Whitney Cummings, Lisa Lampanelli, Susie Essman, Joy Behar and 10 other stellar comedians will be part of The Venetian Las Vegas’ new all-female comedy series Lipshtick. Get it— because “shtick” is sort of a synonym for comedy and because girls LOVE lipstick? You may be asking yourself, why not just book these amazing comedians without creating an issue out of the fact none of them have dicks? Well, luckily John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo, has the answer. “Our success with comedic legends like Rita Rudner and Joan Rivers have proven that ‘girls rule’ when it comes to comedy,” Caparella says. “Further, we believe that female-driven comedy is now as popular as ever!”
“Female-driven” comedy. How about we celebrate “funny-driven” comedy. But he has a point. Women are indeed funny now — finally! — and “female-driven” comedy is very popular. But why must we get stuck on labels? I totally get that women in comedy are still overlooked at an unacceptable rate— but isn’t creating an “all-female” series or event or an entire production arm only adding to the idea that women and men are so fundamentally different as comedians, that some segregation is not only warranted but also better for business? Wouldn’t it make more of a statement if you announced a comedy series and just booked 10 women out of 13 total comedians. And maybe we can get to a point where when we can book a show with six female comedians and not even explicitly (or implicitly) address the lack of men. The more that happens, the quicker we can stop this whole women-vs-men in comedy issue that seems to pop up every few months online.
The Venetian further explains the reasoning for the Lipshtick series, explaining it “was designed to appeal to a target audience of couples, groups and bachelorette celebrants out for a uniquely ‘Vegas’ good time.” Ask any comedian – male or female – what they despise most about performing live, and they’ll likely say “bachelorette parties” or large groups. Also, hecklers—but a large percentage of hecklers, you’ll find, are part of one of the aforementioned entities.
And this has absolutely zero to do with the comedians involved in the series. Each one of them is either an icon, a veteran master or a future icon/veteran master—with the exception of Wendy Williams who is a very talented and popular daytime talk show host but not a comedian at all. And I’m glad, at the very least, the Venetian is booking not only popular comedians, but well-respected comedians. In addition to Williams and the four mentioned above, Jennifer Coolidge, Jen Kirkman, Natasha Leggero, Wendy Liebman, Loni Love, Heather McDonald, Caroline Rhea, Rita Rudner, Iliza Shlesinger are all scheduled to perform throughout the summer and fall. One final thing about this. As you can see from the photos, Cummings was there to help make the Lipshtick announcement, and yet the Venetian didn’t include one quote from her in their official release, but there’s five sentences from Caparella. It just seems a little counterintuitive in the context of celebrating women in comedy.