It is being that example that is the reason women being given the stage at the comedy festival is so important to her. We represent what comedy is and it’s not just a man’s world, especially for the Middle East where women are not as outspoken,” says Melissa.“I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase all the amazing gifts women have and are capable of.” The women expressed excitement about performing with each other along with the men comedians.” adds Samson, who has performed with many of the women comedians and some whom he hasn’t taken the stage. All of the women expressed a sense of honor performing at the festival.They also hope to see more comedians like themselves take to the festival’s stage in the future. ” says Mona, who has performed with all of the comedians before.The festival kicks-off today (August 11) and runs to August 21 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.This year’s lineup of women comedians at the festival include: Franncesca Fiorentini (San Francisco), Shanti Charan (San Francisco), Shazia Mirza (London), Monrok (Los Angeles), Priya Prasad (San Francisco), Vasu Primlani (New Delhi), Sabeen Sadiq (Chicago), Mona Shaikh (New York), Melissa Shoshahi (Seattle), Irene Tu (San Francisco), Sindhu Vee (London), Priyanka Wali (San Francisco).In 2013, Abhay and Samson saw the perfect storm of opportunity to create a comedy festival for the Desi (pronounced “THEY-see”) community.
Mona produces “The Minority Reportz” at the World famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Irene Tu was recently named one of KQED’s Women to Watch.” says Samson, 40, who along with Abhay, 33, anticipates upward of 4,000 attendees throughout the nearly sold out festival.“I am excited to have every women comedian on the festival! ” Abhay believes having women in the lineup is “absolutely vital” because diversity “brings with it an element of surprise that’s vital for a good comedy show.” Abhay and Samson, who created the festival in 2013, hope to continue to add more women comedians to their lineup in the years to come, they both say.“South Asian comedians don’t just bring visual diversity; they bring in intellectual diversity to a joke.South Asians who are born and raised in the US speak from a slightly different perspective from the mainstream.