East Penn Press

Saturday, February 16, 2019
Jane Condon Jane Condon
Patty Rosborough Patty Rosborough

Funny ladies: That ‘Fabulous’ comedy series returns to Miller Symphony Hall

Friday, February 2, 2018 by DEB BOYLAN Special to The Press in Focus

Stand-up comedy is often a man’s world.

Although female comedians have had greater representation on stages during this latest comedy boom, males still comprise most successful working stand-ups.

The “Ladies of Laughter: Funny and Fabulous” aims to prove the naysayers wrong. The second installment of the series tour pays a visit to Miller Symphony Hall’s Rodale Community Room, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, in Allentown.

It’s a long-held misconception that women aren’t funny. This idea became a topic du jour of dinner table and water cooler debate after the late Christopher Hitchens’s Vanity Fair piece, “Why Women aren’t funny,” was published in January 2007.

Comedian Bonnie McFarlane further explored the theory in her 2014 documentary film, “Women Aren’t Funny.” The film made its arguments in favor of female comedians. Unfortunately, the moments when McFarlane veers off into silliness do as much to make the case against the argument.

Comedians Patty Rosborough and Jane Condon are the two funny ladies teaming up to co-headline the Miller Symphony Hall show.

“I’ve been doing it [stand-up] for more than 20 years,” Condon says in a phone interview. “I won ‘Ladies of Laughter’ several years ago in 2004 in the Pro category.”

The “Ladies of Laughter: Funny and Fabulous” tour features past and present winners and top performers from the eponymous annual women’s comedy competition. The stand-ups selected to represent the contest on the stage tour represent the cream of the crop.

“You have to beat more than 100 women to win this contest,” Condon explains. “Anyone you talk to [from the competition], is pretty good.”

Condon enjoys riffing on family life, especially as a mother to two boys and living in Greenwich, Conn. “I like to say [in my act], ‘I have two boys. Otherwise, everything’s fine.’

“It’s a wonderful group of women,” Condon says of her “Ladies of Laughter” tour mates. “They’re all very talented.

“It’s been a real gift for female comedians,” she says of the contest and its boost for female stand-ups. “We get to see each other perform.

“If there are any female comedians reading this, please tell them to try out. There’s a new talent category, a professional category. Both get to tour, and they get the most bookings of everybody.

“Patty [Rosborough] is hilarious,” Condon says about her co-headliner. “In the 90s, she was on ‘Short Attention Span Theatre.’” Rosborough co-hosted the Comedy Central show with Jon Stewart.

Condon also has serious TV cred. “I’ve been on [NBC’s] ‘Last Comic Standing,’ It was the same season [2011] as Amy Schumer [competed]. I won audience favorite in New York City.

“I slept overnight in my car, it was an open audition. The doors at Gotham Comedy Club were supposed to open at 9 a.m. My girlfriend called. She’s a New Jersey comic. And she called at 3 o’clock in the afternoon the day before and she said, ‘Jane, people are already lining up.’

“So, I threw some cheese and apple in the car and my sleeping bag and I was on the street at 7 o’clock that night. At 10 o’clock, we got the owner to give us numbers. I was number 56 and then they saw me about 11 a.m. and my three judges were [comedians] Ant, Kathleen Madigan and Alonzo Bodden.”

In addition to television’s “Last Comic Stranding,” Condon has appeared on ABC’s “The View,” NBC’s “The Today Show,” and Lifetime’s “Girl’s Night Out.”

“I think it often takes mom comedians longer [to break through] because we can’t be out every night. We can’t hang out at the bar to get a spot.

“It is an addiction,” Condon says about stand-up. “It’s addictive, but it’s wonderful. It’s my passion in life and I’m going to be doing it until I’m 100. I’m very grateful to Allentown for having me. I think they’re [great] laughers in Pennsylvania.

“We will have a blast. Half of my pay is listening to Patty [Rosborough]. I think they [the audience] will get more than their money’s worth.

“It’s great of Miller Symphony Hall to make this an on-going series,” Condon adds. “I think people really need to forget right now, just get out of the house.”

And of Rosborough, she adds, “Fasten your seatbelts.”

Tickets: Miller Symphony Hall box office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown; allentownsymphony.org; 610-432-6715