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Laugh and learn at next week's Women in Comedy Festival

Posted by Alex Pearlman  March 17, 2012 09:01 AM

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women in comedy festival wicf boston 2012.jpgBy Dara Sussman

Type “Are women funny?” into your Google search bar, and you’ll get a plethora of results arguing both sides of that question. Some people in Boston’s comedy scene, however, are done debating.

“We don’t care about the ‘Are women funny?’ argument,” Michelle Barbera, local comedienne and co-producer of the Women in Comedy Festival, said in a press release. “We know they are.”

One look at the festival line-up -- five days packed with female-centric comedy -- seems to back that statement up. Next week, from Wednesday, March 21, through Sunday, March 25, the fourth annual WICF will celebrate comedy created and supported by women with performances, workshops, and panels featuring both Boston-area and nationally known comediennes. Headliners at this year’s festival include former Seinfeld writer Carol Leifer and Wendy Liebman. Famed improv groups like Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and The Groundlings will also perform.

“We want to celebrate the talent and innovation of these performers by showcasing them to our wonderful Boston crowds, as well as providing opportunities for them to been seen by industry professionals,” Barbera said.

Twenty-seven different performances will take place at venues all across Boston during the five-day festival, including the must-see one-woman show Pose: A Magazine for Women, in which Sue Galloway of 30 Rock fame brings a fictional magazine to life. The production is currently running at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York but will make its way north for a special WICF performance.

Also worth a mention is The Mo Show, starring Mo Welch, which combines sketch, stand-up, circus, and video into a comedy variety show. If stand-up comedy is more your thing, try one of the festival’s Stand-Up Comedy Showcases, hosted by Kate Ghiloni or Myq Kaplan and Micah Sherman. Both showcases will include a set from Arden Myrin, a regular on Chelsea Lately and a former MADtv cast member.

In addition to the shows, the WICF will feature a free panel discussion, Tales from the Biz and More, moderated by A&E critic Joyce Kulhawik, and an array of workshops in improv and writing for both the experienced and novice comedian alike. Those who are new to comedy might want to consider taking the Write. Now: Writing Even if You Think You’re Not Ready workshop, taught by stand-up comedian, actress, and The Onion writer Lane Moore. If you've always had an idea for a screenplay, song, or stand-up act but never had the courage or drive to just start writing it, an afternoon with Moore might finally help you to do so; she'll be talking about how to get over your mental writing road blocks and why women tend to second-guess themselves more often than men.

Spend even an hour or two at the WICF, and you'll know Barbera is right.

Tickets for all WICF performances and workshops are available online; advance purchase is recommended, as events do sell out. You can also entertain your inner comedy nerd until next Wednesday by keeping up with the festival’s blog and podcast.

About Dara -- Dara Sussman is a recent graduate of Emerson College and an aspiring comedic writer, performer, mover, and shaker. Follow her on Twitter @daralaine.

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