The Lol Word is a platform for the best women and non-binary LGBTQIA+ comedy talent, run by founding five members. Hysterical Women champions female comedy writers/performers, with a monthly night ‘For Comedians who Happen to be Women’.
Have you experienced any misogyny in the comedy circuit?
Chloe: I don’t think the comedy circuit is explicitly misogynistic. The thing to look out for is the subtler misogyny, like booking a line-up of all straight white men. People will argue it’s a meritocracy and they should book acts that are ‘best for the job’, but there are enough acts that aren’t straight white men, that would make that line-up much more interesting.
Hannah: Everyone has met that person that says, ‘Women comedians aren’t funny’. When we meet them, we invite them to Hysterical Women. Our audience is 50/50 – it is definitely not ‘anti-men’. Sure, the themes are sometimes more geared towards the female experience but that’s because in comedy you talk about what you know. Cat calling, periods, gender equality, vaginas and the like all feature – but no more so than anything else.
What are the benefits of working with women and non-binary people?
Chloe: It sounds corny and cliché, but we’re all very supportive and kind to each other. Decisions are made collectively, and we give each other the space to share difficulties, hang-ups and anxieties. Comedy can be so competitive, but our individual victories are shared and we’re proud of each other.
Hannah: The atmosphere at our live nights is always electric, warm and welcoming. We are keen to reinforce that women aren’t a genre – but simply by having an all-female line-up seems to relax our audience, and our acts.
What do you think the 2020s hold for women/non-binary people in comedy?
Chloe: Just look at the people on the rise in the comedy world: Sophie Duker, Catherine Bohart, Suzi Ruffell, Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch, Siân Davies, Kemah Bob, Charlie George… Queer women and non-binary comedians are crushing it and that is just going to become more and more normal – finally!
Hannah: ITV also pioneered the 50:50 initiative last year, designed to get more women into writers’ rooms, while more and more production companies are looking for new voices. Several of our alumni have played Live at the Apollo and been nominated/won Edinburgh Awards. This number is only going to grow!
Hysterical Women will be on at The Underbelly Festival on The Southbank on 30 April.