”Excuse me… hi! Great show
tonight, thanks! But I have to ask you… where are the women?!”

”That’s a good question- where
ARE the women?”

On three separate occasions after
hosting shows with all-male lineups, three very different women walked up to me
and said virtually the same thing. In Sweden, it takes a special kind of person
– or at least a drunk one – to have the courage to walk up to me, a stranger,
and ask anything. I can only imagine how many women there wondered the same
thing, but didn’t ask.

It’s a tough subject. There are
many more men than women in the comedy scene, lineups are consistently
dominated by men, sometimes are exclusively men. Where are the women, indeed?

I have no answers but I have
theories, I have examples, I have stories that show there’s plenty of blame to
go around. I often talk about this situation because it’s something I hope to
help improve, and, most importantly, I want to see more women performing
because there’s only so many dick jokes I can bear.

Here’s the problem though: I
can’t write about it.

Not that I haven’t tried! On my
blog, when I wrote the story of the time I asked, like an idiot, a woman to not
be ”a typical female comic”, I sent the link to a friend and she asked me, ”Ok…
why are you writing about this?” As I was writing a long entry on today’s
topic, that question kept popping into my head, so I threw it out and wrote
this instead. I might as well write about what it’s like to be a black man in

I’m a white guy, the world is my
oyster. If I write that the problem is due solely to club owners not doing
enough to address the problem, that would be ok. But if I suggest things women
could do themselves to improve the situation, I’d come across as an asshole. Or
worse, that I’m mansplaining to female comics how they can fix things. Sigh.
Just writing that probably makes me an asshole.

I mean, I am an asshole, but I
don’t want to be an asshole about this. I want more women on stage! The crowd
wants diversity as well. As one of the women who approached me said, ”It’s not
that I didn’t think the men weren’t funny, I just would’ve liked one person I
could’ve related to.” Shows need different voices, different perspectives.

I’m happy to say that I’ve
encouraged a lot of rookies over the years. I’m not the most experienced comic
around, I just love standup, I appreciate talent, and I like to motivate comics
I think have potential. At the same time, I’ve encouraged only a few men,
because it rarely feels necessary. I’ve seen awful male comics keep at it,
never improving, with absolutely zero self-awareness. I myself may be one of
them. I won’t say that women need encouragement and men don’t, but I will say
that a lot of men could use some discouragement.