Jenny Collier row: Comedy promoter apologises after dropping female comic 'because venue did not want too many women on the bill'

Jenny Collier took to Twitter after she was dropped because the 'venue did not want too many women on the bill'

A comedy promoter has apologised for dropping a female comic from a bill after claiming to have come under pressure from a venue to reduce the number of women he had booked to appear there.

Comedian Jenny Collier was inundated with support when she revealed how she was told she was no longer required because three of the five acts confirmed to perform at a comedy show – with four still to book - were women.

She Tweeted the contents of an email sent by promoters Mirth Control which said: “The venue have decided that they don't want too many women on the bill, and unfortunately we need to take you out of this one. We hope that this doesn’t cause any inconvenience.”

Among those to re-post comments in her support following the cancellation were fellow comics Sarah Millican, Jason Manford and Gina Yashere.

Welsh-born Ms Collier was an Edinburgh Fringe Festival finalist in the 2013 So You Think You’re Funny? awards – the leading competition for amateur stand-ups which has helped launch the careers of Lee Mack and Peter Kay. 

She said she was “overwhelmed by the lovely support”. Mirth Control said “we apologise unreservedly for any offence caused” and that Ms Collier would be offered gig opportunities at other venues.

The company, founded by comedian Geoff Whiting in 1998, is the largest independent comedy booker in the UK. It said it “prides itself on championing women in comedy.”

In a statement published on the company’s website it added: “We will not accept a relationship with any client who wishes to exclude women entirely from all bills, this is a consistent policy that has spanned many years. However this request was not to place any 'ban' on female comics only to temper the numbers in order to suit their clientele.”

Read more: Women radio presenters under pressure 'to sound more like men'
Dara O'Briain: Ban on all-male panels will lead to 'token woman' tag
Replace 'tired male comics' with female talent, says Jenny Eclair
BBC to end all-male comedy panel shows

Last month the BBC provoked controversy when it said it would no longer broadcast all-male panel shows following criticism of a lack of female contributors to hit shows including QI, Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You.

Comedian Dara O'Brian, who presents Mock the Week, said it could lead to accusations of tokenism.

Mr Whiting said he had compered a previous event at the venue, a coffee shop in Surrey, in which three women appeared.

“We are glad that this important subject has come up for discussion and our policy of supporting and promoting female comedians is central to our core philosophy and will only be strengthened by an event such as this, indeed it has increased our resolve to ensure that they are given even more opportunities in future to perform for us and develop their craft at all the clubs with which we are associated,” the company added.

No one from the venue responded when asked to comment.

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)

comedy

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England