Monday, June 02, 2008

Close, But No Cigar

I Eat Pandas took off this past weekend to perform in one of our favorite places to date: Charleston, SC. The mix of Southern hospitality, palm trees, adorable stores and The Have Nots! (the improv group who are responsible for our presence there and the entire improv scene in Charleston) is a rare combination and you can mark my words we'll be back! Our shows were all nearly sold out (with the last one completely packed) and we performed with a brand new pianist from Chicago who we'd not only never met before but never played with! Jon Wagner is an all around great guy and great pianist and he really stepped up to the plate for our shows!

So yes, it was a great weekend.

And then today I got a google alert for a review of our show. Now let me just say that I'm open to what people have to say about us. Comedy is totally subjective, improv is not for everyone, musicals may not be your thing... I get it. We've never gotten bad press (most of our frustration comes from people assuming we pre-plan or write the stuff we do) and this review wasn't a negative review of our show by any means. In fact most of it is pretty sweet, if not a bit bizarre.

Until the last line.

I'll skip ahead for you (and then post the entire review below):

"In short, in a world where women are just not smart or funny, Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner manage to come pretty close."

I don't even know where to begin with that comment. When I initially read it I thought it must be a typo, right? There's no way A WOMAN would write something like that, is there? And I honestly still have trouble believing someone would write that without thinking twice. You are a woman writing a review of a comedy show for the Charleston City Paper. That must make you pretty smart, right? If not a genius then at least a competent, capable WOMAN, right? I mean no, we're not talking rocket science here but I'm no scientist and I consider myself pretty smart. Levels, people. And on top of that I have to think you thought your opening line, "Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner may have old lady names, but their musical improv is as young and fresh as it gets." was pretty funny. Otherwise you would have stuck to something bland and ho-hum like "Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner are a two-woman musical improv group." Sure it gets the point across but it doesn't have the humor of old lady names in it! (I honestly do think that's so bizarre it's funny. I'm not being condescending.)

So why, Meaghan Strickland, would you write such a thing?

I've been in these situations countless times. People... WOMEN... have said to my face "it's really great that you're a funny women because women really aren't funny." Blanket statement. Super douchie. And chances are (even though that is clearly not true) you aren't informed enough to say something like that. You haven't seen every female comedian out there. You wouldn't say something so dismissive and disrespectful about another race, would you? So why is this ok?

Oh but she said we "come close" so I guess it's not so bad, right?

Listen, if you are a woman who doesn't think women are funny (or smart?) let me just say this: As a female comedian I can attest to the fact that it's fucking hard to get our voices heard and appreciated the way men can. And most of the time "funny" has nothing to do with it. There are no shows on TV right now where the woman is the zany character who gets to have all the fun and the man plays it straight. That sucks. And honestly I kinda feel like every time a woman says "women aren't funny" I should work that much harder to get a TV show where my husband cleans up after my wild antics and my kids are in a crazy band with a dog named John BONE-ham playing the drums (NBC? Is that you at my door?). And I guess I do. But I also feel like... FUCK! If that's how you STILL FEEL after all the shit going on right now with women in comedy then I don't know what to do. So I just shut up, do my show and hope that will change your mind.

I know. Who cares what one person thinks. Blanket statements about one class, race or gender are never right and I know the truth so who cares, right? And if she had said this to my face you never would have heard about it but the fact that this has gone to print, is online and people are reading it makes me mad.

So, Meaghan, if you are reading this (and I hope you are) that was a shitty thing to write. If it was a typo then, lady, you gotta get someone to proof that shit. Writing on a blog like this I even worry about what I say and I only have like 6 readers including my mom!

But thanks for the kind things you did say, I guess.

Here's the entire review:


Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner may have old lady names, but their musical improv is as young and fresh as it gets.

In January, during the Charleston Comedy Festival, the musical improv duo I Eat Pandas blessed the Holy City with its presence. Pandas proved to be one of the major hits of the fest, performing sold-out shows for super-enthused crowds.

Immediately after performing here, I Eat Pandas took home the 2008 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group. Coincidence? Perhaps not. The pair’s return to the Lowcountry for Piccolo Fringe suggests that Chucktown is their good luck charm, they’ve recognized it, and are back for more. But, perhaps we’re reading too much into things.

For whatever reason, I Eat Pandas has returned, and we should consider ourselves the lucky ones.

I Eat Pandas’ opening show was another in a series of grand slam Charleston performances. The audience laughed and clapped their way through the three made-up-on-the-spot musicals. Considering that much of the audience identified themselves as repeat attendees, such audience affirmation becomes even more significant: it wasn’t just the novelty of musical improv that got the crowd going, but what the ladies were singing and how well they did it.

However, what really makes the performance isn’t the singing, it’s the exchange between the two gals. Despite the years of familiarity, they somehow managed to repeatedly make each other laugh, which is then doubly amusing for the audience. It’s both endearing and endlessly entertaining to watch two performers get a genuine kick out of each other.

Although technically not a part of the improv, and possibly demeaning to the art I Eat Pandas produces, it must be said: Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner are awesome dressers. If you don’t like to laugh or listen to music (read: if you are a huge freak), the women’s wardrobe might be enough to spurn your attendance at the next I Eat Pandas performance. Both comediennes rock sweet sneaks and enviable bling.

It is almost unbelievable watching two people spontaneously compose 50 minutes worth of musical theatre. Watching the two improvers actually eat pandas may be the only more awe-inspiring activity available. In short, in a world where women are just not smart or funny, Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner manage to come pretty close.

3 comments:

Jeffrey Marx said...

Meaghan Strickland is a cunt.

I'm a "man". Funny, right?

Anonymous said...

Really strange that I actually got a chance to read this, but my little brother's friend found it while googling me.

Anyways, HOLY SHOOT DANG, I was joking around. OF COURSE I THINK WOMEN ARE FUNNY!

Feel the same way you do about the roles for women on television and movies...word word word.

Plus, I am an aspiring comedian.

Long story short, I hope I didn't offend ya'll by saying you had old lady names (another joke) and I feel super weird that the closing line was not an obvious joke after four paragraphs of absolutely gushing over you guys.

I Eat Panda rocks hard core. Enough said.

PEACE.

All my love and support,

Meaghan Strickland (the "cunt"...yipees.)

John Hughes said...

Superb, this word is only apt for these two ladies.Mc Murray & Eliza skinner may have old lady names but their musical improv is as young and fresh.Pandas became one of the major hits of the fest.It was so melodious & enthralling that it fetchd them the 2008ECNY Award for best Improv Group.I feel it would be a great evening to listen to these ladies song with some famous
Cuban Cigars.