Lady Parts Improv takes action in community

Mai Vu and Mai Vu

What do you think of the words “improv comedy”? It is funny. However, do you realize most of them are men, there are a lot of jokes about rape and sexual assault and there are a lot of stereotypes about women?

Lady Parts Comedy is the first improv team on campus with just female-identifying, non-binary and trans performers.

“Women, specifically, on the teams felt singled out, ostracized, and undervalued on teams. Women were forced to play stereotypical roles for women such as mothers, teachers, or strippers even. This alienated both women on the teams and in the audience,” Erika Lindsey, the director of Lady Parts, said about the history of the team. 

In the past, there has been a lot of improv groups on campus. However, most of the members are men and they often make jokes about stereotypes of women. As a consequence, the group is a safe space without harmful jokes and judgment for those with marginalized identities. 

“Comedy typically has been a male-dominated arena where the butt of the jokes are always minorities whether they are ethnic, gender, sexual minorities or other marginalized groups. Even if it is unintentional, in the presence of men you might experience feeling uncomfortable or unable to perform how you want to,” Erika said.

With that being said, the director of the groups stressed the importance of a space where marginalized identities feel belonged, understood and accepted. 

“As an intersectional feminist organization, our goal as a team is to advocate for the equal and inclusive representation of minorities in comedy. Another goal is to simply create an environment where we can express ourselves freely and show the world that it is not just men who are funny,” Erika said. 

As an improv team of the marginalized identities, the group assures that they have a diverse representation in the team and that they do not produce any content which perpetuates harmful stereotypes about minority groups. 

“We both tell stories coming from our own experiences with marginalization, as well as just stories from life in general,” Erika said. 

The most essential thing about their stories is connection: connection to real-life experience, connection with the characters and connection with a wide range of people. They want their audience to see themselves in the positive light of comedy. 

Lady Parts is hosting a show titled “The Women in Comedy” on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Union Theatre. It is suggested to have a $5 donation at the door as all donations will benefit The Cocoon.

“The purpose of this show is truly to share our platform and empower The Cocoon, other performers, and student groups both on and off our campus. It is an awesome event and goes to support those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault in our community,” Erika said.