Boston’s Women in Comedy Festival stands united in laughter


It’s been long believed, at least until Yahoo Answers came into existence, that there was no such thing as a dumb question.

While that could be debated until you’re blue in the face, when it comes to comedy, there’s at least one, and it has plagued the comedy industry since the days of Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers: “Are women even funny?”

Duh. Of course they are — and for the ninth year in a row, the Boston comedy scene is acknowledging these truths in grand fashion.

Starting on Thursday night (April 19), the ninth annual Women in Comedy Festival will bring some of stand-up’s sharpest minds together for a four-day celebration of the ladies who have continuously shunned the notion that women comedians aren’t funny, and have gone on to make a name not only for themselves, but in a sense, for every other female comic, as well.

While hard-hitting headliners Wanda Sykes and Tig Notaro take top billing for the festival with shows at Medford’s Chevalier Theatre, venues all around the city and its surrounding areas, ranging from bars to theatres, will be jam-packed through Sunday with any form of comedy imaginable. That includes stand-up, improv, sketch, film, live podcasts, workshops, all featuring both local and nationally-recognized names like Gina Yashere, Emma Willmann, Laurie Forster, Emmy Blotnick, Kathe Farris, and many more.

To preface the festival, New England comedy veteran Kelly MacFarland will be hosting a special kick-off event at Laugh Boston on Wednesday night (April 18), with a premiere of Paid For By, a web series in which MacFarland stars alongside the legendary Tony V.

Currently in her 20th year in the scene, MacFarland is no stranger to the WICF, and is admittedly a bit spoiled by the festival and the platform its granted her over the years. But even as a veteran of the scene, MacFarland finds herself still in awe of the “up-and-comers” who are on this year’s bill.

“There are certainly some players in town for this,” MacFarland tells Vanyaland. “Everybody in the lineup is awesome, whether it’s Emma Willmann, who I adore, or there’s a few writers for The Daily Show, or you have the road dogs like me who are just going to give you a good set of comedy. No matter what show you choose to see, you won’t be disappointed, because it’s just going to be a lot fun all around.”

MacFarland knows that there aren’t as many women in comedy as there are men, but that doesn’t really mean a whole lot to her when she thinks of how instrumental women like Amy Schumer, Kathleen Madigan, and Wanda Sykes have been in garnering a fanbase and holding true to their brands.

“While there is less women in comedy, I really do feel like we are holding our own,” MacFarland adds, “and having just as much of an impact as anyone else has had.”

WOMEN IN COMEDY FESTIVAL :: Thursday, April 19 to Sunday, April 22 at various locations :: See the full schedule of events :: Featured image courtesy of Kelly MacFarland.