A List of Men Who Harassed Me During My Decade Plus In Comedy

[Note: I had no idea that this post could possibly be conceived as an anti-feminist piece. My intention always was to express my personal experience in comedy. I’m rather fond of this piece, so I think I’ll leave it up for now for people to further commiserate on.]

I received an email from a woman who was seeking female comedians to share stories about being harassed by male comedians. I responded, telling her I had lots of great and funny war stories about being a comedian in NYC for the past decade. But when she elaborated on her project and reiterated she was seeking stories by women who’d been harassed by men / male comedians while in a comedy environment, I paused, took a bite of my sandwich and really thought about it, with width and girth, for a few hearty minutes. I racked my brain, ready to deliver all the dozens of stories of the waterfall of guys who’d wronged me, harassed me and brought me to the emotional breaking point in my 15 years of comedy. As I swallowed the mouthful, I also swallowed the truth–I had almost none.

Sure, there were stories about my ex, Kurt Metzger, who I have no problem naming because many comedians in the scene have heard the stories, either his version, mine, or some combination of both. He broke my heart and mistreated me, I was jealous and clingy, had zero boundaries and let him (and everyone) walk all over me. We were two young, determined assholes in love. I don’t resent Kurt, because we were just a coupla dummies who didn’t know any better. And at the end of the day, we had great fun and adventures together. We started comedy together, graduated college together, grew up together, learned a lot from each other and ultimately, needed each other at that point in our lives. And that is essentially where the list of men who did “done me wrong in comedy” ends.

IMG_0011

On the contrary, the majority of stories I have about men in comedy are ones about men who’ve pushed me along, lifted me up, gave me words of encouragement and got me paid gigs.

Jim Norton let me sleep on his couch a countless number of times when I was essentially a starving homeless comedian in NYC and never even once tried to pee on me. He got me booked at clubs and even on TV. He gave me rides to shows and provided super valuable comedic advice when I needed it. Patrice O’Neal befriended me, was kind to me in his own way, and gave me wise words of comedy advice more than once. He steamrolled Big Jay Oakerson into letting me take the extra bed in his hotel room when I was booked to perform at Montreal Comedy Festival. Jay, an old Philly comedian buddy and former roommate, was happy to help. The festival had paid for Jay’s transportation and hotel room. I had hitchhiked, none of my expenses were covered by the fest. After the festival, they sent me a generous and unexpected check. I suspect that Patrice was behind that, too. Kevin Hart gave me a successful pep talk when I met him in tears at The Cellar after a rough night of comedy. Dante Nero drove me around like a personal chauffeur to more shows than I can count, and we joked and commiserated about the comedy scene. Matt Kirshen got me booked in the UK and LA, and offered me his couch more than once. Jim Gaffigan put me in his TV show and was a regular fixture, reliably lending his star power to a dinky monthly comedy show I helped produce. Colin Quinn read my script and gave me honest feedback. Neil Brennan and Dave Chappelle put me in The Chappelle Show pilot. The list literally goes on and on. Maybe their motives were of a horny kind, but if so, it never felt that way.

The sad and creepy truth is, it isn’t men who’ve been most cruel and unkind to me in comedy, it’s been women. And not just any women, but the most successful and powerful ones I’ve known.

A very famous female comedian told some mutual comedian friends that I’d “creeped her out” after I appeared at 2 shows that she happened to be performing in in one night. I was a new comedian at the time, trying to show my face at as many of the hot shows as I could, every night. She was visiting from out of town and apparently doing the same thing. I was devastated when I heard that I’d alienated one of my heroes. I have a photo of us together from that night, me smiling, young and happy eyed; her, apparently “creeped out” by an ambitious young comedian’s very presence. Years later I confronted her about it as politely as I could, and apologized for whatever I’d done wrong (nothing), and she accepted my apology and apologized herself, but the damage had already been done. I could never see her in the same light. She was such an inspiration, and she tried to sabotage me–a famous comedian, using all of her star power to smoosh the reputation of a tiny, insignificant newbie–she didn’t have to do that.

A female booker who was booking a decent club at the time befriended me. She passed me at her club and we struck up a close friendship. We spent afternoons having lunch together, running and talking about boys. I confided in her with personal details and problems I was having with my boyfriend. I later found out, while I had been opening up to her about him, she’d been literally opening up to him, and slept with the guy towards the end of our relationship.

I accompanied my ex-friend, a now very famous comedian, to therapy and was there for her when she was making sense of some personal issues she was dealing with. I called her a good friend for many years. I even introduced her to a friend who she ended up dating for several years. Then one day, she ghosted me, shortly after her move to LA, where she got a job on a big show. No explanation, no fight, no goodbye, she simply stopped communicating with me. It truly broke my heart and took me years to get over.

JDFF

Still another very famous female comedian and I shared the stage a few times. We bonded at a show when she asked me intimate questions about an ex, or at least, I thought we had. I asked her if she was having sex with him, she said no, never! (Later, I saw in a documentary, she said she had.) She booked me to perform on a show, which led to a TV appearance for me. I saw her the evening of my appearance and she was icy cold to me. Was she angry that I’d booked a nice gig from her show? I brushed it off, convinced I’d imagined it. Later, when she got her TV show, I emailed her to say congrats and that I hoped we’d get to hang out again someday. I signed the email, Your pal, Jessica. She responded, “We were never pals.” I thought she was either kidding or had been mistaking me for someone else. The last email I’d gotten from her said, “You rock my world bitch!” I saw her at comedy clubs after that and she was weirdly hot and cold. One time she icily brushed by me, another time she smiled and waved warmly at me. I texted her a few times, determined to fix or figure out whatever was going on. When there was a scandal in the news about her, I texted, “Hang in there, we’re all doing the best we can.” She responded, “Thank you, new phone, who is this?” I replied, “Jess Delfino”. She texted back, “We are not friends. I’ve been more than clear with you. Don’t text me.” I was so confused. It was she who’d given me her number. I didn’t find it in a dumpster, though that’s where I left it. Another comedian confided in me that she knew of an incident where she had sabotaged a nice gig I was supposed to have been booked for by telling the people involved not to hire me. I’m still gobsmacked over it all, and I’ll probably never know what it’s all about. Luckily, she can’t hurt me at all, because I’m already dead inside.

Today, I find myself surrounded by a group of pretty cool and somewhat tight knit comedian women. The climate is different. We are more aware that we aren’t necessarily competing, or at least that we don’t have to. We have a better understanding that if we want to get paid as much as men, we have to stop acting like babies and work together. We share resources. We commiserate. We talk about tampons. It’s great. We make a good team. It hasn’t always been that way, but it has been pretty good most of the time, except when it’s been bad. I can’t imagine these women acting the same way the more successful ones had. I chalk it up to inexperience with fame, defense of an imaginary throne, perhaps, and the non-realization that you see the same people on the way up as you do on the way down. Or maybe I deserved it, because I did something terrible to them all, and maybe some day, I’ll find out what.

But in short, no comedy dude has ever really harassed me that I can think of or remember. Maybe I’m not hot enough. Maybe I give off a vibe that makes their penises go soft, like those vibrating machines that keep deer and bugs away from cars. I don’t know. But I like it, and I hope whatever I do to make them not harass or come onto me in undesired sexual ways, I can keep doing it.

Addendum: I acknowledge that there are a lot of really creepy and shitty male comedians out there who have done the whole spectrum of harassment to women in comedy, and worse. I have heard the horror stories, first hand. Just because that hasn’t been my personal experience does’t mean it’s not the reality for a lot of women. I know it to be the case for a countless number of women. Some nightmare stories have even gotten national press, as we all know. This isn’t a piece letting men off the hook for their bad behavior. If anything, I hope it will inspire men to continue to consider their actions, and look to the way their heroes mentioned above treated me as shining examples of ways to interact with and reach out to women in comedy (and to people in life).

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132 Responses to A List of Men Who Harassed Me During My Decade Plus In Comedy

  1. This is a great blog post. I met you when we were on the same roast battle show – and it was a hard show for me. You are a comedian I really admire, so you being kind to me that night was probably part of the reason I didn’t have a total breakdown.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thanks Teresa, I appreciate that. Roasts typically blow, but I still sort of like the self torture and the challenge of it all.

      • I won my roast, but it was still a rough night. It was the night you had to go it alone. Anyway, it’s a good blog and highlights a major issue that can happen with working/relating to other women. And I think part of the problem is this misperception, that if someone else is successful they can take your “spot”. Especially with women. I have seen it a lot in business too, woman were extra competitive in a negative way against each other. I’ve for sure seen it in comedy.

    • Destin says:

      Hey there, Jessica. I just wanted to say this is a great post and I’m glad you brought it up. These aren’t issues that you typically hear about but, they are real and quite common. I’m glad somebody like you has the guts to talk about it, even with all the childish backlash/complaints you’ve gotten here. This post definitely made my night!

      Thanks again

  2. Stephen Lanza says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It sucks that you had such horrible expeirinces, but Im glad you persevered. I met you at one of BCs shows in the early 2000’s and thought you were fantastic. i still do. Glad to see your career is moving forward so well.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thanks Stephen. It’s OK that I had horrible experiences. We all have them. I got past those, and I’m sure there will be many more to come.

  3. Sigh says:

    This is annoying in the way that the dude who pops up on a FB thread about women who are being mistreated by men saying WHAT ABOUT ALL THE WOMEN WHO CHEAT ON MEN is annoying. I just don’t get what this is trying to prove. Do men need to be defended? Do we live in a world where men are under constant attack so you needs to step up and remind us that #NotAllMen are assholes? When women talk about men who have mistreated them it’s not an attack on men. If men are doing something awful and we’re pointing it out, that’s hardly an attack. If anything it’s a defensive move, a warning to avoid these men because at this point sometimes all we have is avoidance. And please, Kurt Metzger has been such a piece of shit to so many women. I’ve seen the screen shots. This changes nothing about that. This piece can fuck off into the sea along with its clickbait title. Pft.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thank you for reading and sharing your opinions.

    • Disappointed says:

      Jessica – you just equated women icing you out with actual sexual assault. So I guess I’m one more woman who would rather not book you for a show.

      • Jessica Delfino says:

        I don’t know what woman you are referring to who didn’t book me for a show, in the piece I explain that it’s pretty much mainly women who book me on shows. But I am disappointed that you responded to this piece the way you did, and I find your anonymous finger-wagging to be cowardly and disappointing, as well. But thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        • Cassie Brehmer says:

          Class act. I applaud you for handling “sigh” and “disappointed” so well

          The irony of these women shitting on your opening up about how women have been the worst offenders of your comfort in the comedy scene is an excellent follow up argument in your favor.

          • Heidi Hayward says:

            Agreed! I have amazing women friends in comedy, but it’s just a fact that it was male comedians who were the most supportive and welcoming to me from the beginning (and not in a creepy way). It’s funny that feels like a scary thing to admit for fear of being labeled anti-feminist. Anyway, this is a well written piece that applauds the good guys without excusing the shitty ones.

          • Tony says:

            And another +1. Its a trend!

        • Quail says:

          Loved your essay. Sorry to see that your work here is being trolled by hypersensitive folks who don’t want to embrace your perspective. Thanks for the essay!

      • Darlene westgor says:

        I’m guessing that at this point, she doesn’t give a shit.

      • Steve says:

        You probably don’t have any shows with which to book comedians so it probably won’t be an issue for her sweetie

      • Disappointed's Dream Land says:

        Disappointed, are you living in some kind of fantasy world where you book shows? Your lack of ability in reading comprehension is what is disappointing, but your cattiness skills are top shelf.

    • Mistral says:

      “Do men need to be defended? Do we live in a world where men are under constant attack…?”

      Pretty much. That’s why Jess had to put that semi-apologetic “addendum” at the end of her post for anyone who was (Buzz Word Alert!) “triggered” or had their “FEELS” hurt by her truth.

      • Damer says:

        Had a similar thought when I read it. Honestly feels like she doesn’t want to hurt feelings but that’s the only paragraph that rings completely hollow.

    • i3rucei3ruce (@PwrMtlDrmmr) says:

      To answer your questions: Yes.

    • Wreck Yourself says:

      “I’ve seen the screen shots”. Hahaha. I can’t imagine how frightened you must be out in the real world when you’re intimidated by screen shots of text.

    • Namey McNamerson says:

      If women discussing men who have mistreated them is not an attack on men, why is a woman discussing women who have mistreated her an attack on women?

      Why is the appropriate response to a woman discussing issues she has had with women to divert the conversation to #WhatAboutMen? Isn’t that the entire basis of the #WhatAboutMen complaint? That men insert themselves into conversations and try to redirect it to their own interests?

      I think you may have stared too long into the abyss and let it stare back into you.

    • Luke says:

      You are asking someone to deny their own experiences because you have a gender-based political agenda. I understand that many men are shitheads and that many women have had bad experiences because of men, but this author was merely reporting their experience.

      You would rather somebody stay quiet about their own personal experiences of mistreatment (i.e. you would like to silence a victim) than to have the narrative of your personal agenda be scrutinised. The dumbest thing about this is that there never was any chance that this article would undermine women’s attempts at righting gender-based wrongs: to base your opinion on men vs. women on one stand up’s article of their own experiences would be as stupid as to ask a victim of mistreatment to stay silent about it (although admittedly not as morally reprehensible).

      You are not only a fool, you are not only nasty but by telling a woman to shut up about her mistreatment you are doing exactly the same thing as the misogynists you probably whine about all day on tumblr. Please stop trying to contribute to the conversation; you are not intelligent enough to do it properly.

    • GamesOfJuli says:

      So it is annoying that she writes about her experiences? Aren’t you invalidating her experience because you don’t like what you read or have a different perception or opinion? – You are the annoying one in here, sweetheart.

      And yes – we live in a world where men live under constant attack. Just think about Tim Hunt and Dr. Matt Taylor.

      Those weren’t warnings those were witch hunts and resulted in a at least temporarily destroyed live, personal and professional.

      So what exactly is it you find so annoying about this article? The title isn’t even clickbait, but reveals that this is the view a lot of people hold – that female comedians are elbowed and harrassed out of comedy. The title is what she was asked about and she writes about her experiences.

      Seems to me that you are just disappointed you cant attack men for doing something wrong. Oh sorry, I meant “pointing out”

    • Jessica says:

      New age feminism where if someone experience or opinion does not fit your narrative they deserve to be harassed and silenced. I am surprise you did not threaten she deserves to be rapped.

    • Sigh's lanky lover says:

      #NotAllMen are disposable, so maybe people do need defending?

    • David Fletcher says:

      “This is annoying in the way that the dude who pops up on a FB thread about women who are being mistreated by men saying WHAT ABOUT ALL THE WOMEN WHO CHEAT ON MEN is annoying. I just don’t get what this is trying to prove. Do men need to be defended? Do we live in a world where men are under constant attack so you needs to step up and remind us that #NotAllMen are assholes?”

      The IRONY. It BURNS. This isn’t about YOU. It’s about this woman’s personal experiences with other women who have treated her badly, and you showing up to scream ‘WHAT ABOUT ALL THE MEN WHO TREAT WOMEN BADLY” illustrates her point perfectly. Oh wait…her post IS about you.

    • Annoyed says:

      And this is annoying like the crazy lady who pops up on other people’s FB statuses to scream WHY DON’T YOU AGREE WITH ME I AM RIGHT YOU ARE WRONG I HATE YOU FUCK OFF.

    • Jimmy Bones Jones, Esquire, Dubastank the third. says:

      Your use of twitter hashtags, Facebook posts, and screenshots as a counter argument to real-life experiences terrifies me into thinking that your entire life has played out in front of an LCD screen.

      Go outside – and I mean that because I’m genuinely very worried about you. Life isn’t meant to be experienced like that.

    • Colin says:

      Random shot at Kurt was… odd. Yes, he can be a piece of shit, he can also be self-depricating, and if he was through and through a piece of shit it’s not likely Amy Schumer would keep him around. I’ve had it out with him on FB and thought “christ what an asshole” but he knows he’s an asshole, it’s part of his thing.

      And how is this clickbait exactly? Jess is being honest at the same time it’s not like she’s also saying she hates men, seems she’s saying there’s two sides and not all men are garbage and even men who have garbage tendencies doesn’t make them through and through bad. You’re apparently knee jerking in a butthurt way, it doesn’t concern you but you’re making it so. So fuck off fucking off ya wanker.

    • gareth says:

      My God, what is this spurge of insanity? #NotAllMen??? When did she even mention that this was about gender issues, or your pseudo-understanding of modern Feminism?

      Nastry vitriolic scumbag.

  4. MT says:

    Thanks for being open and honest so publicly. Hopefully this will serve to help others.

  5. Brianna says:

    I find that this undercuts the very true and real harassment of women in comedy. One might say this piece is not helpful to the movement— which is so incredibly overdue. If I was feeling outlandish, I would bring in an Uncle Tom comparison. I am not feeling outlandish, today.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thanks for your thoughts. I would hope that the men who read this piece are inspired to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and role models.

    • AuntieM says:

      How, exactly, does this undercut “the very true and real harassment of women in comedy”? Jessica isn’t saying harassment from male comedians doesn’t exist; it just hasn’t happened to her as much as to other female comedians, which really surprises me because she’s a beautiful woman. I love this blog post and I applaud her for writing about this because it has been going on just as long as men have been harassing women.

      • Deborah L says:

        It’s because modern feminism is essentially an extremist ideology. There can be no dissent. No alternative viewpoint. No divergence. Oppression by men is dogma.

        Ironically, this form of feminism (which is rampant today) is one of the most sexist ideologies to rise in the past century. It pretends men — all men — are defined by gender and are wholly in the wrong when it comes to their treatment of women.

        If we were talking about a race or a religion, such sweeping generalities would be lambasted for their prejudice. But when it comes to the mythos of universal oppression by men, many mis-guided feminists manage to suspend all self-criticism in favor of a monolithic vision of the evil male.

        The disservice these pseudo-feminists do to the *actual* cause (of equal opportunity) is immense. Feminists are increasingly dismissed as being wingbats, because of these…well, wingbats.

        • KS says:

          Sadly, these “pseudo-feminists” as you call them aren’t “pseudo” anymore. They’re representative of what feminism has mutated into on college campuses across the entire country. It’s the third wave. Any credibility you still lend to feminism is based on a belief system that is no longer being taught, having been replaced by something frankly rather dark and insidious.

          Hell, there are multiple posts in this very thread, ironically, that demonstrate the identity politics movements’ penchant for silencing of dissent through threats and hostility. They can harken back to Seneca Falls all they want, but from where I’m sitting they have already aptly demonstrated their moral bankruptcy.

          It cannot go on this way forever.

    • John says:

      Well it’s a good thing you didn’t go into detail about the “uncle tom” thing. At least we all have no idea what you’re talking about or what you’re making a reference to. So happy you weren’t feeling outlandish.

    • LilB says:

      Typical apparatchick nonesense. Her individual experiences are not beholden to your movement. No one is conscripted to your cause.

    • Rath says:

      I find that without statistical proof of women being harassed in comedy, your argument is invalid.

      In fairness, so is Jessica’s, because she’s speaking anecdotally as well. The fact that you think a single female comedian’s blog post about her personal experience – which honestly doesn’t mean anything long-term or in the big picture, because it can’t be quantified – just reinforces the belief people have that “feminism” is less about equality and more about acquisition of power.

      If you think female comics are being mistreated, why don’t you go to university, get a degree in maths with a focus in statistics, start collecting data on all female comedians in America, and then make you case with hard evidence.

      I know that as a rule, actually doing real work and using real evidence to back your claims is a bitch of a thing, but if you want to be taken seriously, that’s your only way to do it. People are wising up to the manipulation of emotions for the personal gain of others… thankfully. It was long overdue.

    • Randi says:

      Hey Brianna Wu. Still moaning about men? Damn, let it go, you aren’t one any more. Anyhow I gotta Crash

    • Elbonic says:

      “I could call you an Uncle Tom. But I won’t.”

      Actually, that’s exactly what you did. You just don’t have the minerals to say it without hiding behind some 8th grade language games.

    • Jaded says:

      Actually, I’d say the exact opposite. This post provides a much needed sense of balance to the “movement”. To men, it says “hey, if you’re actually a good guy, we’re willing to give you that credit and not equate you to rapists and harassers. To women who haven’t been harassed, it says “your experience isn’t invalid, and you’re not wrong in seeing men as helpful”. This post promotes inclusivity. Your comment, on the other hand, says the opposite. It says, “Are you a woman whose experience doesn’t fit out exact narrative? Well then you can fuck off, you dirty mysoginist whore”. It’s quite ironic, as invalidating the experiences of women is the true mysoginy.

    • Not Brianna says:

      “If I was feeling outlandish, I would bring in an Uncle Tom comparison. I am not feeling outlandish, today.”

      Just feeling like being a passive aggressive asshole who will hint at the “Uncle Tom comparison” rather than make a statement and back it up with solid arguments.

      What a wimp.

    • tv_expert says:

      “One might say this piece is not helpful to the movement”.
      So?. Whats the problem?.

      She was asked about her personal experiences with harassment and hopefully the truth, not “Please just say something that help us claim all women are victim and men are harrassers”.

      Looking for Confirmation bias is not really helpful to the “movement” either.

      Am gonna ignore your stupid uncle tom comment.

    • Andrew Hess says:

      Have some guts and say the things you mean, otherwise one might be inclined to believe that you’re a spineless creep.

    • Dieter Guy says:

      If people telling the truth undercuts a movement perhaps that says something significant about the movement. Surely that Ms. Delfino has had such a largely positive experience with men in comedy is exactly the sort of story one would want to hear as it suggests that progress is being made.

    • Brian Kemp says:

      “If I was feeling outlandish, I would bring in an Uncle Tom comparison”

      Okay, I’m not thinking about pink elephants. I am thinking about logical fallacies, specifically Apophasis.

    • Katie says:

      Jessica, I hope you will read this. Some of the dissenters have a point. These experiences you have shared definitely suck. They really do. But they are examples of individually sh*tty women who are just bad friends.

      The impetus for this piece, someone asking about men harassing you… is very different. It’s not asking about men who you thought were your friends but ended up mean and jealous–in which case your response is apt, saying that you haven’t had this experience w/ men but you have w/ women. It’s looking for evidence of systematic issues.

      I don’t know if you can understand what I am trying to say.
      One is about individual people who suck.
      One is about a patriarchal system that sucks, and how individuals may act a certain way because of said system.

      • Jessica Delfino says:

        Hey Katie, of course I get what you’re saying, it’s not a complicated concept. This is one of the topics that many of the anti-feminists attacking this piece keep coming back to–that having mean friends is different than being raped. I agree! I had no stories of being sexually harassed or raped so I went to the next level of awful that I could think of, and for me, that was my experiences being exposed to another form of human cruelty. Notice I didn’t use any stories about a time someone called me a bitch or someone didn’t book me on a show, because though those are things that also happened, they didn’t devastate or confuse me and leave me feeling like “I did something wrong” when actually I didn’t, the way a sexual attack might have.

  6. Reid Singer says:

    This was really poignant.

  7. Josie Lindstrom says:

    I remain gobsmacked that female comedians have to put up with the shit that they do. What IS it that causes people to think ladies in comedy are less funny than the guys? I mean c’mon….. yes, George Carlin and Richard Pryor and Steven Wright and Ron White are brilliant. But so are Rita Rudner and Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes and Jordan Wieleba. What’s the freaking problem?

    • Cadabra says:

      Amy Schumer actually sucks, but the rest of your point makes sense.

      • Check yourself says:

        “Actually sucks,” as evidenced by what? Her successful and hilarious tv show? Her movie that pulled in over $140 million? The fact that she’s the first female comic to headline Madison Square Garden? Because Madonna had Amy open for her at her sold out NY shows? Or because you think your single opinion trumps all of those facts?

        • Cadabra says:

          Obviously the last one.

        • Rtf111 says:

          She sucks.

        • i3rucei3ruce (@PwrMtlDrmmr) says:

          Is subsidized entertainment really entertainment?

        • Deborah L says:

          Stop using “TV shows” as an example of talent.

          Here’s the comparison:

          How many mid to large size venues id Amy Schumer selling-out single-handedly?

          Because Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, et al can.

          I am a female, and I don’t find Sarah Silverman or Amy Schumer to be anywhere close in terms of talent.

          Stop pretending the lack of comparable talent is the result of “patriarchy”. True talent is rare. Most men don’t have it either. And many more men go into comedy than women do.

          The current crop of female comedians do a great job as sitcom stars. But their solo shows don’t even hold a candle to their male counterparts.

          And if they did, they’d be solo-ing at Radio City.

          The market is fair.

        • Wreck Yourself says:

          Equating commercial success to talent in a pop culture climate of mediocrity would render her in the same stratosphere as Justin Bieber’s ‘artistic’ integrity. If you think the approval of hundreds of millions of teenage girls & soccer moms renders you some genius, then you’re beyond help.

          It’s also nauseatingly cringe inducing every time any female anywhere is critiqued negatively that hoards of inferiority complexed feminists immediately rush in & give a laundry list of GURL POWER reasons that she’s #FANTASTIC & #BRAVE & #INSPIRATIONAL. This cheesy display of self esteem gymnastics only serves to promote mediocrity.

          Since you’ve made this all about chest thumping, playing devils advocate, how many male writers & producers are behind Amy Schumer & Madonna anyway? Don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a female pop star that didn’t have a long list of male writers/engineers/mixers/masters/dudes operating their auto-tune, etc, essentially running the show.

        • Fabian says:

          Because she steals her material from other much more funnier comedians

        • Sweety says:

          She sucks.

          All the other people in your list are wonderful, but amy schumer is a poor gimmick of a character.

          I would applaud her shows success but to my understanding the only skits she writes are stolen.

      • LDG says:

        She’s not funny, and she is also racist.

      • J says:

        Amy Schumer sucks, because like Lena Dunham, she pretends to be a trailblazer who invented a new, feminist comedy. What an insult to the decades of amazing and funny women who stood before her.

    • Rath says:

      Read Christopher Hitchens’ Vanity Fair essay, “Why Women Aren’t Funny”, and then watch his YouTube response to Sarah Silverman, Tiny Fea, etc.’s claim that women are funny, entitled, “Why Women Still Aren’t Funny”.

      There you’ll find your answers.

    • Dingdong says:

      Wanda Sykes?

      Scraping the bottom of the barrel there…

  8. Zack says:

    Excellent story, Jessica (JessicAHHHH in Kilgrave voice). It’s unfortunate anyone would take the opportunity here to attack your extremely honest and genuine feelings. But that’s the internet. I did standup for six months and it was a hoot. But i didn’t have time to full on go for it and the travel would have been overwhelming. Keep up the laughs, m’lady! Prost and huzzah.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thanks Zach. Glad you dug the story. Whatever you’re doing now is probably more rewarding than a life in stand up.

  9. Jason says:

    I really appreciated this. I’m a couple years in, I had been hearing the same kinds of negative stories from men and women. I dismissed some of them because it didn’t make sense to me why somebody would be such a jerk for no reason, when we aren’t even competing with each other really as much as we are competing with our own willingness to keep doing this…and then the exact same story happened to me with who I think is the same person. There’s no reason to be a dick but Thankfully, there’s still so many people who want nothing more than to give you a spot and give advice you can use to get better.

  10. Melanie says:

    I find this article really thought provoking. First and foremost, props need to be given to such a talented comedian, Go Jess!

    With that being said, after reading this article I find myself asking the following questions: Who will benefit from this article? What effects will this article have on various groups of people?

    This story is important because Jessica was asked a question and answered it with her truth. However by sharing her truth publicly, I fear that rather than its intention of having its main characters serve as a role models to other male comedians, it will instead be used to negate and juxtapose the testimony of the too many comediennes whose truth is quite the opposite of the one experienced in this article.

    In drawing a parallel from this situation to the historic and perpetual police brutality to our black and brown brothers and sisters, I wonder how helpful it would be to have a famous black man share how his experiences with white police have been wonderful and in fact, the only time he’s ever been mistreated by the police, the offenders have been black. In no way am I saying these situations are equal, they’re not. I am merely trying to draw a parallel because doing so sometimes helps provide clarity with situations.

    This article is important because of its truth. However, I’m left wondering about its timing and its effect on women in comedy.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’d be great to have men read this and be inspired to treat more women the way that their heroes treated me, and it’d be great to have women read this and be inspired to treat less women the way their heroes treated me. From the feedback I received from this piece, I am inclined to believe that many, many women had similar experiences and felt relieved to have someone connect with about it.

    • Tad says:

      Wait a second, you want to equate the murder of blacks by police with the… um… I can’t even think of a safe way to phrase it. But even at its worst, whatever it is, it is never anything like dozens and dozens of dead blacks killed by police. You just got all silly there. At its worst it is rape — which is awful and while I have heard accusations thrown around at male comedians being creepy, I have never heard, in my local scene, straight up cries of rape. Locally anyway.

    • Elbonic says:

      If her story is the truth, it should stand on its own. It doesn’t need to be massaged and pressed into a service.

      The notion of suppressing somebody’s truth because it doesn’t fit your narrative is typical of the social justice warriors of today who want hermetically sealed hug boxes (safe spaces).

      The truth is only inconvenient to those with an agenda.

    • Steve says:

      You think she should have lied in order to push your agenda?

  11. I love this post. I have always had close male friends (although I was devastated to discover that my then-boyfriend was right when he told me “straight men are not your friends-they are just waiting for you to say ” yes”). I have a handful of female friends I have known for a lifetime, but experience has taught me to be wary. My teenaged daughter and her friends have given me hope that the weird frenemy stage is ending – or maybe she has met her handful of lifetime friends.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      At least they waited for you to say yes, which is more than some will do. Thanks for reading. I think that things are changing. As I mentioned, I’m happy to be surrounded by a lot of really wonderful female comedians today. I don’t see a ton of backstabbing.

    • Bobo says:

      No he is not right. i have several male friends that have NEVER tried to get sex from me. You are hanging out with the wrong people.

      I do not understand people that are so brainwashed that they can’t see that straight men and women CAN be friends and it doe not have to involve sex. EVER.

  12. Anon123 says:

    This post should be completely uncontroversial. It’s a pretty sad day when “both men and women can be good, and both men and women can be bad” is treated like it’s some kind of evil lunatic opinion whose author needs to be called out and screamed at for saying it.

    I’m a man, and I’ve heard the exact same thing from women in the legal field. We’re all allowed to talk about it when it’s a man harassing a woman (which happens), but can’t say a word when it’s a woman acting catty and mean to another woman. I’ve had women tell me that the most vocal “feminist” lawyers were actually stabbing them in the back and trying to sabotage their careers. They couldn’t figure out why any more than you could.

    Some women are sociopaths just like some men are. But if you reflexively defend people just because they’re a woman, or just because they tell you they’re a feminist, you’re going to end up on the side of a bunch of mean girls. Just because someone says they’re a feminist doesn’t mean they actually care about other women. Lots of people throughout history have said they were Christians and hated gays, or owned slaves, or all kinds of other things that aren’t all that Christian. And the most sociopathic people are going to be the first to recognize that all they have to do is say “I’m a feminist” and suddenly they have a horde of people defending whatever they do no matter how bad it is.

    Thanks to Jessica for posting it at any rate, and thanks for ignoring the mean girls running around criticizing you for it. Mean girls don’t like it when they get called out, and they might shout really loudly, but I promise they’re a small minority of the people reading this.

  13. not me says:

    feminazis are triggered 😀 keep up the good work! 🙂

  14. Saiyo says:

    Ah, you don’t hate men you must be a misogynist! Just kidding, people is getting really desperate to paint men in a negative light to look “progressive” (regressive or social justice warriors it the internet slang for that kind of assholes). Just keep being a human 🙂 stupidity and assholery is not really relates to sex
    Best wishes, i love your honesty

  15. Anonymous says:

    No, no. This is all wrong. Look, these personal recollections of yours don’t match up with the narrative so they’ll have to be changed. Sorry for any inconvenience this my cause you and why isn’t it done yet?

  16. Daniel says:

    Thanks for this!

  17. Blastro says:

    “I had no idea that this post could possibly be conceived as an anti-feminist piece.”

    Because portraying men in a positive light is somehow ‘anti-feminist’ now? Fucking hell.

  18. Jessica says:

    I love how “lived experiences” are only the most important thing ever when they fit with what they want to be true. The moment someone has a life that is completely void of any experience of the horrible thing they so desperately want to be true, it “undercuts” the movement.

    It’s hypocrisy in its most basic form and for some reason the irony seems to completely be lost on them.

    If your rule can’t survive the exception, it was a shitty rule to begin with. If your argument stands or falls with every single woman having a horrible experience with men and you can’t have one person proving that false, you are wrong. Plain and simple.

    As a child learning about genocides and similar acts of brutal violence I wonder how someone could do these acts or go along with them. Now I know it quite easy if you portray yourself superior while the same time a victim. Hitler was a victim of the Jews, Reds were a victim of the White Imperial Russia.

  19. Dingo says:

    Hey Jessica,

    I enjoyed your piece quite a bit. I also realize that, in order to have written it, you were stuck between a rock in a hard place. The current narrative asks you to either tell about harassment that you’ve actually experienced, or stay silent or lie. I appreciate that you bucked the last two choices and just told your story. Your real story. I respect you for it.

  20. Well, I certainly don’t want to leave any of your Feminist commentators hanging, so I’d be honored to be the man who happily harasses you with this: would it be okay if I put you in my Celebrity Fuck List? You know, the list of celebrity women I’m allowed to boink, with no penalty, even if I get married?

    I’m a sucker for women who can make me laugh. And you also play guitar! I mean, don’t get me wrong, you’re no #1. That place belongs to Malin Ackerman. But you’re definitely a 3rd-spotter. Maybe even 2nd spot, if you cat-call me enough; Feminists are full of crap, being objectified is AWESOME.

  21. Dan says:

    > I had no idea that this post could possibly be conceived as an anti-feminist piece.

    For some “feminists”, anything that does not paint women as utter victims is anti-feminist.

  22. Dan Adamle says:

    I don’t see why the absence of male bashing makes you some sort of gender sellout. You’re just speaking from your personal experience, not detracting from the very real struggles that many women in entertainment go through. Does it have to be made apparent in any gender-related piece that men are awful? Is it necessary to point out that there are a lot of shitty PEOPLE walking around?

    Anyways, I’m a failed comic and during my time as a comic I did observe many of the things you described. My girlfriend at the time was also a comic and she unfortunately had to feel the knife in her back many times, from both men & women in the industry. My sister is a comic now and I worry about her. It’s a spirit-breaking business and I fear she doesn’t have the meddle to survive it relatively unscathed. The most important thing I learned about the business of ‘funny’ is that it’s not funny.

    At the risk of rambling too much I’ll leave it here and just say thank you and good job.

    P.S. ran into you a few times around ten years ago but you probably don’t remember me, haha. Always been a fan of what you do. Best of luck in whatever you’re doing now.

  23. Mirjam Heijn says:

    I bet the journalist didn’t end up publishing your bad experiences with women in comedy.

    If I’m wrong please direct me to the article.

    But in my experience, this is a special kind of sexist reporter: only interested in female victimization at the hands of men.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      I didn’t send my email to her, I instead posted it as a blog post. She read my post and we are still planning to meet and talk.

  24. Chrissy says:

    Dear jessica,

    ‘The Movement’ is very disappointed in you. We have come to fill our ever-hungry bellies with stories of evil men, for it eases the pain and hatred we feel for ourselves. In the future, ‘The Movement’ would appreciate it if you would take direction from the likes of Sarah Silverman, (A GOOD movementarian) and at least fabricate tales of wrongdoing on the part of men where there are none. And do try to recall any instances of sexual assault, for it is our favorite meal.

    -regards, ‘The Movement.’

  25. Dave says:

    Thoughtful piece. It brings to mind this article from the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/jobs/11pre.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0

    Like Anon, I’ve been in the legal field. I’ve mentored a lot of junior associates. Other than leaving to start a family, nothing has caused us to lose more promising young female attorneys than the treatment they’ve received from other females. It’s a pervasive issue. While my experience is anecdotal, I can point to this survey that the ABA Journal posted in an article a few years ago about an ancillary issue:

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/not_one_legal_secretary_surveyed_preferred_working_with_women_lawyers_prof_/

    It’s telling. I can’t quite figure out the reasons, but it’s a real issue.

    Glad you’re addressing what you dealt with in the past rather than letting some notion of “sisterhood” keep you from talking, and glad you’re not having to deal with it anymore.

  26. Alex says:

    Article about women attacking women, women show up to attack the woman who wrote it. You can’t write irony this good.

  27. Hey Jessica — I’m one of those women who feels relieved to have someone to connect with about their experiences. I’m a software engineer, and despite all the shit-talk about sexism in tech (some of which is true, like in comedy), guys have cooperatively helped me pursue my goals in much the way you describe here over my 13-year career. Also like you, I’ve found and befriended women in my field who don’t view everything as a zero-sum competition, but it was a long time coming.

    Just to geek out for a minute, apparently this pattern of women being indirectly aggressive to other women out of some sense of competition is common not only across human cultures, but across the higher primates. Phyllis Chesler’s book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman goes into this in pretty fine detail.

  28. Blimey says:

    Fantastic read- thank for being honest about your experiences. It’s refreshing from the current cookie-cutter rhetoric that I see in the media right now, about how women have it so bad, because men keep them down in every aspect of life. It’s important to acknowledge individual issues, but to paint them under one brush is pretty silly. Nice to see someone who doesn’t enlist to that agenda!

  29. Brett Hamil says:

    I’m disgusted by this article. This internal misogyny you are spewing is why the Seattle/Portland scene is much more intellectually advanced to you East Coast barbarians. I believe women, but not women who can’t see how they are being victimized. Maybe these other women just saw that you weren’t good for their cause, because that’s how people like us weed people like you out, we can just feel it.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      I’m disgusted by your assumption that Seattle/Portland is somehow “more intellectually advanced” than NYC. You wish you could be here. You’d leave whatever precious shit box you call home in a hot anti-feminist minute to be invited to come and work here. Also, is this Barbara Holm? Because your email address looks familiar and I know you live out there somewhere, and if it is, why are you using the name Brett? And if you’re not, why are you using my friend Barbara’s email address? Also, I agree. Clearly these women saw that I wasn’t “good for their cause”, and I understand that. I just don’t appreciate their inhumanity in the way they chose to let me know. Last, “people like you” are cowards who make up fake names or use fake email addresses to spit vitriol on stranger’s blogs. You’re also known as a troll. THANK GOD people like YOU weed me out. No thanks!

  30. Paul Johnson says:

    As a male comedian it’s encouraging to read your even-handed recounting of your comedy experience. I’ve worked with other comedians to develop a new comedy scene and we spent a lot of time discussing the experience of female comics and trying to understand what pros and cons of the scene might help us develop more women comics. One thing that surprised us was how competitive the female comics were with each other. We’d have female comics complain about how we weren’t doing enough to book or support women at the same time we had private meetings and messages from them telling us not to book some of these other women. There may be many valid reasons for that competitiveness but at the very least it needs to be acknowledged as an issue when we discuss the experience of women in comedy instead of always framing it in terms of women versus men.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Not all women are like that, but yeah, some can be pretty vicious. Some women say that they are competitive because men have all the positions of power and that we are fighting for those positions. But I see plenty of men bombing and scrounging in comedy. Thanks for reading.

  31. Adam says:

    I always try to be a good person to everyone (not always good at it) an your post has inspired me to try harder. Guy here who is looking at the men in your life as role models, and also you for being honest and objective. I love that you were so mature about your ex, it’s what I strive for when thinking about my past relationships. Thanks for this great post.

  32. null says:

    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing

  33. Sully says:

    This was a really good read, thanks for taking the trouble to write it.

    Did you ever get to the bottom of your mate ghosting you?

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      No, I never got to the bottom. I think she just moved to LA and became successful, and didn’t really care about me as much as I thought she did, and just decided to cut out anyone who she didn’t really, really love. She was probably busy and didn’t want to have any hangers on. I’m sure it was more self-preservation than it was intended to get me. But it still hurt me for years, because I just didn’t understand it. It was like a friend had died and I didn’t get to say goodbye. I broke up with a friend last year, which has a long back story that all culminated when she damaged my property and refused to apologize or accept any responsibility for it. I explained to her that I wouldn’t tolerate that from her, and I said that though we’d had a lot of good memories, it was time for us to part ways. It hurt me too, and it was scary to do, and I’m sure she didn’t love it, either. But it was the fair and humane way to treat another human being, especially someone who HAD been there for me at times when I really needed her. Catch my drift, Sully?

      • Certainly. Friends can easily be closer than family, and it can be painful when things go bad.

        I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Well, I haven’t quite ghosted anyone to the full extent of the practice, but I stopped talking to a very-close friend with whom my relationship had slowly but surely deteriorated over time. Like your break-up you described in your reply, they had been genuinely very good to me. The thing is, the rot that killed it was always there; it just got steadily worse, to the point I didn’t want them in my life.

        In either case (ghost or, er, ghostee), I think the worse thing is the persistent feeling that you’ve done something wrong; it doesn’t quite go away.

        I don’t think I could ever just drop somebody, cold. That must be terribly hurtful to be on the end of.

  34. A says:

    Your stories about famous men being nice to you & women being not nice to you are important & interesting, but I think they would have been much better served by not mixing these experiences under the context of sexual harassment. While it’s true that “mean girls” suck & it’s important to talk about building supportive community, comparing catty treatment to sexual harassment undermines the seriousness & pain of systemic inequality.

    You do not have to “be hot” to be harassed & when you take credit for not being sexually assaulted by your “giving off a vibe” and say that you plan to “keep doing it”, suggests conversely that some other women ARE giving off a vibe that warrants assault, & betrays the gravity of sexual violence in comedy & the workplace.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Dear “A”, please see my response to Katie’s comment, a few back. As for the second part of your comment, I know, and I was joking. I believe that I am hot enough to get harassed. (That was also a joke, because I’m a comedian, and sometimes I joke around, but I should probably say that, just in case it wasn’t abundantly clear. ha. ha.) I did a piece recently for Mashable where, after being grabbed by a guy on the street, someone said it just happened “because I was pretty”. So, I dressed in a garbage bag to see if I’d get harassed while wearing a trash bag. I did not. So I proved on film that if women want to not get harassed in NYC, they literally have to dress like a piece of garbage. It was a fun experiment and kind of shoots your theory to shit. Though I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and still say that I agree, that men will harass who ever they want to, and not always for a clear cut reason, like, “they are pretty” or “asking for it” or what have you. My point is, I did a whole experiment going against that paragraph I wrote, if you need more proof that I was kidding.

  35. Jared says:

    Very interesting story. I notice the commenters who have problems with your story all have one thing in common: they came here expecting your story to fit a certain narrative. In fact, they probably clicked because of the title and expected – dare I say hoped – to see stories of male-on-female harassment that would solidify their current worldview. As I see it, your story doesn’t “contradict” any political narrative because nothing you’ve said is political. You cite no statistics, make no generalizations about either men or women, you don’t invalidate anybody else’s experiences, and yet, some commenters are angry with you for writing about your own personal experiences. It’s almost as if they angry your experiences with men have been largely positive rather than negative. Or, they are angry that you have said it out loud.

    So to those readers/commenters who have a problem with this piece of writing, I ask you this: What should she have written? What part of the original question did she not answer in an honest, open and forthright way? Would you prefer women whose stories contradict the “narrative” simply remain silent?

  36. Meg says:

    I Am the Woman Who Emailed Jessica Delfino About Harassment in Comedy https://shutupmegsullivanblog.wordpress.com/

  37. L.M. says:

    I agree with one of your “heroes”: you creep me out. I had never heard of you before this and will probably never hear of you again, but congrats on getting attention by whining about how other women dislike you through no fault of your own. Sure, that sounds totally believable! You’re going through life like a Disney princess and all these much more successful female comics are trying to sabotage your career. Doesn’t seem like there’s much to sabotage in that department.

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Hi L.M., thanks for “reading” and your comments, except that I can’t respect what you have to say, because you are clearly a coward, not even brave enough to confront me using a real name or email address. In addition, I don’t care if you, or anyone, has ever heard of me, or if you or anyone ever hears of me again. It seems you didn’t read the story thoroughly, which illustrates to me that you have little attention to detail, which is one of my big pet peeves in a person. I did say maybe I did something wrong and maybe I’d get to find out what it was. I hope I do. In some cases, I have an idea, but I wasn’t given the luxury of an explanation. I do lots of things wrong, like right now, I’m doing something wrong by wasting time I could use writing jokes responding to your thoughtless, unintelligent and clearly gut-based comments. Last of all, I am not a fan of Disney, or their princesses, and have done anything but gone through life like one. I admire your attempt at sticking it to me, but alas, you’ve monumentally bombed, and, in fact, you stink at insulting me.

  38. Lovegrrrls says:

    Hey, Jessica,
    I appreciate this blog.
    Why? Because as women today, feminist women, we are constantly being made to feel we must be PC and “walk the party line.” Bologna! (Not Joseph–think Oscar Meyer!)
    I’ve been writing comedy since I could print. So–that means I’m old. Whoopi Goldberg old! But that also means I’ve been there, done it, and have seen it.
    In my own experience as a comedy writer, and a writer in general–I’ve had some rotten experiences with men. However–I admit that pretty much all of these “events” I’d like to forget we’re very much caused by my own stupidity, ignorance, sense that I was somehow magically protected–and could play at anyone’s game without being scathed. Professionally–I felt I was more savvy and literate than those around me–and could therefore get into much deeper, subtle humor that most people wouldn’t even notice–like the Onion. So I also have no real horror stories of abuse by male employers/or men in general.
    On the other hand–as I’m writing in my own memoirs–my worst torments were calculated attempts to destroy me both personally and professionally. This abuse was at the hands of a powerful publisher woman who detested/crushed on me.
    She actually published “unflattering” photos of me in a national magazine without my knowing it–until it was brought to my attention by my father-in-law!
    I’ll leave it your imagination the damage this abuse wreaked on my life!
    So! Those are my experiences. But–I am very close now to the female comedy community–and every week I hear/read some awful story of sexual abuse or threats to women comedians–usually by male comedians. Sure, women are more sensitive to what constitutes “abuse” these days–and they should be. I only worry when the stories show photos of a woman comedian whose body is covered in black and blue! Or when a woman comedian I know is threatened or otherwise violated. It is a very real problem in the world of stand-up comedy today.
    Why? Because even 10 years ago–just how many female comedians were there?
    A handful compared to the burgeoning numbers today.
    You were absolutely right to share these experiences. I have to say that they do overlap very much with my own. On the other hand–I also observe what you do about women in comedy today. The ones struggling to be seen and heard are very willing to support other women–in the most generous ways! It is wonderful. I strongly suspect that the women who ride to the top of the heap are like anyone else who battles the odds and reaches the top of the mountain. The urge for these people seems not to help lift others to the peak–but to kick them down at the shins! Sheesh!
    So! My question is this. If one does want to reach the pinnacle of success as a comedian, especially in stand-up, is it necessary for a man or woman to abandon all else and become automatons, scum buckets? Is it necessary to become as hard as nails? This is a question I’ve been pondering–because if that is true, I see no point in seeking out this “pinnacle.” It sounds more like Ground Zero….

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      I don’t think there’s any clear cut path to follow to where you want to go, it’s different for everyone. But being funny, creating and performing as often as you can and sticking to your guns on who you are will help you find your answers. I agree, the pinnacle may be a myth.

  39. Lovegrrrls says:

    Now I feel sort of bad for what I wrote–writer’s remorse?
    On,y because I KNOW for a fact that there are a number of male comedians who are crazy dangerous for any woman–but especially women comedians! One of them is the most famous auteur comic in America, who was partly “exposed” by Gawker Defamer’s Jordan Sargent. Everyone–and that includes this writer–has reason to fear this comedian and his A-team. This is not a person you want opeming a door–or his pants–for you!
    I come from a fam where self-protection was taught at every turn! Now, as an old sage crone–I am compelled to instruct women, especially women who work at night (female comedians!! ) in how to protect themselves from unwanted advances. So–for anyone who wants to read this, here goes!
    1. Never leave a club alone! Find a strong woman or a man, if there is one–to walk you to your car/bus. (I know…but whose gonna walk her back??)
    2. Plan ahead, female comedians! Share rides to and from venues! There is safety in numbers.
    3. HAIRSPRAY!! It is your best friend! Buy a small container and have it IN YOUR HAND if you are shleppimg to and from gigs! Yes–of course pepper spray is good! But hairspray is cheaper, easily available, and less conspicuous!
    4. Wear a whistle! I’ve read that you do, Jess? Good for you!
    Another option is a blaring noise some cell phones have to scare off bandits. Bad guys do not like loud noise! Don’t be afraid to whistle or blare!
    5. Stand tall!! I believe the reason I’ve never been victimized is that I exude a “don’t fuck with me!” Demeanor. Stand tall, walk quickly, and don’t be looking down like you’re afraid. Scared-looking women make the best targets.
    6. Gullible women make the best targets! Do not let yourself be persuaded to do something you ordinarily wouldn’t do “because it would be good for your career.” Unless you know a man very well–do not let yourself be alone in a room with a door that you may not be able to get through! Don’t accept invitations to party with a Famous comedian–unless it’s a real “party” that includes people other than just yourself and the Famous comedian!
    7. Do not accept drinks or smoke from anyone you don’t know well!
    I learned this the hard way…and had to be carried out of a club! I totally put myself at the mercy of anyone who maybe wanted to take advantage of my weakness. I got lucky. Don’t let yourself get in a similar position: horizontal!

    I hope I’ve scared someone into taking greater precautions for their own safety.
    If you find yourself in an unexpected clinch, don’t be afraid to raise your leg for a kick in the kneecap or to the nuts. But please preserve these moves for very “special” situations. I’m not out for women attacking men. I love men.
    But…the good guys are usually aware of what the bad guys are up to. If they are–they will be willing to protect you or just help get you on the subway! There are a lot of great male comedians out there!
    Now–get out there and be funny!

    • Jessica Delfino says:

      Thanks for sharing these tips. I have an air horn app on my phone that I blare randomly while walking down the road and no one ever fucks with me. (I don’t really, but maybe I’ll start now…)

  40. Lindsay says:

    Jessica – I just read your blog about being mistreated by women in comedy. I then went on to read some of the comments you’ve received. I’m in awe at how some of the people commenting can make everything about them. I’m sitting here wanting to pull my hair out!! My personal response to your post was:

    “Wow – that SUCKS! I’m glad she’s sharing this. People rarely expose themselves like this and talk about being dumped by female friends. And what bitches those women are for doing what they did to you. I mean really, what total heartless bitches. It’s unreal.”

    I expected to read only comments from others lending their support, but instead I see “waaaa waaaa waaaa what about this, and what about that, and how could you, and this is wrong and that is wrong and I’m offended and this is offensive!” Seriously? They should be ashamed of themselves, it’s truly ridiculous. I think it makes them look so silly for picking your words apart. You’re awesome for sharing all of that and I’m truly sorry for how you were treated. It is really devastating when a friend treats you that way.

    Only an idiot looking for an argument would think you were equating your experience to sexual harassment or anything else. God I’m so annoyed right now.

    And I’m glad YOU hung in there. We ARE all doing the best we can.

  41. Jess, this is a great post and really interesting. You told your experience honestly and without any apparent malice, and you were thoughtful and caring and quite fair-minded without playing into any narrative of “all men must die” or “all women are stupid whores.” I dig it, baby unicorn.

  42. Adam says:

    Hi Jessica – I read this yesterday so it was great to hear you on Kurt’s podcast this morning.

    Going on Meg’s piece, I wonder how much of perception is fueled by the media deciding what a story is going to be about before they even write it? Due to Cosby there’s blood in the comedy water and we all know how much headline writers like blood…

    The fear of crime has risen while the likelihood of being a victim has fallen
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2011/02/head_case.html

  43. Joseph Scott says:

    “she was seeking stories by women who’d been harassed by men / male comedians while in a comedy environment” Why wasn’t she, for instance, seeking stories by women who’d been harassed by anyone in a comedy environment? Not a priori gender-biased enough?

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