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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

March brings feminist comedy series to Malcolm Yards

The Market at Malcolm Yards hosts women comics every Wednesday this month in the Pay Gap Comedy Series.
Gabby OK performs at the March 8 Pay Gap Series at Malcolm Yards Market, hosted by Rock What You Got. Photo courtesy of Rock What You Got.

National and local comics are performing at The Market at Malcolm Yards’ Pay Gap Comedy Series, a show designed to highlight women and nonbinary people, every Wednesday during Women’s History Month.

The food hall in Prospect Park hosts the series with about four performers each night. The shows are free of charge with donations encouraged.

The comedy series is arranged by Rock What You Got, a St. Paul-based organization that amplifies the voices of women and nonbinary people through education and entertainment.

Carolyn Pool, an event specialist with Rock What You Got, said they came up with the idea several years ago after a national comedy tour failed to include women comedians. In response, Pool and others partnered with Twin Cities venues to host female comics, selling out their shows.

“That told us something. That one, women are funny, and two, people want to see women be funny,” Pool said.

At the show on March 1, performances by Ashli Henderson, Wendy Maybury and more were met by a lively crowd.

“When you can say something that gets a crowd of people laughing, there’s no other high,” Henderson said.

With more than 97,000 Instagram followers, Henderson uses comedy to discuss her experiences as a mother, a Black woman and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The Pay Gap series’ focus on women excited Henderson.

“I live in this body everyday — you know what I’m saying — and I have so many different experiences on so many different levels as a woman,” Henderson said.

Aspen Hoppie, an audience member at the March 1 performance, found the comedians’ subject matter refreshing.

“We don’t get to talk about this stuff in everyday life,” she said, referring to the comedians’ discussions of sex and womanhood. “It’s fun to be in an environment where people are just fully out there.”

“My whole life I’ve just paid attention to what makes people laugh,” said Cianna Violet, a comedian who performed with the Pay Gap Comedy Series on March 15. Violet has been pursuing comedy for about two years and also produces a show called Ladies Night at The Terminal Bar in Northeast Minneapolis.

Violet said there are a lot of women in comedy in the Twin Cities, but she still sometimes feels her perspective is misunderstood. She is burdened by the thought that her performance will impact the way audiences treat other female comedians in the future, she said.

The biggest thing Pool has learned organizing the series is the Twin Cities comedy scene is highly diverse and very funny. In addition to being woman-focused, Rock What You Got aims to include a racially diverse group of people.

“All art is going to die if we just keep pandering to one group of people,” Pool said.

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