Comedian Jessica Kirson spotlights women in stand-up in new doc, 'Hysterical'

ABC News

FX(NEW YORK) — FX’s new documentary Hysterical pulls back the curtain on what it’s like to be a woman in stand-up comedy. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Double standards, sexual harassment, rejection, trauma — these self-described comedy “warriors” have dealt with it all in order to pursue their passion.

Comedian Jessica Kirson, who executive produced and appears in the doc, tells ABC Audio she hopes that by watching this film, people get a glimpse into the struggle.

“I wanted people to know how hard it is and like that we really are warriors,” she says. “That we’ve been through so much, and to get to this level and to do what we’ve done is very rare. It’s hard enough to be a comedian, but it’s 10 times harder to be a female comedian.”

Since the #MeToo movement and spurred on by this documentary, Kirson says she’s seen a real sisterhood forming among women in comedy where they lift each other up and aid in each others’ success.

“It’s just amazing that we’re all already talking,” she says. “‘Let’s go on more Instagram Lives. Let’s do Clubhouse together.’ Like there’s just so many text exchanges going on on my phone.”

And the attitudes of the audience have shifted as well.

“A lot of my straight white male comic friends will say, now, ‘My god, when I go on stage, I feel like they’re against me right away. I feel like I’m the bad guy,’” Kirson says. “I’m like, hello, I’ve been dealing with that for 22 years!”

But, she adds, “The audiences are more with us now than they ever were.” 

Hysterical – which also includes appearances from Margaret Cho, Sherri Shepherd, Nikki Glaser, Rachel Feinstein and more — is streaming now, exclusively on FX on Hulu.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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