by Abby Plener
Scene: A group of white, university-educated, twenty-somethings gather at a hip Toronto bar. The conversation turns to comedian Daniel Tosh and that stupidly offensive rape joke he made. A male member of the group tries man-splain to us all that you can’t have comedy without offending people. A female member of the group tries to the counter his argument. It’s annoying. The conversation goes nowhere. It’s still annoying.
Well, I think I found my rebuttal. In an effort to strengthen my argument and explore comedy’s positive potential, I sat down with toronto comic Catherine McCormick. McCormick produces the weekly Laughs at Slack’s open mic which exclusively showcases LGBT and female talent, and has often been outspoken about sexism in the stand-up community.
Q: What inspired you to produce the Laughs at Slack’s show?
A: I was really frustrated because a lot of my friends who were women and fellow queer people were dropping out of comedy like flies. I wanted to start a place that was positive where people could come and try it out as new comics, and for people who wanted to watch comedy that wasn’t the usual bro rape jokes.
Q: What have you learned from doing the show over the past year?
I’ve learned that there’s a really amazing, vibrant community of comics who don’t participate in negativity. There are a lot of women, especially I find a lot of women over 30, who are creating their own audiences. There’s a queer comedy scene that while it’s small it’s definitely powerful. My show is not meant to celebrate the exclusion of straight men, but to make a statement that there is an audience who would like to see a show of this nature.(more inside…)