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This Comedian Says She Was Turned Down For A Gig Because There Were "Too Many Women"

Bethany Black sent a pretty awesome response.

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Bethany Black, a 37-year-old comedian who appeared in Doctor Who and in Channel 4's dramas Cucumber and Banana, was recently told she wasn't allowed to perform at an event because there were "too many women" on the bill.

While she declined to name the venue, Black told BuzzFeed News she shared the email of rejection in the hope that it would make promoters think twice about their actions.

So here's an email I received when applying for a gig, and here's my considered response to that email.


She also shared her absolutely 🔥 response, in which she wrote "this isn't an episode of Mad Men".

I've not replied until now because I've been trying to find the right words. No, I do not believe too many women on the bills as an excuse, because it's not 1964 and this isn't an episode of Mad Men. Women isn't a type of comedy, and this type of misogyny is what's leading to the homogeneity that's destroying our circuit. I'm disgusted that you would say something like this, even if you were "just passing it on from a venue'' which just makes you a facilitator if that's the case. I'm shocked and appalled that anyone would even think that this is an appropriate excuse to use in 2016, let alone email someone to tell them this. There are no other women comedians whose material crosses over with mine.

If this is genuinely something you believe is acceptable then I would rather not work for you.

Black said that initially she couldn't believe that it happened. She said something similar had happened "four years ago", but she'd not had such an experience recently.

She said she wanted to make the point that "woman" isn't a style of comedy: "I was angry, I was also in a state of shock that someone would say something like this these days."

"One local promoter in Manchester once told me he'd only book me in for 'last-minute cancellations'. When I asked why, he said: 'Well, if I book Susan Calman or Zoe Lyons and they cancel last minute I can always call you, but if I book you and you cancel I can't get them last minute, can I?'"

She added: "I've just got back from a really successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe where I did 70 gigs in a month, often on bills that were predominantly female, without being treated as a novelty."

After sharing the email, she received mixed responses from people.

@BeffernieBlack @ruby_gem but, hang on, too many women could be that they've literally booked millions of women and nobody else.

Black said she anticipated some responses wouldn't be supportive.

She said: "I knew people would point out ... that she may have booked a million women and only one guy, and if she had, she would have advertised it saying, 'I need a male comic for my gig please, I'm having real trouble booking any.' And that has never happened. Ever."

@BeffernieBlack Appalled yet not somehow surprised. Thought your response measured in the circumstances. Well said.

@BeffernieBlack @TheDiceBagLady pathetic by person booking, who decides what the 'right' number of women (or men) is?

Let's imagine for a moment @BeffernieBlack, receiving that email from ANY other employer. Wow.

Contact Ikran Dahir at

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