By Danny Loose
On Tuesday, February 2, host and comedienne Taylor Rae Sikorski ushered in the first Women’s Comedy Open Mic at Ben Moore’s pub to great reception. The open mic prioritizes acts by women, transgender & gender nonconforming comedians.
I touched base with Taylor after the show about the event and the significance of creating a women/trans/gender-nonconforming centered comedy night. “I started this comedy night because I wanted more people to feel comfortable doing comedy. We’re lucky that in Olympia we have some diversity within the arts scene, I feel like it’s really important to create intentional spaces just so like, if you don’t wanna go hear the same shitty misogynist, racist, homophobic jokes then you can instead listen to interesting people that have really interesting perspectives,“ said Sikorski.
The opening night delivered on its promise to prioritize marginalized voices, and it was refreshing to attend a comedy night where cis white males were not the majority of performers. That being said, there is room for improvement for the ratio of comedians to comediennes. While most of the male comedians delivered solid material, the jokes told by women and trans identifying performers were far funnier, captivating, and came from a more productive place.
Sikorski is a very adept emcee in both her material and her control over the event: when a white male comedian started straying into offensive material, Sikorski didn’t hesitate to kick him off and then criticised his material in the context of the space.
When I asked Sikorski about the choice of venue for the new event she told me, “I was going to like look for a bunch of places to do it and this was the first one I came into and it was really empathic and weird. I didn’t go anywhere else because I’m lazy. [laughs] Also: fried shit and drinks. I like alcohol to be where I do comedy because I’m a spazz. Fried stuff is great too. It’s so cozy, and it’s really old and established. It feels really different from the other bars. And it’s big. And they have fried shit. It’s also definitely haunted too.”
The choice of venue seemed to be a different choice, not many students or young people frequent Ben Moore’s, but with it’s all ages status, a large performance space, fried food, and well priced drinks it made for a great atmosphere.
After a successful night of laughs and libations, I highly anticipate the next Women’s Comedy Open Mic. Taylor plans to hold the event “twice this month, every other Tuesday: first and third Tuesday of every month.” She also is considering “special features on a Saturday with 3 or 4 performers” so keep your eyes peeled. See you next Tuesday!