes are often made about subjects and cultures that I have no understanding of – Sex in the City, Pinterest, and the like. Once when I missed an office pub quiz, the Production team actively planned and executed a day-long silent treatment to punish me. Needless to say, it cut me deep.

With that in mind, I sincerely recommended you go and see some of the hilarious women in the Festival this year. Irene Pink and Justine Smith, recipients of the Creative Comedy Initiative Grant, are doing a show called The Pitch, which is set to be a frickin’ awesome multi-media extravaganza. 2011 Fred Award Winner Jan Maree is making a Festival appearance this year as is Cal Wilson, Janey Godley, Urzila Carlson, Sarah Harpur and loads more funny ladies. Go see them. Fight gender discrimination with laughter, because it’s too late to save me.

P.S. Go see my best friend Rhys Mathewson's show, 'Rhys Mathewson vs The World'. He's really funny and sometimes I love him so much it's a bit alarming.

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