Laugh Like a Woman: Tucson Women’s Comedy Festival

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Getting the full disclosure out of the way: I’m a member of the Tucson Improv Movement company. I’m not performing in the TIM-hosted first Tucson Women’s Comedy Festival Feb. 23 through 25, but as a 72-year-old woman, I can attest to TIM’s commitment to diversity!

“Sometimes women … feel uncomfortable going into a situation that doesn't have diversity. They don't feel represented,” says TIM cast member and festival organizer Catherine Bartlett.

“I'm really excited about the diverse lineup we’ll have,” she says. “We’re doing high-end improv. We have an all-girl lineup of standup comedians. “We have storytellers and we are offering workshops.” There also will be an “allies” panel on Saturday, Feb. 25. Its purpose is to air issues that can make it difficult for women to thrive in the man’s world of comedy.

“I think the whole weekend will be exciting,” Bartlett says. “Tucson is just rife with really interesting, really talented, very fun ladies.” The event also has drawn guests from out of town. Torch Theater Company’s Mail Order Bride were the first all-woman improv team to form in Phoenix. “Those ladies have now weathered 10 years of each other’s lives doing improv together,” Bartlett says.

Another visiting improv team is Animàl, Hispanic twins from LA. Both out-of-town teams are featured in Saturday night’s four-show lineup benefiting Project Period, an initiative of the YWCA of Southern Arizona. Project Period provides sanitary supplies to anyone who can’t afford them.

Performing Tucsonans include TIM’s all-female team, The Riveters, Unscrewed Theatre’s The Ex-Boyfriends (formerly Betch), FST storytellers and, styling themselves as the MISSfits, stand-up comedians Kristine Levine, Brigitte Thum, Mo Urban, Roxy Merrari, Amber Frame and, from Phoenix, Sari Beliak.

TWCF ticket holders will receive one door-prize ticket for each package of sanitary pads or tampons they bring to any Saturday show. Prizes are gift certificates from sponsors including Hotel Congress, Hydra, KXCI, Floor Polish, 5 Points Market, and several other women-run businesses.

Tucson Improv Movement is at 329 W. Seventh St. TWCF Shows are at 7:30 and 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23; 7:30, 9 and 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24; and 6, 7:30, 9 and 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25. Each show is $5. Complete information and advance tickets are at tucsonimprov.com/twcf. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

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