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The new spring of female stand up comedy

They are brazen, shameless, in a nutshell free

The new spring of female stand up comedy  They are brazen, shameless, in a nutshell free

In 1989, Seinfeld brought to the screen a kind of live show that had its centre of development and growth in New York City. We are talking about stand-up comedy, which went from being an activity of gangly, sarcastic men in dark clubs and basements in the Big Apple, often bringing in little or nothing, both in terms of money and name recognition, to major cinemas, Netflix and the homes of everyone with an internet connection within 30 years (and with considerable acceleration in the last 10 years). Stand-up comedy is now experienced and discussed like any other form of entertainment, and some comedians have become true pillars of our contemporary idea of entertainment, for better or worse. Just think, besides the aforementioned Jerry Seinfeld, of Louis C.K., Eddie Murphy, Rick Gervais, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, Bill Burr, Bo Burnham and, more recently, even John Mulaney, Trevor Noah and Pete Davidson. In Italy, a country where the genre has been late in gaining momentum, Luca Ravenna and Edoardo Ferrario are among those to be mentioned.

@cat_cohen i hope the Jasons are thriving!! #comedy #standup #standupcomedy #comedian #fyp #foryoupage original sound - catherine cohen

As a type of comedy based on the observation of reality, the movements and expressiveness of those who make them, stand-up has changed a lot in recent years, expanding from multiple angles and welcoming different protagonists into its increasingly less narrow circle. Partly as a result of the harassment allegations and scandals that have hit its mainstream protagonists (and the male plural is not accidental or overly extended), the comedian park has been enriched with female protagonists and non-binary people, and there is something for everyone. Starting with the now popular and well-received Ali Wong, Katherine Ryan and Hannah Gadsby, whose first Netflix special titled Nanette gave the genre's popularity a big boost by adding a bitter and deep edge to her humour and dealing with her own personal issues, we turn to Taylor Tomlinson, who mixes into her sets light reflections on her relationships with men and religious trauma, and to Catherine Cohen, a pink-clad singing doll with wispy hair who hides behind an exaggerated layer of frivolity serious (and funny) reflections on what it means to be an unmarried and sexually free woman in 2023, on her relationship to her body and to the norms she feels she must challenge and achieve at the same time.

@hannah_berner ive been doing this bit for over a year hail stephanie #bachelorette #standup #femalecomedian #bachelorparty #bridesmaids #weddingtiktok original sound - Hannah Berner

The extent of these new additions to the stable of stand-up comedy as we knew it is important not only from the point of view of diversity, which is the most visible effect of change and which could be downplayed as an attempt at pink or rainbow cleansing of a genre desperately in need of renewal. This diversity does not stay on the surface, but brings new themes, new modes, new ways of looking at things that make the genre richer and truer, powerfully relevant again and comprehensible to more and more people. What is stand up comedy when, as has sadly happened with some of its great epigones mentioned at the beginning, it loses its connection with the audience? What is stand up comedy when, as it moves further and further away from the small stages, it becomes more glamorous and less and less dark, or when it panders to the marginalised in a botched attempt at satire? These women use the characteristics of the genre, which has always prided itself on being irreverent and above censorship, to their advantage by harshly criticising the expectations placed on women in the entertainment industry, and especially by criticising cisgender men as the dominant category. They are unashamed, shameless, in short, free. There are no taboo subjects, the look is new and so are some of the means. Indeed, the pink stand-up revolution is also coming through TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, in that order.


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original sound - somaddysmith

@el.yurman I will NOT be psychoanalyzed #fyp #queer #trans #lgbt #transgirl #transwoman #comedy #queercomedy #brooklyn #brooklyncomedy #brooklyncomedy #transcomedy #spicytok #kinktok #standupcomedy #standup original sound - ella yurman

These female and non-binary stand-up comedians may start out in small venues (which no longer exist only in New York, but all over the United States, and with a detour into Europe, especially the UK), but they are smart enough to register and post snippets of their performances on their social media channels, the funniest ones, the most meaningful ones, the ones where they interact with the audience in the most interesting ways. And thanks to TikTok, we discover, for example, the foul-mouthed sass of Maddy Smith, the playful wit of Hannah Berner and Lara Ricote, the insights into the LGBT community of comedians like Sarah Keyworth, Mae Martin, Dee Allum, Catherine Bohart, Ella Yurman, the deadpan comedy of Ali Mac. There is no shortage of racialised women championing intersectionality. Others include Atsuko Okatsuka, Janine Harouni, Rae Sanni and Gina Yashere. In short, stand-up comedy was not dead from the start, but it's experiencing a new spring.