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Five Texas-based comedians talk sexism in comedy

From left to right: Moderator Stephanie Guerra; comedians Sonia Treviño, Avery Moore, Tori Pool, Genivive Clinton, and Angelina Martin.
Eric Guajardo
From left to right: Moderator Stephanie Guerra; comedians Sonia Treviño, Avery Moore, Tori Pool, Genivive Clinton, and Angelina Martin.

The second installment of TPR’s Creekside Comedy Sessions recently welcomed five Texas-based female comedians to the stage: Avery Moore (Amazon Prime), Angelina Martin (Comedy Central), Sonia Treviño (Funniest in the RGV), Genivive Clinton (Kill Tony Podcast), and TPR’s Tori Pool (Worth Repeating Podcast).

In their sets, the women discussed a wide array of topics — including growing up poor, attending catholic school, dating in San Antonio and losing a parent.

After the show, Stephanie Guerra — also known as PuroPinche — moderated a conversation on being a woman in comedy.

According to Census Bureau Statistics, 92% of standup comedians are men, leading to a challenging environment for female comics.

During the panel, Angelina Martin recalled a time when she was introduced after a male comic made jokes about sexual assault on stage.

“The host brings me up and he says, ‘Now for something a little different, we got a comic with a whole different set of genitals,” she said.

The host also called her by the wrong name.

“Do I use up my stage time to address this and roast the host and or do I just like, do my set? And I chose to do my set.”

During the pandemic, more women than men left the comedy scene. Martin recalls when one of her friends left comedy due to the sexist nature of open mics.

“I realized a lot of these sexist open mic’ers, they’re not getting booked on shows. So I told her that and she came back to comedy. Now she’s headlining,” Martin said.

Rio Grande Valley comedian Sonia Treviño said she was excited to participate in an all-female line-up. She’s the only active female comedian in the RGV.

“I get excited since I'm the only [female comedian] from the valley. I'm always with dudes all the time, so when I get the chance, I get excited,” she said.

Genivive Clinton noted that performing alongside other women provides an opportunity to build community.

“Because they're not just spending the whole time trying to be misogynistic and telling gay jokes, they're actually networking and like putting the foundation down for other people to come through,” Clinton explained.

The comedians also discussed a need to feel accepted. At times, this meant they refrained from discussing their intimate lives on stage. Avery Moore echoed this.

“I've spent 14 years not writing comedy about myself because I was worried that I was going to be seen as that kind of female comic — because of self-imposed, misogynistic views,” Moore said.

The women talked about the uninvited feedback they’ve received throughout their careers, including comments on physical appearances and advice on what jokes to make.

Tori Pool shared some of the unhelpful suggestions she received early on.

“They were like, if you want to be on the main stage, don’t talk about who you slept with or your vagina. Just write jokes and don’t talk about dating,” she said.

The five comedians agreed that the industry as a whole could do more to uplift women.

“There's a lot of really great opportunities, but they're still mostly going to white men with beards. The movie deals, the pilots, the scripts that they buy,” said Moore.

The second installment of TPR’s Creekside Comedy Sessions panel can be viewed here.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Kayla Padilla produces for The Source and is also a news reporter for Texas Public Radio.