Saturday, March 18th comediennes from the Ladies of Laughter will be performing at the Mount Baker Theater at 7:30pm. The performers are the winners of a series of national competitions aimed at increasing women’s opportunities in comedy, and they take part in this national tour as well as enjoying appearances on mainstream comedy television.
This particular tour stop has special meaning for a number of those attending and for its founder, Peggy Boyce.
The week of the show marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of Mary Jo Wobker- the woman that inspired Ladies of Laughter. Mary Jo’s extended family resides in Washington State and are coming in from Seattle to Spokane for a celebratory reunion at this MBT performance. The franchise’s producer and founder, Peggy Boyce, is also coming from New York to join in and show everyone first-hand what Mary Jo inspired over 25 years ago.
In 1990, Mary Jo was a comedienne/comedy booker in New York City. She helped many women get their start in comedy by booking them in their first gigs all over the northeast. “The Mary Jo Comedy Show” was a mainstay at clubs, restaurants and special events and it became the place where many new comediennes in New York got their first paid work. Mary Jo made herself responsible for finding opportunities for new comics by creating and producing shows. Comediennes used these shows to hone and develop their material and Mary Jo was a great producer.
In 1992, Mary Jo discovered she was riddled with cancer and handed off her work to friend and former comic, Peggy Boyce.
After Mary Jo’s death, in addition to continuing to book the comediennes, Boyce created an annual tribute to her friend, known as “The “Mary Jo Comedy Award.” It served as a source of recognition, publicity and cash for new comediennes who stood out.
In 1998, the tribute morphed into a live event series and in 1999, national corporate sponsorship brought the competition into comedy clubs, casinos and years later, Madison Square Garden.
Over the years, Ladies of Laughter has established itself as the “launching pad for women in comedy.” Now, the competition has become very competitive. Women from all over the world apply to be part of Ladies of Laughter, including comediennes from Australia, the United Kingdom and Mexico. Winner(s) receive thousands of dollars in paid bookings through the Ladies of Laughter “Funny & Fabulous Tour” and the program helps generate television appearances and major publicity for the entrants, giving many women a substantial lift to their comedy careers.
Call 360-734-6080 for tickets or information or purchase online at: www.mountbakertheatre.com
2016-2017 Season Sponsor is Saturna Capital. Show sponsor Lynda Hinton, Windermere Real Estate.
The Mount Baker Theatre, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting the performing arts, receives support from a Tourism Facilities Grant from the City of Bellingham.