When was the last time you went to a comedy show? Better question: When was the last time you went to a comedy show where women were performing? It’s no secret that the comedy industry is male-dominated. But, without a doubt, women are a force to be reckoned with on the stage.
While many people are slowly but surely getting on the bandwagon, as major movie and TV comedies focus on female characters, folks like Brandon Loftis are looking to shed light on the women who have worked hard to make it in a business built on laughs.
Loftis, the owner of Loft. Ent., an entertainment company, is bringing the One Night Comedy Stand show to DeSoto. This particular comedy show will feature nothing but women — from the host to the headliner.
Loftis moved to Dallas from Houston last December to broaden his network. “I started off doing concerts,” he says. “From there I took it to comedy shows. There’s more of a diverse market when it comes to comedy. Everyone wants to laugh and be happy.” Loft Ent. has done 14 shows in DFW since the move, starting in Mesquite and working down to DeSoto. “There’s a lot of black businesses and black excellence in the DeSoto area, which is why I hold a lot of my events there,” Loftis says.
For his upcoming Friday, Aug. 30 show — which will be hosted by Lisa Love and will feature comedians Crystal Powell, Alberta “The Exception” and Janell Banks at the Unique Visions Upscale Event Center — Loftis wanted to switch things up by putting female comedians at the forefront.
“This is my second all-female comedy show,” Loftis says. "There’s way more women that come out to those shows. There’s also a level of sisterhood when these comedians come together. Definitely a form of women empowerment.”
And empowerment for women is something you don’t see a lot coming from men in the industry. Just ask comedian Jasmine Ellis, who’s headlining the upcoming Plano Comedy Festival, which kicks off Sept. 12.
“Being a comedian is difficult in general,” Ellis says. “Getting the audience to trust you is hard. Especially when society doesn’t really see women as being funny. Some people are just not conditioned to think a woman can make them laugh. Not to mention the audience's lack of exposure to funny women.”
Then there’s the blatant sexism. Comedian Lindsay Goldapp touched on her personal experience in a recent op-ed, calling out comedian Louis C.K. on several accounts after he was scheduled to appear in four dates in Addison. Ellis recounts her own run-ins with industry sexism.
“Sometimes it’s more subtle and you may not feel comfortable saying something,” Ellis explains. “As a woman, if you call out sexism you’re labeled as difficult.”
Ellis admits this was something she worried about at the beginning of her career but has since gotten over. In an effort to battle sexism, years ago she created That Time of the Month, an all-female comedy showcase. “I wanted girls coming into this to be OK,” Ellis says.
She also wants people to know there is upside to being a woman in comedy.
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“I love to see women succeed because they always have the best intentions," Ellis says. "Women get into comedy to make people laugh. Most, not all, but a lot of men get into comedy because they need the attention and want to prove something and can’t play an instrument. I love being a comedian, I love being a woman, and I happen to be both.”
As for Loftis, Friday’s show is an opportunity to be an example of the support men should give these women, night in and night out.
“I wanted to give back to women,” Loftis says. “A lot of events don’t cater to women, and they show up to support (men). They’re always supporting and are engaged. This show is going to be very creative. It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy to have the opportunity to bring people together in the community. Bringing good, positive events to the community. Expect a night of sisterhood. Guys should definitely come out too.”