The Center for Women’s Studies will put on a student produced play, “Women Aren’t Funny” for the University of North Alabama Feb. 12 - 13. The play will take place in the Guillot University Center (GUC) Performance Center at 7 p.m.
The production of “Women Aren’t Funny” is a fundraiser for the Center for Women’s Studies as well as a charity event for One Place of the Shoals. The first night showing will be a “Pay What You Can Benefit,” whereas the second night, there will be a five dollar general admission. 90 percent of all the funds will go to the Center for Women’s Studies and 10 percent will go to One Place of the Shoals.
“'Women Aren't Funny' is a sketch comedy about gender issues ranging from workplace harassment to toxic masculinity that prevents men from expressing their emotions,” said Bonnie Smith, UNA sophomore and writer of the play. “It's set in modern times, with a handful of sketches in the same workplace and the rest of the sketches occurring in different places altogether. It ranges from dry and blunt to absolutely absurd, but never really sad.”
Smith said that she has written sketch comedy for a few years, but “Women Aren’t Funny” began out frustration.
“A lot of men around me and in the media genuinely believe that women aren’t funny, then will turn around and say ‘I should start a podcast,’” Smith said. “Most of these men are the most regular people I’ve ever met. Plus, the female experience is gross, clumsy and downright ridiculous at times.”
It is experiences like this that made Smith come up with the title for the play.
“[The title] is one of my favorite things about the show,” Smith said. “The title is the first joke … that women aren’t funny, a comedy written, followed by the fact that it’s a comedy written by a woman.”
Smith said she thinks that “Women Aren’t Funny” is more just for anyone who can stomach the language. Although it is a “very liberal show,” it is meant above all else to be inclusive of all people.
“I think as young people continue to grow their minds and expose themselves to new things it’s important to acknowledge that we are in no way passed the threshold of the women’s rights movement- especially in this current political climate and even more so in our area,” Smith said. “I think humor is one of the most effective ways to tap into an issue. Plus, most of my peers who don’t stay in the loop with sensitive issues because it’s a downer. I wanted to write something for them.”
The play was made possible with the help of many students. In addition to being student produced and written, a lot of the students pitched in to make the designs as well as aid in stage management.
Director for Women’s Center for Studies Lynne Rieff said that she appreciated the time and dedication that the students put into the “Women Aren’t Funny.”
“Bonnie has a wonderful sense of humor,” Rieff said. “[“Women Aren’t Funny”] is different. It’s something we don’t see that UNA. I’m really excited about the Women’s Center having the opportunity to sponsor this kind of performance and I’m excited for Bonnie and the cast because they worked really hard on getting this all together.”
Rieff said that the play is in the spirit of the American late-night live television sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live.”
““[The title, “Women Aren’t Funny”] is very absurdist,” Rieff said. “It’s very approachable, but there is a definite edge to it. I can remember when “Saturday Night Live” started and there were comments being made saying, ‘Well, women aren’t funny.’ There’s still those kinds of sexist attitudes that are around, that have been around for a long time.”
Rieff confirms that while the play touches on things such as harassment in the workplace, discrimination and disparity, it is a production for everyone.
“This is unique,” Rieff said. “Students will find it engaging. [But] it’s certainly for the larger community.”