|And now it's time to say goodbye, |
as we leave the Seventies for the unknown Eighties…
|Postcard sent to commemorate the beginning|
40 years ago on a cold Wednesday evening in late December, 4 women of a freshly-formed improv troupe stormed onto the small stage at the Holy City Zoo as MCs or hostesses… opening act… and cheerleaders of the very first Women's Night. Pat Daniels, Susan Healy, Teresa Roberts and Terry Sand opened the show with improvisational sketches to warm up the audience for 15 minutes in preparation for the handful of women they would graciously introduce throughout the evening. There were less than a half dozen comediennes in the line-up that night, likely every woman doing stand-up in the Bay area, not a single male comic qualified for this bill. Femprov possessed the flexibility to stretch between acts to fill and lengthen the duration of entertainment, by tag-teaming through theater games they learned in workshops and pulling the funny out of thin air. Blithely ignoring the prevailing attitudes of management* all the women that night seized the opportunity for stage time in front of a live audience. Whether it was a ground-breaking magnanimous gesture by the Holy City Zoo or a way to cash in on the novelty of women performers, Femprov claimed Women's Night as their own proving ground.
*In acknowledgment of ERA, women's night is every Wednesday. According to Tony DePaul most women tend to be shy and more uneasy about standup comedy. It requires a great deal of performing confidence. He also feels it is harder for an audience to laugh at a woman. It is a different style of comedy and the club offers its own all-female improvisational group called Femprov.