Women in Comedy Festival

Women in Comedy Festival accepting Live Show Submissions Through January 22nd

Stand-up comedian Teresa Lee performs at WICF 2017.

November 25th, 2017 — The Women in Comedy Festival (WICF) is the largest and fastest-growing female-focused festival in the country.  Now in its 9th year, the 2018 Women in Comedy Festival (WICF) will run from April 19-22nd in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA.

Live show submissions are open to comedians of all genders in the categories of stand-up, improv, sketch, and musical comedy. Applicants can submit their act at wicf.com/apply through January 22nd.

Kelly Edwards

“Throughout our history, many great female comedians have chosen HBO as the place to showcase their undeniable talents. Now more than ever, women’s voices need to amplified which is why we are excited to partner with WICF as they bring women and comedy front and center.”

Kelly EdwardsVice President of Talent Development, HBO

We’re thrilled to be sponsored in part by HBO this year.  Industry representatives from NBC, ABC, Starz and other will be at the festival searching for talent, leading panels, and sponsoring events. Kelly Edwards, Vice President of Talent Development expressed her thoughts on the importance of the Women in Comedy Festival. “Throughout our history, many great female comedians have chosen HBO as the place to showcase their undeniable talents. Now more than ever, women’s voices need to amplified which is why we are excited to partner with WICF as they bring women and comedy front and center.”

Past headliners include Jane Lynch, Maria Bamford, Amy Sedaris, Kristen Schaal, Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz, Lily Tomlin, Aparna Nancherla and many more. We look forward to announcing our headliners for 2018 very soon.

This year’s festival is particularly timely. “We are in the midst of a very important cultural moment, between the numerous allegations of abuse of power in the entertainment industry and the surfacing of misogyny, racism, and homophobia in the country’s discourse, now is the time for both greater communication between people who don’t hear enough fresh perspectives and a more representative slate of programming in television, film, digital content, and live performance”, says co-producer Michelle Barbera.

In addition to our headlining acts, WICF showcases hundreds of up-and-coming comedians each year. Part participants who’ve gone on to write and perform in television and film include Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), Nicole Byer (The Girl Code), Phoebe Robinson (2 Dope Queens), Michelle Wolf (The Daily Show), Jenny Zigrino (Bad Santa 2, IFC), Sam Jay (Saturday Night Live) and Josh Gondelman (Last Week with John Oliver.)

“Since WICF’s inception in 2009, the comedy climate for women has changed considerably, with many more high-profile women carrying their own television shows, films, and stage shows, not only in front of the camera, but behind the camera in producing, writing, and directing roles.

However, there is still much work to be done,” says Co-Producer Christine Cannavo. “The disparity between genders in all facets of comedy and entertainment is still striking.” A study by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism  found that women account for only one-third of speaking roles in major motion picture releases, create only 22% of television series, and directed only 9% of the 250 top-grossing films in 2014. 

“WICF is committed to building and maintaining its presence in the comedy world through as many outlets as possible, so that comedians of all stripes can gain additional visibility and support,” says co-producer Elyse Schuerman.  This includes producing and supporting more events throughout the year, further developing the film component of the festival, now in its third year, creating and supporting original podcasts, web-series, and other projects, and engaging with like-minded organizations and sponsors to further both WICF’s  mission and their own.