jfl

CBC: Just for Laughs drafts new anti-harassment policy in time for Wednesday's opening

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!

You can read the piece outlining JFL's response here.

VICE Canada: This Comedian Wants Performers to Boycott Just For Laughs

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.

Read the piece here.

The National Post: More women on stage: Comics discuss how to encourage women to perform stand-up

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.

Mobtreal: D.J. Mausner: JFL35 Improv Comedy Star

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.