Very pleased to see that after ~30 years of protecting a known rapist, and ~8 months after his resignation (which only came after les couragueses, a group of 20+ women who he allegedly assaulted demanded it) JFL has put out a statement in support of the women who have accused Rozon of sexual misconduct and changed their sexual assault policy! And all it took was two people who do not work for them to tell them exactly what they needed to do, earning $0 to do it.
Despite all of the above, I am taking this as a victory- just a very small one. I’m not gonna toot a vuvuzela over women identifying and nonbinary folks getting the bare minimum they should have always had.
I truly do hope these changes make it easier for women identifying and nonbinary performers, especially those of colour and those who are queer, to be able to work at/perform at the festival in a more similar capacity to their more privileged colleagues. I am curious to know more about the new policy they have created. I am curious to see if it provides more for their employees than their old policy did.
I also hope that JFL’s statement offers even a small amount of relief for the women who have come forward against Rozon, despite it being much too little, much too late.
And DeAnne is 100% correct. Her voice is essential at the festival and she should keep her spots.
As I’m sure is obvious at this point, my personal belief is that a stronger message is sent in refusing to accept mediocre treatment than to operate within it. As a white performer who already has a JFL credit and is not relying on the money for food/rent, I feel I had the privilege to act on that opinion.
As Celeste pointed out to me- it is not my job to demand that the festival change. My only job is to be a comedian. But a combination of what I believe is my moral responsibility and the reality that JFL’s former shitty policies did directly affect me as a woman trying to navigate their festival is what caused me to boycott the festival.
Ultimately only Just for Laughs is responsible for making themselves more accessible. They absolutely failed to do so, so external action had to be taken. That external action should have been by some band of white cishet Funky Peters who have done the fest a handful of times. But they didn’t.
I am rooting for each and every woman identifying/nonbinary performer, particularly those who are of colour and/or queer, who are doing JFL this year. They deserve the credits and money and they don’t owe JFL an education, especially at the expense of their careers.
Here’s hoping next year we’ll make up more than ~30 % of the JFL proper line up!
I won a taping for The Comedy Network by placing first at the Homegrown Comics Competition at Just For laughs in 2017.
I turned it down because Rozon resigning is a surface level solution for a systemic problem.
If Rozon truly did resign (and wasn't fired) JFL has done virtually nothing to:
-address keeping him on after he was charged in a court of law for sexually assaulting a 19 year old in 1998
-offer a statement recognizing their role in enabling 20+ alleged assaults (by allowing him to keep his job) brought forward by Les Couragueses, as at least 9 happened on festival grounds or in relation to his business/position at the festival (https://www.ledevoir.com/soc…/510755/gilbert-rozon-demission)
-publicly announce a plan of action to reform their sexual harassment/assault reporting procedure, or implementation of revamped training to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace
-put forward suggestions of proactive efforts to value women, like addressing the disparity between female/ non-binary identifying performers to male performers in JFL proper shows (as we now make up >30%)
Canadian comedians need the credits JFL can offer. I don't want to burn the institution to the ground- I just want it to give a shit about the women/nonbinary people who work at it, perform at it, and attend it. My hope is that going public may get the wheels turning.
This article/interview explains my stance. Massive thanks to Celeste for doing all of the work necessary to put this article together and get it published. She's a god, give her your money at her website here.
Montreal Gazette theatre critic, Jim Burke, came to see Fringe: Improvised and reviewed it on his blog, saying some sweet things about how David and I are "two skilled and naturally funny improvisers" and that the show was "terrifically entertaining." See the full review here.
Bad Feeling interviewed me about my shows at Ladyfest and how I was doing after Just For Laughs. They said some nice things about me, like, "she’s woke to the current situation in the comedy scene, how she makes people laugh is so intuitive, and her stand up comedy brings to the front so clearly what you’ve been trying to express into words for so long."
In the interview I got to talk a bit about how there can (and should) be more support for marginalized folks in the comedy community. Here are some excerpts about that:
"We need to fix these things at an institutional level because they are systemic problems. Clubs and theatres need to book more women to proactively note to other women that they can and will be booked and that the environment is safe for them. Those who book clubs and shows who want to have women, women identifying, and non-binary people have the responsibility to make their spaces safe for those people–not booking known problem comedians, being public about a zero tolerance policy for harassment. Hell, their own personal politics should imply they believe those things too. It isn’t enough to say you want diversity. You have to go out in the city and scout new, diverse talent. You have to make them feel welcome. You have to listen when they tell you there’s something wrong. Otherwise you’re just another booker or comedian calling yourself a feminist because you have a girlfriend or do jokes about how you love going down on women (yawn)."
"Women, women identifying, and non-binary comedians have to have each other’s backs. Believe each other when someone says they have an issue with a male comedian in the scene. If you see your female team members getting steam rolled in improv scenes, step out and support their point of view. Stick up for them when you do notes after a set. Stop writing sketches about how funny it is for a man to dress like a woman (unless he’s actually trying to pass and play a specific character. And even then, please god don’t do ‘the voice.’ You know what I’m talking about). It’s transphobic and it alienates trans women from comedy. Tell your stand up buddy who means well that his bit is messed up. If he’s a good comedian (and friend) he’ll be happy you told him. Good comedy dudes: book more women, promote their shows. Don’t let other dudes talk shit about them. Don’t stand for clubs booking no women. Stick up for them online, in person. Message them privately asking if they would mind if you stepped in if you’re not sure."
Read the full thing here.
Concordia University's newspaper The Link spoke to a few female comedians about the state of the industry. Here is a bit of what I had to say:
"Pretty much every comedian I know calls himself a feminist, but they’re not doing nearly as much as they could be doing to actively support women in the community. It’s more than just putting two women on your lineup of ten people, and it’s more than just being like “I think women are funny.” It’s attempting to educate themselves on why this institutional pressure exists, and how it plays out and how it may affect them."
Read the full piece here.
After winning Homegrown, The Canadian Press reached out for an interview on women in comedy. This article was published (in different forms and lengths) in many major Canadian news publications, such as the National Post, The Toronto Star, The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, MetroNews, and others.
Here is an excerpt from my interview: " 'I think your responsibility when you say [certain] jokes is to know how they are going to affect the audience.' Society, she said, is already homophobic, racist and transphobic. 'So if you can make jokes about anything, why are you touching on tired stereotypes? By making jokes in that way you are just another drop in the bucket. It’s boring.' ”
Read it in full here.
After winning the Just For Laughs Homegrown Competition, CBC interviewed me about the experience, which included this sentence:
"For the first time in its 19-year history, the Just For Laughs "Homegrown Comics" competition has been won by a woman."
Read the full piece here.
The wonderful Stephanie Ein did a spotlight on me for Mobtreal prior to my Just For Laughs and OFF-JFL shows in 2017. She wrote "D.J. Mausner is Montreal Comedy’s multiple-threat: a brilliant stand-up, improv and sketch comedian, who writes and produces her own shows. Still not impressed? She’s only 22 years old. This summer, Mausner brings what Just For Laughs Montreal lovingly refers to as her “harrowing sincerity,” to a mind-boggling six shows at JFL35 and its hip co-festival, OFF-JFL."
I answered a few questions she had, too. Read it all here.
During Montreal Fringe 2016, Montreal Rampage gave ATM: The Musical (a show I co-wrote, musically directed, and acted in) a very nice review that included the lines "Mausner, in a cross-gendered performance, had a great set of pipes for belting out tunes" and "For those who love the improvisational, all-heart, let-the-good-times-role spirit of [Theatre Sainte Catherine], this piece delivers."
Re: 'cross-gendered performance', I played a porn obsessed teenage boy genius. Read the full review here.
Bad Feeling covered the 14th edition of Joketown by doing a little interview with me, but not before they said some very nice things about me, like "naturally hilarious with strong showbiz work ethics pumping through her veins".
You can read the full interview here.
While attending McGill University, I performed with the sketch troupe BYOJ (or Bring Your Own Juice). In my last year, I was the producer. Her Campus did a profile on Courtney Kassel, the head writer, and I. Prior to a brief interview they write, "these two hilarious ladies are changing the comedy game- not only within the McGill community but in Montreal as a whole."
You can read the full piece here.