Comedy Updates and Contests: Female Comics are Rockin it!

Former Student Hannah Gadsby Nabs Netflix Special

If you haven’t seen, Australian comic Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WATCH, here is the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aE29fiatQ0.


I met Hannah when she was a student in my standup workshop in Melbourne, Australia. Five years later, she is an international sensation. Why? Because she is not only funny, she goes BEYOND FUNNY to create a new form of comedy that leaves the audience not just laughing, but INSPIRED.  

After watching her Around forty minutes into her act, she announces that she’s quitting comedy.

“It’s probably not the forum, to make such an announcement, is it? In the middle of a comedy show,” she laughs, explaining that doing self-deprecating jokes about being a masculine-presenting lesbian no longer makes her comfortable. “It’s not humility, it’s humiliation,” she says.

She goes on to DECONSTRUCT COMEDY, telling that when you restrict yourself to jokes, you can’t tell the full story. By recounting traumatic experiences and raging against sexism and homophobia with passion and authenticity. 

Inspired by Hannah, I decided to experiment with NOT BEING FUNNY in a gig I did for Genentech, a pharmaceutical company in Northern California. 

I was hired to perform for three days, opening up each morning with 15 minutes.

Day 1: I made people laugh.

Day 2: I was super funny.

Day 3: I worked up the courage to do something incredibly scary and told a powerful story with NO attempts at being funny. It was a story that I told in my book The Message of You that was about connecting to an audience at the Spinal Injury Unit at the VA hospital with a story about my sister Marsha who was severely disabled. I allowed myself to cry onstage. It wasn’t at all comfortable. But…

THAT morning I got a STANDING OVATION. THAT was the performance that caused the head of the event to take me outside and tell me, with tears in her eyes, how moved she was. 

Thank you, Hannah, for inspiring me to take a chance. Not going for laughs made me feel vulnerable and wobbly, creating the feeling that I was bombing. I’d been operating on the premise that in these times of uncertainty, fear and hopelessness, people want to laugh. But, they also respond to hearing a personal story that’s meaningful and not necessarily funny.

Have you ever watched a comedian or humorist on stage and thought...I can do that! Good news - Enter the Jeanne Robertson Humor Competition to get cash and a gig.

First place receives $1,000
Second place receives $500
Third place receives $250

Click here to enter.

Paula Poundstone Launches Free Podcast

Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone is a comedy field guide to life, or at least a set of IKEA assembly instructions. Where else can you find advice on topics from "How to Keep a Friend" to "How to Translate Your Verizon Bill" Or even "What Do I Do if I Encounter a Bear” and "Should I Get a Penis Piercing?”

Paula and her co-host, Adam Felber, bring on leading expert guests and use their unique comedic sensibility to help us navigate life in the 21st century. 

This is a must listen. Click here

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.