No joke: All-female comedy show ‘BABE-APALOOZA’ headed to Bos Mead Hall this weekend

Eight comedians are performing in response to Louis C.K. performances at Comedy Club, with tips and extra proceeds going toward the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Sasha Rosser close up smiling subtly with black framed glasses against a black background.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Tortolano.
Stand-up comic and producer Sasha Rosser.

Upon learning that Louis C.K. had been invited to perform at the Comedy Club in Madison, one friend couldn’t help but ask stand-up comic and producer Sasha Rosser a serious, yet ironic question: Was this a joke? 

It wasn’t. The club had booked the comedian — who faced allegations of sexual assault by multiple women in 2017 — for five upcoming performances. 

“There’s a certain amount of disbelief among people that it even happened because I think that they had more faith in the club taking a stand about that kind of behavior,” Rosser says, “and basically sending a message of look, we book funny comedians, but we also want to kind of create some boundaries about condonable behavior.”

In response to C.K.’s scheduled appearances, Rosser’s good friend Shauna Jungdahl approached her with the idea to schedule an all-female comedy show. “The thought was, ‘If he’s going to be here, we may as well raise for a good cause,'” she says.

“BABE-APALOOZA” — what Jungdahl describes as a “bash of boss bitch badassery” — will feature diverse women comics from Milwaukee and the Madison area performing at Bos Mead Hall on July 25. Dina Nina Martinez will headline the show, along with Rosser, Allie Lindsay, Olivia Witt, Sarah Schmidt, Dana Ehrmann, Raegan Niemela, and Vickie Lynn. The tickets cost $10, and all tips and extra proceeds will be donated to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The show came together “for the people who feel demoralized and also feel like it’s an impediment to getting more women in comedy,” Rosser says. 

Though she is known for cracking jokes, Rosser is also a research specialist, with experience working in computer-science related domains and male-dominated work environments. She does not feel intimidated by that factor, though she acknowledges its challenges. The lack of representation in stand-up comedy is no joke. Women make up only 12% of stand-up comics in the U.S., and 62.3% of all stand-up comics are white.

“Men have this easy access because it’s a boys’ club, but women have to deal with the fact that they’re often the only woman in the room,” Rosser says. In her perspective, the challenge for marketing an all-women lineup is the outsized focus on gender, and when it’s appropriate. In this case, it makes sense.

“With this particular show, I think it’s important that it’s all women to show not only that there’s a lot of funny women in this area, and they maybe don’t get seen that often because of how many dang dudes there are, but also important because of raising money [and] to raise awareness,” she says.

Rosser didn’t start in stand-up comedy until 2019, the same year she met Jungdahl. The two clicked and now frequently meet for dumplings and laughter. 

“I kind of wanted to make an effort to be friends with more women because it is frustrating to go to so many shows and it’s like, eight white dudes, all telling the same jokes,” Rosser says. 

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