Happy International Women's Day, Woman!

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Growing up I had a dad who joked about EVERYTHING. He joked with me and my sister about never seeing our mom again when he dropped her off to run errands—we screamed from the backseat. (This joke turned out to be a bit prophetic as she disappeared from our lives years later.) When my aunt was dying of cancer he would make terminal cancer jokes constantly; he couldn’t help himself. He also used to lean in and ask us how much we thought he loved us, and then would outstretch his arms only to slap our faces.

When I first got started in comedy it was in Montreal, I didn’t know of any other women producers, and only knew of one woman comedian who produced shows (Eman El Husseini). In general, the scene in 2009/2010 was small, keeping in mind that Montreal itself is sort of small: few comics were active, there wasn’t much stage time available—and the community was mostly made up of men.

Sasha Manoli

I’ve loved comedy since my early 20's, when I first became conscious of it as an art form at an open mic in a bar. That was seven years ago. At the time I was finishing up a creative writing degree, thinking I’d make a career for myself in publishing—then my world shifted. I found out that a local promoter wanted to do a comedy night, and put my hat in the ring on the condition that I could develop a concept show. Now I’m doing what feels to me like breathing or eating full time—producing comedy.

It’s hard not to look back and think of now versus then. Today there all kinds of women doing all kinds of jobs in comedy. Technically, this has been the case for a long while; the difference today is visibility. Female voices onstage and behind the scenes have gotten louder in my opinion. This excites me beyond words, because what I love most about comedy is its flexibility and potential for inclusivity. Distinct and authentic voices are what people fall in love with—the way they’re packaged just has to be funny.

Brunch Club has always been predominantly run by women. Sophia Salador and I co-founded it together. Although Sophia is now fully dedicated to her j-o-b and the amazing work she does at Just For Laughs, she helped bring the organization to life, along with the help of Iain MacNeil and Deirdre Trudeau. Brunch Club is now two years old, and the majority of our organization is women. This was a happy accident at first. Now it feels more like a mission. I want to hear more voices from all kinds of people and I want the Brunch Club to be a space where those voices can get the airtime they deserve. 

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Listen, I could go on for days so I'm gonna wrap this up but saying that at the end of the day it's the men who love, support, and give us permission to be strong that make us the beautiful beys we are. JK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You got Sophie Trudeau'ed!

My real message this International Women's Day is that I am in aw of the women around me. Things are far from perfect but even in my short lifetime it feels like it's never been a better time to be a women fighting for other women.