Big Talent Comes to Beantown with the Women in Comedy Festival

Posted April 22, 2015 by Jon Erik Christianson in Theater District
Women in comedy festival

Recent years have seen the beginning of a renaissance with regards to women in comedy. Comedy films like Bridesmaids or The Heat have proven themselves as financial and critical successes, and the upcoming Hot Pursuit, Spy, and rebooted, all-female Ghostbusters film look to continue this path further.

For the seventh year in a row, the Women in Comedy Festival (WICF) seeks to chip away at the gender disparity in comedy by highlighting plenty of hilarious women alongside a few hilarious men. Lasting from April 22nd to the 25th in theatres throughout Boston, the event boasts a number of shows, comedy workshops, and informational panels with celebrities and professionals. This festival is no doubt another huge facet of Downtown Boston’s expanding and revitalized nightlife.

The WICF features nine headlining acts, including performances from Jane Lynch, Lily Tomlin, and Cristela Alonzo. Lynch, who is performing at the Wilbur Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, is an award-winning actor and comedian most commonly known for her role as Sue Sylvester on Glee, though she’s also famous for her role in improv mockumentary Best in Show.

Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch is one of the headliners for this year’s festival. Photo Courtesy of WICF.

Lily Tomlin, who is set to perform at the Wilbur Theatre at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, has been a juggernaut force in the comedy industry for nearly sixty years. The comedian, who became a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors last December, has brought laughter and levity to the stage, television, movie screens, and even Broadway. Some of her most notable roles were in films 9 to 5, Orange County, and I Heart Huckabees, and television shows Murphy Brown, The Magic School Bus, and The West Wing.

Cristela Alonzo is one of WICF’s headliners to most recently see her star rocket into the public’s eye. With ABC’s Cristela, she is America’s first Latina to ever create, star in, produce, and write her own television network show. Bostonians can catch more of her humor at the Wilbur Theatre at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday.

The Wilbur Theatre is not the only Boston venue to be getting in on the comedy action. Many of WICF’s other headliners, including Mary Mack, Aparna Nancherla, and Poppy Champlin, will be appearing at Laugh Boston on Summer Street and ImprovBoston in Cambridge.

Non-headling performances for WICF include film screenings, open-mic comedy, musical showcases, game shows, and storytelling showcases. The Brits and Bostonians: Improv and Musical Showcase, housed at ImprovBoston, features Amy G’s “Entershamement” (which is billed as having roller skates and a live chicken), improv troupe Maxitor, and others. The 1st Annual WICF Film Night promises to show off talented female directors, writers, producers, and actors.

Students of comedy may want to check out the varied workshops and panels offered by WICF. There are workshops available to teach students about comedic storytelling (Comedic Storytelling with Giulia Rozzi), working with a scene partner (Love the One You’re With Improv Workshop
with Kelly Buttermore and Justin Peters), writing satire (Satire Writing with the Editors of Reductress), business management (The Business of Show with Sue Costello), and more!

Other unique events include a panel and interview with The Office star Kate Flannery at 11 a.m. at Improv Boston on Saturday, and a “pitching to networks” advice panel with Abbey MacDonald, a development executive who has worked with Comedy Central, Hulu, MTV, Netflix, and more. Aspiring comedians should not miss out.

Tickets or registration (some are free) for all these events can be found directly through WICF’s website at each event page. Tickets should remain on sale until right before an event starts, after which some may still be available at the door.