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The Rules of Comedy 

A week of funny women on stage, from Janeane Garofalo to local favorite Marga Gomez

Wednesday, Jun 6 2001
Anyone who believes that women are not naturally funny has obviously never read any of the self-help books in the Rules series, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider's do's-and-don'ts guides to nabbing a husband. The gal gurus recently released the third installment, The Rules for Marriage: Time-tested Secrets for Making Your Marriage Work, timed perfectly to coincide with the news that Ms. Fein had filed for divorce. Apparently someone diligently followed "Rule #19: Don't ask your single friends for marital advice," whereupon "Rule #42: Divorce with dignity" followed naturally.

Which brings us back to my first point: Women are damn funny. Gals were probably buying the manuals -- more comic treatises than self-help books -- not for advice, but because they needed a good laugh. Although I'm proud to say I've never read any of the Rules books (I swear), I am willing to bet that somewhere in those '50s-style man-hunting guides there's a rule that goes something like this: "Giggle (don't laugh -- showing teeth is unattractive) at every joke he tells, but never, ever make a joke yourself." Luckily, we know that rules are made to be broken: This week the city becomes a magnet for ladies packing powerful punch lines.

America's favorite wisecracking sidekick, Janeane Garofalo, steps in front of the mike for a rare local stand-up show. Although she's most famous for her roles in movies such as Mystery Men, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and Reality Bites, Garofalo is a veteran of the stage. Laid-back and relaxed, she's known for performing with notes taken from the day's events. Greg Behrendt opens for her on Friday, June 8, at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $30-35; call 775-7722.

Still need more proof that Jerry could have learned a few tricks from Elaine? Hold onto your sides at the third "Funny Girlz" comedy showcase, presented by producer Lisa Geduldig of the popular Kung Pao Kosher Comedy. Billed as "The Carol Burnett Show with a San Francisco twist," the stellar lineup of diverse female comics -- straight, lesbian, Asian, Jewish, short, tall, whatever -- includes recent Bay Area transplant Elvira Kurt, accountant-turned-laugh-maker René Hicks, and the Latina Theater Lab. The show takes place Saturday, June 9, at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 392-4400.

Local favorite Marga Gomez returns to the Bay Area to perform her new show, Higher Highs, Lower Lows, as part of the 11th annual Queer Latina/o Arts Festival. The reigning queen of snappy one-liners, political satire, and on-target caricatures is an equal opportunity comedienne: She aims her satirical barbs at everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Brooklyn-based performance artist Felice Shays opens with PsychoSemitic on Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9, at 8 p.m. at SomArts, 934 Brannan (at Eighth Street), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 552-7709.

About The Author

Lisa Hom


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