GOLD Comedy—a social impact start-up designed to help women, girls and non-binary folks hone their distinct comedic prowess—has launched a comprehensive online course to effectively equip aspiring female and non-binary comedians with the tools required to craft a successful standup set. With the inherent toxicity in comedy finally coming to light, GOLD’s mission of providing a safe-haven for women and girls to use and own their comedic voices is more important than ever.
“I was inspired to launch GOLD—the entire venture—because I love comedy, and I love loud, funny girls,”’ comedian and GOLD founder Lynn Harris told Ms. “The goal for the online course itself is to offer something that is, well, not your average (straight, white dude) comedy class.” Harris was intentional in providing such a class online and affordably—giving those who live outside of such comedic hubs as Chicago or New York “a safe, accessible, and hilarious place to find and cultivate their own funny.”
For just $19, GOLD is serving up several detailed and engaging lessons on the fundamentals of comedy, delivered with hilarity and enthusiasm by veteran comedian Elsa Waithe. Each lesson features accompanying writing prompts to stir comedic sensibilities, as well as external resources—such as sample clips of established comedians employing a component of standup taught in the corresponding lesson. “We’re building a multi-platform experience—live workshops and an online hub for coaching, community, creation and collaboration,” Harris explained, adding that GOLD’s courses outline the importance of inclusivity in both comedy and life. “The faces you see, the voices you hear, the jokes you learn from—they represent a real and relevant cross-section of comedy and society.”
GOLD’s mission addresses a glaring problem within the standup sphere. The public allegations and subsequent toppling of comic titan Louis C.K. denotes a powerful shift in the comedic status quo—and for Harris, it’s about time. Prominent comedians—including Jon Stewart, Joe Rogan, Tig Notaro and Iliza Schlesinger—have recently come forward to confirm the existence of blatant chauvinism and discrimination often encountered in comedy clubs. Harris intends to fight it.
“Comedy still does not really welcome women,” Harris lamented. “Society still does not really welcome loud, funny girls… I have always said that the way to have less sexism in comedy is to have more women in comedy. More women doing, owning, running and defining comedy. And more women in comedy starts with more girls in comedy.”
Sarah Alexander is a recent graduate of Cal State Northridge. In addition to being a writer, she is a visual and performing artist, and attempts to use film, music and online platforms to spark conversation about social activism. She is an anomalous LA native, which affects her personality in a plethora of unique ways.