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December 29, 2009

Five Easy Questions with Kelly MacFarland
by Women in Comedy Festival - 0

This month, WICF interviews our 2009 headliner Kelly MacFarland.

What did you learn or take away from being on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend?

I truly felt like I had arrived when I landed a spot on Premium Blend. I had a blast and the experience was amazing, but in the end it was just me and a microphone. I had to be funny or it wouldn't have meant anything. I try to give each show 100% and this show wasn't any different. The next week I was playing an Elks Club. Every show is important.

Of your many other TV credits, from Tyra to the View to The Biggest Loser, which one did you most enjoy and why?

I really enjoyed my time on Biggest Loser, but I would have to say my favorite experience was a few years later on a reunion episode. I got to meet a bunch of peeps from other seasons and we all just kind of dished about it. Felt nice to talk with people who had been through the same thing as you. A close second would probably be my appearance on Larry King. He's like a puppet up close. Very animated.

Other than years of doing stand up, how did you hone your comedic voice? Any specific person, book, other thing that inspires you?

Like a lot of other little girls, I watched hours and hours of I Love Lucy and the Carol Burnett show. I used to be a horrible stand up in the beginning, but then a wise man (Tony V) told me to just be me on stage. Tell the stories the way I tell them off stage. My whole world changed. There's a fine line between stand up Kelly and the Kelly you get every day. At least I'm never confused!

You do a lot of crowd work onstage. Have you always done this, or did it take lots of practice to become comfortable with communicating on the spot with the crowd?What projects and/or shows are coming up for you that all your fans should know about

I like the crowd. We wouldn't have a show without them. I talk to the crowd because I want them to feel like they're part of the experience. It works for me and the audience seems to enjoy it. I'm currently working on a book project, touring colleges throughout the US and working the clubs. I'm having a blast. Come out and see me. We'll laugh, hug and fall in love.
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December 19, 2009

I want a girl who laughs for no one else.
by Women in Comedy Festival - 4

This festival has reminded me of this conversation, which, sort of creepily, happened exactly 2 years ago:

Overheard at Anna's Taqueria

Dude: "I mean, you want a funny girl, I guess."
Guy: "Well, yeah. Like, she has to think I'm funny. She has to get my jokes. Have a sense of humor."
Dude: "Right, yeah, totally."
Guy: "But, like, you don't want a hilarious girl. She can't be super funny or anything."
Dude: "Oh, God, no. No no no. No one wants that."
Guy: "You know, like that Weezer song"
Dude: "Exactly."

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December 18, 2009

Guess Who's the Face of the NC Comedy Arts Festival?
by Women in Comedy Festival - 2

Hey-yo! Our very own WICF Co-Director Maria Ciampa makes an appearance on the front page of the NC Comedy Arts Festival site - and what an appearance!

Maria's stand-up has been getting her noticed for awhile now - she's already beloved north and south of the Mason-Dixon! Ladies in comedy, unite!

Click through for the bigger picture.

WICF Co-Director Maria Ciampa, her stand-up routine, and her glorious hair.
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December 16, 2009

All In The Family
by Women in Comedy Festival - 0

December 14th's ImprovBoston Fun-Raiser brought together Boston comedy alumni from near and far.

WICF Co-Director Maria Ciampa with Kate Flannery of The Office.

The 2009 ImprovBoston Fun-Raiser at the Estate Nightclub in downtown Boston featured live performances from great women and men in comedy. Even Kate Flannery spent time in Boston performing in The Real Live Brady Bunch. Kate is not only known to millions as Meredith on NBC's mega-hit The Office, but is also a wonderful sketch and improv comedienne. Kate performed live with longtime friend and creative collaborator (and Real Live Brady Bunch Musical Director) Faith Soloway. If you live in LA, you can see Kate perform live on a regular basis  in her hit show The Lampshades. If you live in Boston, check out  one of Faith Soloway's many great projects, like Jesus Has Two Mommies. Check for her latest on her official website.

Jonathan Katz (Comedy Central's Dr. Katz), Adam Felber (Wait Wait Don't Tell Me), ImprovBoston's Harry Gordon, "The Roast Master", Shane Mauss (Comedy Central, Late Night with Conan O'Brien), Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central, Late Night with Conan O'Brien), MC Mr. Napkins (Voted Boston's Best Standup of 2009 in the Boston Phoenix annual reader's poll) and ImprovBoston's Alumni team also performed live.

Special video performances from Wendy Liebman and Janeane Garofalo premiered at the benefit.

Below is a clip from Janeane Garofalo's video with ImprovBoston's Bobby Smithney awkwardly explaining the celebrity crush rule he shares with his wife. Guess who's his celebrity crush?

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December 15, 2009

Witty Banter: Rachel Dratch interviewing Amy Poehler
by Women in Comedy Festival - 2

The first in the "Witty Banter" blog series by Sheila Moeschen

This month’s BUST magazine’s cover girl is comic virtuoso and New England native Amy Poehler.  In an inspired and pretty damn funny interview with friend and former SNL-copal, Rachel Dratch, Poehler shares an interesting insight regarding the thread-worn “work/life balance” issue.  In response to Dratch’s question about her best and least favorite parts of motherhood, Poehler responds:

“My least favorite part is when women ask me how I do it. Recently a person was asking me about my schedule and, like, working mothers everywhere…and was like ‘Oh my God, How do you do it?’ And I realized that really means ‘How could you do it?’ Isn’t that interesting? I was like, ‘I want to punch you fucking right in the mouth.’ (both laugh)."

Poehler’s response poses some interesting questions: Do women involved in the comedic arts have to make different lifestyle/personal relationship choices than women working in other fields? Given that the performing arts often require erratic hours along with tiny bits of your soul now and again, how does this impact the working comedienne when it comes to family and relationships?  Are women in the comedic arts held to different standards or do they receive different treatment for their lifestyle choices? Have you every experienced a situation similar to Amy Poehler's, and did you wish she were there to get your back in the all out girl fight that ensued? Discuss.

Amy Poehler has been making the interview rounds as of late, so below is more of the delightful Ms. Poehler, again being interviewed by a fellow comic. Enjoy!

Amy Poehler on Jimmy Kimmel Live, talking about her baby, her husband, and Parks and Recreation
Woman in comedy Sheila Moeschen has a PhD in Theatre & Drama from Northwestern University with a Minor in Gender Studies. She puts theory into practice as an improv and sketch comedienne in Boston, MA.
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December 8, 2009

Pretty cute for a funny girl.
by Women in Comedy Festival - 1

So, it's Tuesday. Which means I'm watching The Biggest Loser again. And I've been thinking.

I'm a fat girl. That's not meant to be an insult, or self-deprecating, or whatever. It's the truth. But we all agree that shouldn't be the thing that defines who I am as a person, right? And yet, there are things that are expected of me as a person based on the size of my jeans. Because I'm big, I'm supposed to be friendly, and warm, and soft, and funny. Fat = funny. Lucky for me, I happen to fit this particular stereotype. (Well, the funny part, anyway. I'm kind of a bitch most of the time.) But I know plenty of hilarious women who are model-thin. And we're all gorgeous. I'm serious. We are amazingly hot ladies and you men (or other ladies, if that's our thing) are lucky we even speak to you.

So where did this stereotype come from? The idea that funny women aren't pretty, and pretty women aren't funny? I guess it's easy to blame the patriarchy, and say that men can't handle women with power, and to make someone laugh is to have power over them. So they try to take away our power in other areas by telling us that we're ugly or fat or shameful in some other way so we'll hide and not use our powers. It seems like it's been working for a long time. I don't have any answers as to how this mindset became so deeply ingrained in the group mind. If you do, please enlighten me in the comments. Seriously, I'm curious.

But I guess in the long run, it doesn't matter why we think this way, it only matters that we do. And that we realize that we do, so that we can stop this outdated line of thinking and stop putting expectations on people based on their external appearance.

Because, frankly, I'm not as funny as my weight would lead you to believe. I just really like eating and sitting still.
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December 6, 2009

Girls Behaving Badly: Burlesque
by Women in Comedy Festival - 0

The first in the "Girls Behaving Badly" blog series by Sheila Moeschen

A vintage burlesque poster
Burlesque. It’s a term that conjures up images of blue-lit cabaret stages where women adorned in sequins and pasties, pranced, danced, teased, and tantalized boozy execs (think Mad Men’s Roger Sterling, wearing that maddening, boyish smirk as he swirls his scotch and gazes on the shimmying hips and legs before him.)  Burlesque is sexual revolution! It’s counter-culture! It’s comedy! What now?
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December 1, 2009

Congratulations! It's a girl!
by Women in Comedy Festival - 0

Rachel van der Steur
Hello WICFers! My name is Rachel van der Steur, and I'll be your guest blogger for this year's festival. I'll be bringing you official announcements and updates on the festival, as well as boring you with stories about my life as an office drone, single lady, and comedy-maker. To get you started, here's a little list of facts you'll need:

1. My closet is full of shoes I've never worn.
2. Tonight, like all Tuesday nights, I watched The Biggest Loser in bed while eating an entire box of Kraft Mac and Cheese and crying.
3. I also made my own apple pie flavored vodka, because I have both a drinking problem and an eating disorder.
4. A substantial number of my male friends are people I've slept with. If you've seen me naked and still want to talk to me, I'm keeping you around, end of story.
5. I will not be satisfied with my life until I am described, unprompted, as "equal parts Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy".

That should give you the basic idea of what you're in for. I promise to try and be funny and not too annoying. If you just can't get enough of me, please follow me on Twitter at, and come see my pet project, sketch show "I'm the Rhoda", at ImprovBoston on January 29 and February 5, 2010.

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