Date: 5:30pm EDT March 25

Open Mic?: Gender, Labor, and Gatekeeping in Stand-up Comedy - A Talk by Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at  Saint Louis University. 

She holds an M.A. in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Media and Communications from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her most recent projects include work on gender, authenticity, and  gatekeeping in stand-up comedy; podcasting; and social television fandom. Her work appears in Flow Journal, In Media Res, Transformative Works and Cultures, Studies in American Humor and the forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Gender, Media and Communication.

In this talk, Dr. Brown will discuss the gendered labor of becoming a successful stand-up comic. Stand-up comedy, like other cultural industries, is marked by short-term precarious employment, informal networks of entry, and a lack of managerial structure or formal policies on diversity and inclusion. The industry thus tends to produce and exacerbate gendered and racial inequality, especially at the local, least formalized levels. Dr. Brown focus primarily on local stand-up comedy scenes as the start of the comedy industrial pipeline, drawing on interviews with comics performing in Chicago. She’ll also touch on the ways in which women, especially queer women and women of color, are treated within the stand-up industry - locally, nationally, and in digital spaces— as outsiders who must constantly prove their worth through a shifting and slippery set of aesthetic and cultural norms that reinforce masculine dominance both on and offstage.