Women have always had a hard road to travel in comedy with extra challenges and obstacles beyond the already difficult path to being a successful comedian. They’ve raised children on and off the road, on and off set, let club bouncers and cradle their babies as they headed to the stage. They’ve fearless stayed in comedy condos where you don’t want to shine a blacklight on anything. They’ve persevered while hearing “women aren’t funny”, they kept going while being harassed and propositioned, they handled the unending trail of men promising stage time or television roles in exchange for sex. They’ve taken lesser pay, dealt with misogynistic remarks and overcome hurdles. They’ve seen a lot, handled it, and still were and are hilariously funny.
“Women of a Certain Age” a new touring comedy show is the brainchild of comedian Carole Montgomery, bringing women over 40 to stages across the country. Why? Their minds are uninhibited and their mouths unfettered.
This month’s show promises to be a really special one- its being taped for television at The Bell House in Brooklyn on January 15th, featuring an outrageous lineup. Vanessa Hollingshead, Julia Scotti, Lynn Koptliz, Luenell, Carole Montgomery and headliner Fran Drescher promise an unforgettable night in Brooklyn. Tickets available at thebellhouseny.com.
All six of these women have influenced so many (just recently Margaret Cho listed Carole Montgomery as one of her inspirations after Amy Schumer listed Margaret), and all six of them are thankful for the many women before them who held open the door to a career in comedy. We asked all six performers who was the one for them- who inspired them- who kept them going- and who made them want to chase the dream.
Currently WOACA has a monthly residency at the Kraine Theatre in NYC with dates across the country in 2019 in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Hartford and Boston, but don’t miss this Brooklyn date.
“By far Lucille Ball has been the greatest comedic influence on my style, brand of comedy, and career.”
“When I first saw Signs of Intelligent Life in The Universe, I was blown away not only by the show itself but how she was onstage all alone and kept the audience mesmerized the entire time. That was in 1985 when I was still developing as a comic. 2 hours was so much time!! When I saw the revival I cried when I realized how much she had given me as a performer and how far I had come from the young girl wanting to make people laugh. I was a seasoned comic in 2000 when she revived it. The fact that she is still as funny and vital at 79 proves my point about my show Women Of A Certain Age Comedy. Age is just a number.”
“With out a doubt Joan Rivers. when I was a kid my Mother and I were on our own for a period of time one day she called me into the room after school to see Joan on Merv or Michael Douglas show and said watch this lady…we laughed and laughed then my Mom told me her husband had just killed himself and she and her daughter were on their own. Mom said if she can laugh when she is so sad so can we.
Later I went on to become a comedian and was Blessed to co-star on a short Lived IFC show with Joan and worked with her on many shows after and became great friends with her and Melissa. She was a wonderful friend and I think about the little wisdoms she gave me everyday.”
“A few years ago when this politically correct movement made me feel like I had my wings clipped. To say anything anyone might deem offensive because like Whoopi – I loved doing characters and I started to get told what I can say and what I can’t. I was even taken off a show. I researched political correctness and I found her response. (Paraphrasing) “you can let the politically correct movement make you angry, bitter and cynical as a comic or….you can just start writing smarter, and find a way to say what you want.” That was my moment of clarity. I love her for that comment. It lifted my spirits up and at that moment I didn’t feel controlled by the “thought police.”
“Lucy’s comedy was generational. Wisecracking in movies was her forte. Carol, on the other hand, had range. She could cover all of Lucy’s characters and then some. But without Lucy’s influences, Carol would have been a much different performer. Both women taught me how to be a funny broad.”
“The female comic who had the biggest influence on my comedic career/life would have 2 b……my Oakland sister/friend….Laura Hayes. Being that we are both on the same urban city in northern California, Laura moved 2 L.A. first. Proceeded to get television roles First. Went on the road First and was a member of the First and Only all Black Female Comedy Tour EVER….The Queens Of Comedy. Laura has given me shelter, Guidance, advice (both solicited and non…. )and basically laid the blueprint in showing me how to turn my dreams into a reality. She remains my close friend and listening ear to this day.