‘Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting’ Sketch Duo On Being Female Comedians In The Digital Age

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Are women actually funny? Why are we even still asking that question? OK let’s start over again…

Why has is taken THIS long for the world to recognize how funny and badass women actually are?

We love that there is a revolution/rebellion happening amongst comedians of the femalepersuasion, and on platforms that allow more voices to break through to mainstream. Heavy-hitters like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer are finally showing audiences that gender is not a barrier to being funny.

Female comedy duos are also on the rise. There is such a diverse range of duos making us laugh: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in ‘Grace and Frankie’, the ‘Broad City’ girls Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, who can forget the one-two punch Tina and Amy threw at the Golden Globes the past two years, and the list goes on. These women are inspiring the next generation of women who are turning to digital platforms to put out great content that 10 years ago would never see the light of day past a dingy run-down comedy club in a seedy part of town.

If comedy organizations like The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade are seen as the place where pedigree comedians are bred, places like Youtube, College Humor, Buzzfeed and Funny Or Die are pedigree on crack. There are a plethora of amazingly talented women getting a lot of attention for what they are creating.

We decided to chat to one of these duos, Katie Hartman and Leah Rudick who make up sketch comedy team Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting from New York to talk about their new online series ‘Made To Order’, what it’s like to be female comedians in the digital age, and a great use for a “pussy cookie” (just read on and all will be explained!) Made to Order chronicles two women who run an underground food delivery service. The series follows all their mishaps and adventures along the way in what is described as “disturbingly funny” way. The Guardian calls them “wickedly funny”, and Marie Claire says all the cool girls are watching them, so we’re in!

Ladies and gents, we present to you the awesomeness that is Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting!

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OK the most important question first, who came up with the name “Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting?

Leah: Jesus did! Just kidding.

Katie: I think it was a mutual decision after we recalled an awkward circumstance from a day in college. It’s from a boring inside story that we laughed about a lot but no one else really thinks is that funny. Kind of like when you talk about your “super cool” dream to anyone else.

You ladies have been called the “Biggest Revelation” by the Guardian, and have performed at places such as UCB and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. What kind of confidence does this give you both?

Katie: I’ve been performing since I was a young girl in the musical “Annie” and writing plays and sketches since junior high and college.  I don’t think I ever DIDN’T have the confidence to do it. Sure, I can be self conscious about things but when I’m on stage I know exactly what I can control and what I can’t.

Leah:  We’ve been lucky to have a lot of really rad opportunities to travel and perform in awesome cities and meet so many amazing people. It is really validating to go to another city or country and perform our weird brand of comedy and get a great response from strangers.

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There seems to be a huge awakening by audiences finally realizing women ARE funny. We have women like Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer and even Tina Fey & Amy Poehler for that. How do women like this affect your own comedy paths?

Leah: They just keep opening doors for us. It’s an exciting time. The women who have come before us have made the path for us so much easier in many ways.

Katie: They also each have their own hilarious specific voice. It shows that “female comedy,” isn’t just one color (usually portrayed in a lovely light peony pink). It’s a rainbow of all different shades and hues.

Tell us the premise behind your series “Made to Order”?

Leah: Made to Order follows two sisters (played by Katie and me!) who are unemployed and decide to start an underground food delivery service out of their apartment in Brooklyn. Things go awry when it becomes clear that they are terrible at business as well as cooking, but they forge forward. Their encounters with unhappy customers, seedy health inspectors and competing delivery services grow darker and more absurd with every episode.

Katie: Leah summed it all up. Plus there are a bunch of montages. We love montages.

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Watching each episode, it feels as if everyone can relate at some point to you both. Was that intentional?

Leah: I don’t think it was ever a conscious choice to make relate-able characters. We just wanted to create exaggerated versions of ourselves.

Katie: I think one thing that comes out of us working together for so long (9 years!) is a certain chemistry. We trust each other so that also gives us the leeway to fuck with each other. When we write and perform live sketch comedy, we don’t only have one of us play the “straight role” and the other play the “silly comedic” role. We switch it up. We love to do both and we are good at both so why not do it? Within the web series, I think our characters sometimes switch status of who is in charge at any moment. I think that’s a very human thing. People can be terrified and also strong in the same moment. Plus, the characters are so out of their depth but won’t give up, and because of that, they actually kind of get good at what they do.

Being two women in an industry that is mostly dominated by men, how do you not pay attention to the statistics and naysayers and continue to create awesome content?

Leah: It’s all just fuel to keep creating more. That said, I think we both have always been of the mentality that we are just making comedy because we want to make comedy. We have also been really lucky to come up among an amazing support system of fellow comedians and performers, so that has often kept the naysayers out of earshot. Until every so often you get a comment after a show like, “I don’t usually find women funny” and then you’re like, “Oh fuck, sexism is alive and well! Hello! Go die!”

Katie: We have so much fun together onstage and offstage. We really believe in what we create. We make comedy we want to watch. So if you don’t like the show because of it’s content, that’s ok! Not everyone laughs at the phrase “pussy cookies,” I get it. But if you don’t like it purely because it was created and showcases people who happen to have vaginas then you can go fuck yourself. We don’t need you.

Leah: Go choke on a pussy cookie.

Have you experienced any backlash or negativity based on gender, especially given that Youtube is such a hive for trolls these days?

Leah:  Oh sure! Youtube is filled with demon bullies.

Katie: If you’re a woman on Youtube you will get bullshit typed at you. That’s just a fact. A terrible, sad shitty fact.

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What advice do you have for fellow female comedians who are desperate for a big break or for a place to share their ideas?

Leah: Seek out friends who make you laugh and make stuff with them. We have an insane amount of freedom right now to create and to put our work out there into the world. Write what makes you laugh, not what you think will garner approval and laughter from others. Let yourself be weird and dark and silly. Sit in a room with people who are fun and say crazy shit in dumb voices and then write it all down. Perform it on stage in front of your other friends and then go back and change all the things that didn’t feel right. Keep doing that. There will be a lot of shows where no one laughs and you wanna die and never get up and do it again. Just get drunk and laugh about it with those friends you made and keep going. Don’t worry about a big break. Life maybe doesn’t work that way anyways. Just have fun.

Katie: Desperation is the antithesis of having fun both onstage and off. The constant anxiety in this business of “Did I get that part? Is my hair too fat? Why does he have more twitter followers than me, now Sarah Michelle Gellar will NEVER retweet me!” can be draining to a point where we lose ourselves and why we started creating in the first place. Find the fun again. If you aren’t having fun then you aren’t creating to your full potential. If you aren’t having fun the audience can feel it.  It’s incredibly hard to chart your progress when you’re not booking movies and commercials constantly (which only a tiny few people do) so just trust that if you are putting in the work you are getting better little by little and it will pay off in one way or another.

Finally, what makes you both powerful women?

Katie: Today I feel like a powerful person because while I might fall into a shitty, difficult set of emotions or be scared of one thing or another at any given moment I still keep moving forward, even if it’s real slow and real hard.

Leah: Amen to that! Being able to pursue the life and career that I want makes me feel powerful, even if it sometimes feels like I’m not getting anywhere. And grateful too! Because it is such a privilege to be able to do what you love.

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Check out episode 1 of ‘Made To Order: Business Women’ right here, and subscribe to SBJM’s Youtube Channel to catch each episode as they get released.

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