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Friday January 28th

We the Ladies is creating new spaces for women in comedy

We The Ladies, a new comedy group on campus, aims to make comedy a more inclusive space. Photo courtesy of Laura Barnes.
Buy Photos We The Ladies, a new comedy group on campus, aims to make comedy a more inclusive space. Photo courtesy of Laura Barnes.

We the Ladies, an all-female comedy group, is hosting a charity show titled “Everything’s Fine: A celebration of total and complete gender equality (finally!)” at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Might As Well on Franklin Street.  

We the Ladies was formed by a group of six women who felt like the voices and thoughts of women at UNC were not being fully appreciated in the world of student-led comedic organizations. 

Ellie Rodriguez, one of the founders of We the Ladies, said that it is important to cultivate a space in comedy where the voices of women can be heard. 

“We are women looking to have a space to say what we want in terms of comedy,” Rodriguez said. “That is not really to say that the climate here has been antagonistic or out to get women — there is not any evilness to it, but that doesn’t mean that there has been a space dedicated solely to this purpose.” 

The founders of We the Ladies are all members of False Profits, and while they still feel a strong sense of community with the group, they still want a space that is created and cultivated by women. 

"(False Profits) are my go-to, and it’s curious to me that you can still be uncomfortable in a community that you love and cherish,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like that could be representative of a lot of people’s experiences at Carolina. You can love this school, you can be a born, bred, dead Tar Heel and you can still be made to feel undervalued or underappreciated or just not listened to, and so I think this is a good thing.”

Laura Barnes, one of the co-founders of We the Ladies, said that it is crucial for women in comedy to be able to create and edit their own personal content. 

“I think just having a space where men aren’t the gatekeepers is important to me, and sometimes it’s hard to just go out in the world and say ‘Stuff women like is important.’” Barnes said. “It’s silly because it’s comedy, but women might be interested in hearing different types of comedy than men are, and to have a space initiated by women, which none of our comedy spaces on campus are, is really something that we think will be able to get more people involved.” 

We the Ladies welcomes those who feel as if their voices are underappreciated in the world of campus comedy. 

“We’re just trying to create a space for people who feel like comedy doesn’t value their voice as much,” Rodriguez said. “I come from a cis-female background and that is not the requirement for getting in or submitting something, so whatever makes people feel like ‘This isn’t a space I feel comfortable in,’ or ‘This isn’t a space that wants me,’ — this is that space now.”  

“Everything’s Fine: A celebration of total and complete gender equality (finally!)” is completely submission-based. Submissions can be sent into wetheladiesunc@gmail.com and are open until Oct. 22. They are taking stand up, sketches, poetry and anything else comedic. 

“One thing is that we’re hoping to get a lot of people participating in the show,” Barnes said. “We do have groups on campus that have open participation, so we’re trying to get people who don’t necessarily want to do comedy every day of the week.”  

All proceeds from the show are going to the Compass Center for Women and Families.

“They help victims of domestic violence and other things like help people with job interviews," Barnes said. "They actually have a list of toiletries that they need, so for our show you’ll either be able to pay $5 admission or provide one of the items from the list of toiletries.” 

Shea Stanley, one of the co-founders of We the Ladies, said that they wanted to put on the show to both create a space for women, as well as help the community. 

“We already wanted to do a charity show and help people of the community, and then we thought it would be better to have a more organized group to put this show on,” Stanley said. “We want to raise money for the Compass Center; they do great work.” 

Rodriguez said there's a need for more representation in comedy. 

“As much as I think like an all-female comedy group is important, I also think a variety of female performers is really important especially in comedy," Rodriguez said. "We always make this joke that ‘Amy Schumer is the only woman in comedy. The only one.’ And there’s no way that one perspective can represent every women’s approach to comedy just as the word woman can’t really understand every woman’s experience, whatever woman means to you.” 

The group wants to make sure that the voices of women are heard both at UNC and beyond.

“I think it’s just really, really important to just have a space — if it takes an all-women comedy group to do it, fine, but to have a space that’s like, ‘Let’s get a diversity of ideas here,'” Rodriguez said.

@beccafiely

arts@dailytarheel.com

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