BettyFest empowers women in comedy —
November 20, 2018

BettyFest empowers women in comedy

By Carola Rivera

BettyFest 2018

BettyFest 2018 will bring a night of fierce lady comedy, including improv, sketch, and stand up, to the Historic Scoot Inn on Saturday, Nov. 3. The event will benefit the important work of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity.

BettyFest celebrates the diverse voices of women empowering the Austin comedy community. The festival aims to provide a safe space for sisters in comedy to perform without limitation and promote discussion and collaboration among women from all walks of life. By encouraging women to perform for those who lift them up, BettyFest hopes to help them discover their weird, authentic selves and gain the confidence to grow as inspiring leaders in comedy.

In 2017, BettyFest had over 250 attendees and raised more than $3,700 for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity and in 2016, BettyFest welcomed more than 200 attendees, raising more than $2,800 for SafePlace Austin.

The 2018 lineup includes Arielle + Lindsey, Scraps, Minority Report, Nikita Redkar, The Rose – Improvised Elimination Dating Comedy Shows, Harlequin Improv, Angelina Martin, My Secret Friend, Lilli + Molly, Girls Girls Girls, Say Uncle, That Time of the Month, Echo Lake Improv, Sheshesheshe – Improv, Carina Magyar, Roundhouse, Three on a Match, Lea’h Sampson, Martini Ranch, Arielle Norman, Garage, Loverboy Comedy, and Maggie Maye.

Writer, producer, and comedian Meghan Ross, the host of the women-run late night show “That Time of the Month,” will be one of the event’s featured personalities.  Currently directing and producing “An Uncomfortable Woman,” a dark comedy short film she wrote with Sam Stepp, she shares insights into the project.

“About a year ago, Sam [Stepp] and I started meeting up as writing accountability buddies,” Ross said. “During one of these meetings, Sam had just finished watching a disturbing amount of Lifetime movies on YouTube and we started discussing how they all have one theme in common: show women in pain, as a form of entertainment. We were both drawn to the dark comedy genre… Our idea developed further when we honed in on a woman dealing with her own personal trauma, and at the same time, experiencing the everyday behaviors of a patriarchal society.”

When asked about the importance of having a crew made up entirely of women and people of color, Ross expressed her reasoning behind that choice.

“It’s taken a long time for the TV/film industry to realize the importance of diverse casting when it comes to telling stories from the perspective of people of color,” she satated. “But booking a diverse crew and staff continues to be an afterthought for many studios and networks… That’s why another priority on this project was to have a crew that reflects the inclusiveness of the cast. And for me, that extends to booking women in roles that are often exclusively filled by men on set. I’ve witnessed this gender inequality in previous work experiences in the TV industry, as well as in the comedy scene with show lineups.”

BettyFest is co-produced by Lilli Lopez (Toxic Chakra improv), Kim Lowery (Loverboy improv) and Lindsey Moringey (SheSheSheShe improv). The co-producers have created a marathon-style comedy show featuring acts from around Austin and Central Texas. BettyFest also hosts ladies-only improv jams, mashup shows and BettyNights throughout the year across Austin.

The fifth annual BettyFest benefits the Lilith Fund for a second year in a row. The Lilith Fund is doing the groundwork every day in Texas to fight and protect women’s rights to equal access reproductive care. With Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court and the overall mission of the MeToo movement, BettyFest is thrilled to partner with this organization to shed light on the fight for reproductive equity through comedy, an often male-dominated space.

General admission tickets are $20 online and $25 on the day of the event. For tickets and more information, visit bettyfest.com.

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