Where are the women in stand up comedy?

Leungo Mokgwathi

Gaborone Comedy Club only has one female comedian out of 20

In 2019, a group of researchers in the U.S. analyzed results from various studies in which people were asked to rate men and women’s humor-without knowing their sex first. The researchers found that 63% of men were funnier than the average woman. Could this theory that women are less funny than men be the reason for the lack of women in professional comedy? Voice Entertainment spoke to one of Gaborone Comedy Club’s founding comedians Bambino, for his analysis on this subject.

In our conversation with Bambino, we learnt that out of the 20 comedians that have been hosted by Gaborone Comedy Club this year, only one was female. This, according to Bambino, is a consequence of, “The horrible notion that women are not funny.”

“The way I see it, women have been told for a long time that they are not and cannot be as funny as their male counterparts, for that reason amongst many others, many lost interest and preferred being on the other side of the bright lights cheering on the male comedians, instead of taking on the stage themselves,” he said.

According to Bambino, gender roles and stereotypes are also a major contributing factor. “There are certain expectations regarding which topics women can partake in and which ones they can’t. This is a huge restriction because there is a lot of freedom of expression in comedy.”

Finally, he Bambino suggested that, “Maybe women just aren’t into stand up comedy because they see it more as a hobby than a sport.”

Whatever the case may be, Bambino pointed out that the Gaborone Comedy Club is open and eager to accommodate more women in comedy. “We are very open to motivating and mentoring women who are eager and willing to participate in stand up comedy.”

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Despite the lack of visible female faces in stand up, there are some trailblazing women in comedy who are doing extremely well and deserve a shout out for disrupting the status quo, the likes of Gaborone Comedy Club’s one and only Stellar Atsile.

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