This Woman’s Business is Funny Business

Like A Boss Girls: Just what is GOLD #comedyforgirls?

Lynn: GOLD #comedyforgirls is a project designed to bring comedy to more girls, and more girls into comedy. Online and face to face, we give young women the comedic tools and skills to hone their voice, build their confidence, and shape their worlds. We’re turning up the volume and the spotlight on girls—and building a bigger, funnier farm team for comedy.

Like A Boss Girls: Why did you start it?

Lynn: I’m a former comedian and humor writer and firm believer in the power of pop culture for social change. To me, comedy is power. If you are making people laugh, they are listening to you. You are being yourself. You are in charge. You are telling the story—your story. You have the spotlight. You have the mic. I’d like to give that power to more people. Especially girls. Especially now.

Like A Boss Girls: HOW did you start it?

Lynn: My friend Mikki Halpin and I had the idea five years ago. We scribbled it on a napkin, said, “We should totally do that!”—and went on with our lives. But the idea never left my mind. It traveled from the back to the front last year. So when I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I couldn’t stop talking about it. And whenever I said “I want to start a comedy program for girls,” people lit up. That was my first feasibility study. It was unscientific, but useful. I knew I was onto something.

The next step was a massive listening tour. I called everyone I knew in comedy (performers and business), teen marketing, startups, and more. I siphoned as much feedback as I could, creating in the process an informal advisory team of folks who were now intellectually invested in and committed to helping me make GOLD real.

Then I prototyped and piloted. I knew that while I was contemplating business plans and market reach and abstract things on power points, I also needed to put something real into the world: actual comedy for actual girls. I convened a brain trust of working and teaching comedians and with their help, designed a free one-day stand up comedy workshop for girls in New York City. I set up an Indiegogo to pay just for expenses, which was 150% funded in two days! I promoted it using what I know about social media and partnerships: a lot of relationship-building with girls’ organizations and asking them to serve as trusted ambassadors to their groups. I learned a lot from the debut class, including: yes, you can have 10 girls walk in at 10 AM with nothing but game and leave at 6 having written and performed original stand up comedy! I’ve got a wait list for the second and more planned in coming months.

Meanwhile, I’m designing the business model and plan—with a lot of expert input from my advisory board and seed investor—and, given that my background is in nonprofits, learning (fast!) to speak startup.

Like A Boss Girls: What are the challenges of starting a new business?

You have to figure out what you know (more than you think) and what you don’t know (more than you think).

You have to be willing to ask everyone you know to help you out. (Good news: they will. Maybe more than you think!)

You also have to not get paid for a while. Which means a lot of juggling with your schedule and your head space. You have to work for your food and shelter while you also eat, breathe, and sleep (or not) to make your dream a reality.

Oh, and there’s also sexism! When you’re a female talking about your new business, and you literally say the words “business,” “for-profit,” “investors,” or “single trigger vesting acceleration upon acquisition,” people STILL say things like “How’s your non-profit?” or “Can you run that out of your home?” ALWAYS FUNNY.

Like A Boss Girls: How can our community get involved?

You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr—and visit our website to find out about our next class.

Like A Boss Girls:  Any extra credit?

If you ever hear anyone say the word “comedienne,” please scowl.  🙂