There comes a time in every female comedian's life where she is turned into a mindless sex kitten against her will. However witty/talented/hilarious she is, there will always be some commentator/audience member/fan who will be devoted to reduce her entire body of work to her boobs. Christina Walkinshaw, a Canadian female comedian, knows how hard it is to operate in an industry that still fails to value women as equals. She knew some audience members could be sexist pigs, but she didn't expect her employer to be one too.
The video above shows a performance she gave at a place called Yuk Yuk's at Casino Niagara. About five minutes into her stand-up show, a group of eight to ten men started heckling "Show us your tits! Show us your tits! Show us your tits!'" In a powerful response she wrote on her blog, she explains that she was bewildered. She didn't know how to react having been specifically instructed not to engage with the audience by the casino staff.
"Under normal circumstances, I would shoot them a sassy line, and tell them to shut up. But this club sends us all memos, telling us NOT to talk to the crowd, or engage the staff in our acts. So basically, I have two choices. Keep going, or show them my tits. I decide to just keep going. A few minutes later, they started chanting again:
'Show us your bush! Show us your bush! Show us your bush!'"
Despite the horror Walkinshaw was feeling at this moment, she managed to finish her routine. Although her headliner asked the casino staff to quiet the hecklers, the casino refused.
After complaining backstage to the woman running the show and breaking out in tears, the employer actually responded "Oh! Sorry! We thought you liked it."
Walkinshaw put her pride in her pocket and performed at the same casino for the rest of the weekend. She put the incident behind her and was relieved that she was still being rescheduled to perform at the club. That's until one week ago, when she received a call from her agent telling her that the club was closing its doors to her.
The club is saying that they are basing their decision "on post-show comments from [their] staff" and that they "reviewed all of the details of the evening and stand by [their] decision not to re-book her.”
Walkinshaw knows exactly why she got fired and she refuses to remain silent. "The fact is, they want to treat a comedian like an 'employee' of their casino, but they won't protect us like one. I'd be willing to bet all $500 I'm losing by not playing their club, that if a bunch of guys chanted "Show us your bush! Show us your bush!" to a Blackjack dealer, they’d be kicked out."
Since she published her post retelling this horrible experience, she's received a flood of encouragement messages on social media. Fellow comedian Dave Martin left a message on her wall that reads "We are comics not dart boards for sexual harassment while on stage." Many people in the industry have now committed to boycotting the club.
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