“Cis Men Aren’t Funny”: Comedy Showcase Allows Women and Transgender Comedians to Reclaim the Mic From Standup Bros Everywhere


Ella Young ‘24
Staff Writer

On the evening of April 19, the Motley transformed from its usual coffeehouse to an ad hoc comedy club. It hosted the second annual “Cis Men Aren’t Funny” comedy night, sponsored by 5C satire newspaper The Golden Antlers. The showcase aims to empower women, transgender individuals, and other gender minorities in comedy.

The event featured seven student performers who gave an original stand-up comedy set to the packed coffeehouse. The comedians explored a wide variety of themes in their sets, including gender, queerness, Seal Court bathrooms, and Taylor Swift.

The event is the brainchild of Ella Lehavi ‘24, Events Coordinator for the Golden Antlers. Lehavi conceptualized and spearheaded the event in its original form last year, aiming to create a more welcoming space in standup.

“There are a lot of times that women and transgender people are treated as the butt of jokes in comedy by male comedians, or specifically in stand-up, and a lot of times women and transgender comedians are pushed back,” they said. “I wanted an event on our campus that centered and uplifted these people. Especially as someone as a part of the Golden Antlers, I felt like we, as an organization in comedy, had a responsibility to bring those voices to the forefront.”

Last year’s Golden Antlers editors chose the event’s name to humorously reflect this centering of marginalized voices. Despite the acerbic nature of ‘Cis Men Aren’t Funny,’ the name has been well received by students at the colleges.

“We haven’t really gotten that much pushback on campus,” Lehavi said. “We had a few Instagram comments, but that’s it. I think most people understand why there’s an event like this or that it’s okay for cis men to step back for a night.” Lehavi clarified that the name is all in good fun. “I don’t hate cis men. My dad’s a cis man; I love my dad. My brothers are cis men; I’m okay with my brothers sometimes.”

For this year’s showcase, Lehavi served as the primary coordinator, organizing the event and liaising with the Motley to ensure everything ran smoothly. They also put together the line-up, emceed the event, and performed an opening set. Performers came from Golden Antlers, Without a Box, Stand Up Sit Down, and other on-campus performance clubs. Lehavi credits them with being crucial to the event.

“It’s a lot of [the performers] carrying the event, though; they’re doing most of the speaking and the talking,” they said. “And the Motley for giving us their place. And again, it’s the people who show up ready to laugh and enjoy and to make that community that I think are also pretty important.”

This “readiness to laugh” is one of the key differences that Lehavi and others appreciated about the event. Annie Bragdon ‘26, a member of the Golden Antlers and a performer in the showcase, first tried standup at last year’s iteration of ‘Cis Men Aren’t Funny.’ Bragdon recollected that the welcoming crowd environment fostered a safe and productive environment for her first stand-up attempt.

“The crowd was really good: people that come because they want to laugh,” she said. “I feel like sometimes people go to comedy shows trying to be like ‘I bet they can’t make me laugh.’ I feel like that’s just really not the case here.”

Lehavi echoed Bragdon’s appreciation for a receptive audience because it empowers the performers to enjoy the experience.

“People I feel like come here because there’s that bit of I want to be a community and I want to uplift comedians from this group that I care about,” Lehavi said. “I think that means the crowd’s a lot of times more ready to laugh, they already have a connection with the people standing behind the microphone. You get up there on stage, and you don’t need to prove yourself in the way that you would at another standup event.”

As a senior, this year is Lehavi’s last opportunity to organize the ‘Cis Men Aren’t Funny’ showcase, but they are optimistic about the event’s future.

“I’m hoping that the Golden Antlers makes this an annual tradition,” they said. “I feel like there’s enough enthusiasm and people who want and feel a demand for an event like this if we set that as one of our goals.”

This tradition works toward the overall goal of empowering gender minorities in comedy—minorities that are often overlooked.

“I feel like a lot of time women and transgender people are conversationally pushed aside or expected to take up less space or be quiet,” said Lehavi. “But I think for that reason, you shouldn’t let that stop you, and if you want to do this type of thing, do this type of thing. Worst case, people don’t laugh.”

Through initiatives like this, Lehavi and the rest of the Golden Antlers hope to expand the reach of comedy and promote inclusivity within it. If you want to try out standup, Lehavi recommends looking to the Golden Antlers or Stand Up Sit Down for support.

“I’m a strong believer that if you’re conversationally funny, then you can do standup,” they said. “Because it’s just a question of being more deliberate about how you’re conversationally funny, and I think that sort of deliberation is a skill that anyone can learn.”


Photo Courtesy of Belen Yudess ’25

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