Edinburgh Festival / Day 11: Side View: Women in comedy: Rachel Berger on modern sirens

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The Independent Culture
'It has long been assumed that women are on stage for the benefit of the male gaze. Historically, solo women comics came out of chorus lines and were considered floozies because comedy was performed in saloons, where no 'decent' woman would be seen. Their material was often written by men, so a stereotype of self-deprecating female comedians developed. It wasn't until the late 1960s that women gained their own voice, and it's made some people uncomfortable. Our numbers grow every year, and we're not just doing 'wimmin's' material and jokes about tampons. Each performance style is created at a different salon: Jenny Eclair's teased bouffant comedy, Hattie Hayridge's freshly-coiffed jokes, Rhona Cameron's slicked-back approach, and Donna McPhail's unruly stories. My show's called Comedy Siren: a reference to the mythical sirens who lured sailors to their deaths. Like Medusa's hair full of snakes, a woman's voice is still perceived to be dangerous.'

'Comedy Siren' is at The Pleasance (venue 33) until 29 August (Booking: 031-556 6550)

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