V Festival Fails To Book A Single Woman For Their Comedy Tent

V Festival claims no women 'were available' to take part in their Glee Comedy Line Up. Stevie Martin says 'NOT COOL, BRAHS.'


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

The Virgin festival have announced the lineup for their Glee comedy tent and it doesn't contain a single female comedian. Which sends out a really great message and doesn't make me boil with rage. This is sarcasm.

The 26-strong bill for the Glee comedy tent at the Virgin Festival includes Alan Carr and Adam Hills but very few boobs. None, in fact. The reason the festival gave, of course, is that 'no one was available' which ranks fairly highly on the Piss Poor Excuse scale but, on the other hand, thank God there were some men available. Otherwise they'd have had to start booking children. Or pugs. Or holograms.

As someone who is both female, and getting into comedy, being on all-male bills is both 'the usual' and something it is futile to moan about. Watching sitcoms and seeing women who you know are fucking hilarious playing the boring-but-hot neighbour to a male main cast with all the great lines is also 'the usual' and something you can't really moan about.

Moaning doesn't really get us anywhere; when the lack of female talent on TV panel shows was brought up last year, the BBC decided to enforce a token woman on every panel rule. Which - while the intentions were good- both demeans the female talent that already kicks arse on TV (as everyone will be presuming they're just token) and implies that women have to be brought in rather than get on those shows off the back of their own talent.

All the while, Andy Parsons remains on our TV screens. I mean, honestly, I've got more comic timing in my badoinkadoink than Andy Parsons has in an entire series of Mock The Week, and I'm not even that funny.

If this was applied to festivals, then it'll resolve the issue just as problematically; with loads of blank faced live-bookers rolling their eyes at the prospect of having to book the least amount of female comedians they can get away with. While there isn't an immediate solution (other than 'stop choosing the male names') and the problem is surely rooted in the gender imbalance of TV exposure ('TV commissioners, stop choosing the male names'), you've got to make sure the basics are covered. And those basics include not booking an all-male lineup at a wildly popular festival when it's 2014.

Comedian Jen Brister spoke to The Independent, pointing out that all the guys on the V Festival bill are on TV anyway, and don't really need the profile: 'These guys are on the telly already. They don’t need to keep doing Edinburgh, shouting, "Look at me, look at me!". Far fewer women have already met that level of success; they aren’t in the public eye like men are - yet who is constantly being pushed into the limelight? Predominantly young men. Who are being told they are not quite up to it? Women."

While the comedy industry is moving towards equality - 'There is a change definitely in the circuit and it is gradually becoming more normal to see more than one woman on the bill,' says Jen - this latest lineup reveals how far we still have to go.

There doesn't seem to be any movement towards altering the bill as of yet and, to be quite frank, who wants to be the token woman on a festival lineup? Yeah, that'd be a really good gig. Let's just hope that all the other festivals take note and this DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. OK? Good.

Follow Stevie on Twitter @5teviem

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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