The Second Annual All Jane No Dick Comedy Festival is returning to Portland, Oregon on October 17th-20th. The first and only festival of its kind, this four-day event features a carefully-curated blend of the best rising comedic performers from across the country. It just so happens that AJND is a festival featuring the finest of the X-chromosomes, IE an all-female line up. Now there’ll always be the argument that highlighting the women of comedy further divides the gap that we’re trying so hard to close. That mentioning a fabulous comedian who happens to be a woman makes it about gender when it’s not, but that is not at all the intention of the festival says Artist Director, Stacey Hallal.
“The fest is a self-indulgent labor of love,” jokes Hallal. “I just pick all my favorite comedians.” Any question about her intended exclusivity is quickly cleared up with factual evidence. “I just keep coming back to the statistics, that women represent 17-19% of comedy industry,” Hallal explains. “There are so many funny women; there is just no excuse for that. [With AJND] I concentrate on one goal, to increase the visibility of women. This is my dream, that I hope gets bigger with time.” While last years inaugural weekend was already a who’s who of break out comedians, this year has found the fest in it’s stride, featuring THE list of who you should be watching out for, and who’s about to break out.
All Jane No Dick 2013’s schedule includes stand-up showcases, improv, sketches, panel discussions, workshops, and the Portland premiere of the documentary feature Women Aren’t Funny, produced and directed by headliner Bonnie McFarlane (BUST’s Lady Laugh-in, HBO One-Night Stand, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing). This year’s lineup also includes national acts Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the New Black, The To-Do List, Are You There Chelsea?), Cameron Esposito (The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, “Put Your Hands Together”), Aparna Nancherla and Janine Brito (writers and performers on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell) and Kyle Mizono as well as local favorites, Whitney Streed, Barbara Holm, JoAnn Schinderle, Susan Rice, Amy Miller, and Virginia Jones.
“I want to keep it very small,” explains Hallal. “I want you to be able to see every comic be amazing and unique and it can’t be too big for that to happen. We keep it small, only women and tightly curated.” When asked about facing criticism of separating the women from men, Hallal says simply, “My personal preference is to present the best…I’m focusing on women until they’re equally represented.
Eventually, Hallal would like to see the festival evolve into a tour, taking the standout acts one the road to mingle with up and coming local acts. In the meantime, while you’re anxiously awaiting the impending wave of funny ladies to come to your town, gear up for AJND’s first ever podcast. Hallal and company are planning to gather content from the coming weekend, interviews and performances, for a first episode.
“I just hope that people come,’ Hallal says. “We grew this year, and we took bigger risks. I’m so proud of everyone performing, and I feel bad for anyone who misses it. I just want everyone to know how good it will be, because if they knew, they’d be here.”