This year’s Women in Comedy Festival boasts its largest level of involvement with television networks in the festival’s history. Between workshops, sponsorships, and panels, nearly every basic network plus HBO was represented; one of the most high profile network presences is the NBC Showcases. In total, NBC put their name on three “Comedy Spotlight Series” shows, featuring both established and upcoming comics.
LA’s Petey Gibson was the hilarious and highly energetic host for the Friday 9:30 edition of the showcases, and they brought a bit of education with them to talk about how to refer to nonbinary individuals such as themselves. “We do this all the time,” they reminded us, before providing the example, “someone left their retainer in a pile of hair.” See? We do know to make the distinction! Gibson was also pleased to be on a show that managed to showcase so much talent from the LGBTQIA community. Or, as they put it, a “gay as fuck” show.
Some of that talent included Albany Funny Bone regular Dre Cerbin, who prides herself for being not fruit-shaped, but rather built in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water,” and the challenges that presents when buying lawyering-appropriate workwear; Yes, Homo! host and one of Brooklyn Magazine’s 50 Funniest People Samantha Ruddy, who delighted me last year at the festival and returned with new material about the challenges of dressing herself and the high costs of lesbian adoption; and Lauren Faber, who shared some sound advice on how to avoid a threesome with a straight couple as a lesbian…that only works 50% of the time.
The showcase also featured Boston mainstay and Paid for By webseries star Kelly MacFarland, musician and occasional accidental slacktivist Nora Panahi, Killer Friends star Peggy Sinnott, and Person About Town cohost Kenice Mobley. The show closed with Jim Jefferies Show correspondent Kate Willett, who managed to bring the house down in a gently abbreviated set (which shows promise for her forthcoming 15 minute set on Netflix). This lineup was one of the strongest I saw at the festival, which each comic managing to effortlessly balance commentary on our current challenges as a society with riotous laughs to a crowd of about 100 on a chilly Friday night. And if this showcase of talent is any indication of what NBC could be bringing to the airwaves anytime soon, then keeping my digital antenna is an absolute must.
The Women in Comedy Festival runs through Sunday in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA.