Happy International Women's Day Jenny Collier!
Apparently, you've just lost work because the folks in Haslemere, Surrey can't handle too much female stand-up comedy.
Yesterday morning, comedian Collier posted a picture on Twitter of an email she'd recently received, cancelling an upcoming gig.
"The venue have decided that they don't want too many women on the bill," explained the sender, "and unfortunately we need to take you out of this one."
This just happened. pic.twitter.com/Ap0IamzdR7
— Jenny Collier (@Jenjencollier) March 7, 2014
Tweet posted by @Jenjencollier
The image has since been retweeted more than 4,000 times, and speculation is rife as to which Surrey venue is determined to keep their customers' comedy tastes stuck firmly in the 1990s.
Blogger Red Mister has conducted his own investigations and determined that the local area seemingly has only one establishment hosting a comedy club on Thursday 15th May: Hemingways of Haslemere.
"That club, if it is the one referred to in the email, is booked by national comedy chain Mirth Control, founded and run by Geoff Whiting," he writes.
Women's twitter reactions have not been kind to the decision to cancel Ms Collier's act.
They range from the rational...
@Jenjencollier Sex discrimination and they were helpful enough to put it in writing too. Not high on the Darwin register.
— GailRenard (@GailRenard) March 8, 2014
To the downright sarcastic...
— Washington Square (@WashSquareGirl) March 7, 2014
Oh ladies, please. Settle.
Mirth Control has responded to the story with the following statement:
Mirth Control is an equal opportunities organisation that prides itself on championing women in comedy in the UK.
In response to the recent incident involving cancelling a female act from a show, we apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. The client in question reacted to an email that we sent them (showing a bill onto which we had booked five acts so far, three of which were female) by commenting in strong terms that female comics did not suit his audience and could we take this into account please. We will not accept a relationship with any client who wishes to exclude women entirely from all bills, this is a consistent policy that has spanned many years. However this request was not to place any 'ban' on female comics only to temper the numbers in order to suit their clientele. Indeed we did respond to the client to point out that on the previous show (in February) three female acts had appeared and were all very well received. We then elected to take a measured approach which was to remove one female act on that specific line up, leaving the two others in place.
We would like to make it clear, that Mirth Control was in no way responsible for, nor does it endorse the decisions made by the venue, we currently book more female acts throughout the UK comedy circuit that any other UK comedy booker (excepting those booking regular all female billed events and clubs).
We would also like to apologise to the female comic for the email she received from a junior member of our team who was expressing the view of the client unedited and perhaps a little too frankly and was inappropriate in our view in it's wording. It is true that the email fairly reflected the desire of the client for less women to appear on upcoming shows but it did not offer an alternative booking at the venue on a different date, or alternatively a booking at a different club on a different date to make up for this loss of stage time and this was wrong and not in keeping with our general way of operating. She will be offered a large number of gig opportunities by us at a range of other comedy clubs immediately in order to redress this oversight.
We are glad that this important subject has come up for discussion and our policy of supporting and promoting female comedians is central to our core philosophy and will only be strengthened by an event such as this, indeed it has increased our resolve to ensure that they are given even more opportunities in future to perform for us and develop their craft at all the clubs with which we are associated.
This is our pledge to all female comics whether newcomers or established performers which will be met assiduously.