Dude jokes like a lady.
Every month at Over the Eight bar in Williamsburg, misogynistic men take the stage to tell jokes. But closer inspection reveals the dirty joke-telling guys of Dudes Being Dudes Being Dudes are not your average straight comedy bros, but actually women and gay men in disguise.
“My friends and I were kind of frustrated that every comedy show only has one girl on the lineup or one gay guy on the lineup, so we said, ‘Hey, maybe we’ll do a show where we dress up like dudes and do dude comedy,’ ” said Lauren Maul, the show’s founder. “Most lineups are pretty homogenous, so we try to mix it up.”
The event is rooted in satirizing straight male comedy, but the joke does not end there. Maul said she and her fellow performers not only poke fun at male comedians, but use their male characters to tell jokes in ways they might otherwise avoid.
Maul, for instance, said she uses one of her “male” characters, Scott Talent (America Scott Talent, get it?), to skewer the comedy world’s penchant for rape jokes, while also making a point about the prevalence of rape.
“You have to think about who the punch line is,” Maul said. “If the punch line is the rapist or the racist it’s okay, but if it’s the other way around, that’s not the comedy I want to be a part of.”
In the male-dominated comedy scene, women have an uphill battle to fight, Maul said. They have to be careful not to pigeonhole themselves as “feminist comedians” and are expected to let misogyny roll off their back, lest they be accused of failing to have a sense of humor.
“I know girls who won’t put feminist material in their set,” she said. “We have to be more conscious, but dudes don’t have a care in the world, and I envy that.”
It is not just performers Maul hopes to free from the pressures of the majority straight male comedy world. She said the homophobia and misogyny of some male comics’ acts often puts audience members in a uncomfortable position too, and hopes Dudes Being Dudes Being Dudes offers an alternative, safer space for people to enjoy a laugh.
“There is scary stuff that people will say as a joke, but it’s actually scary,” she said. “I had a friend at an open mic once, she was the only woman in the audience and a guy threatened they were going to lock the doors on her.”
And even when audience members do heckle at this comedy night, it is in the spirit of the event. Maul said that on one memorable night, a bachelorette party was in attendance and one of performers had to endure a flurry of anti-male heckling from the drunken bridal party while delivering her satirical misogynist comedy set.
“She knew it was a girl and could get away with heckling her without someone threatening to rape her on the way home,” Maul said.
Dudes Being Dudes Being Dudes at Over the Eight (594 Union Ave. at Richardson Street in Williamsburg, www.overtheeight.com). Jan. 13 at 8 pm, Free.